- Difficulty Intermediate
- Time 3.5 hours
- Round-Trip 5.4km
- Elevation Gain 330 meters
- Season March - November
- Camping No
- From Vancouver 1 hour, 45 minutes
- Public Transit No
- Dog Friendly Yes
The Dragon's Back Trail (Kw’okw’echíwel Stl’áleqem) in Hope, BC, is a steep forested trail that passes several viewpoints, including a view of Mount Hope, the Silver Creek neighbourhood, the town of Hope, and the Fraser River. The hike is fairly steep in some areas but the viewpoints offer a nice reward and place to stop and enjoy.
The cumulative elevation gain for this hike is closer to 435-metres as there is a downhill section after the Silver Creek Viewpoint followed by more uphill. The trail is steep in sections and can be slippery even during the summer months, so make sure to wear shoes with good traction.
From the gravel parking lot, follow the trail past the wooden sign and begin heading uphill into the forest. The trail climbs quickly through this section, including up several well maintained wooden steps. After a steady climb, you reach the first view with a sign for the "Hope Mountain Viewpoint". The wooden benches offer a nice rest spot with a view before continuing.
The trail continues uphill and through the steepest section of the route. Carefully make your way up the wooden steps and through some of the narrow switchbacks before eventually reaching the second view with a sign for the "Silver Creek Viewpoint".
After passing the viewpoint, the trail descends through a series of switchbacks. As the trail begins to level, you reach an area called the "Stone Garden". Located several metres off of the main trail the Stone Garden is a spectacular granite face that is home to several rare plants. The sensitive ecology makes it inappropriate for a climbing area but it still is a spectacular point of interest to visit.
Pass the Stone Garden and continue following the main trail as it begins to climb uphill again. The route eventually meets a sign marking the junction around the top of the hill. Go right to begin the loop and continue to follow the well defined trail as it climbs at a gentler pace than earlier. There is a rope assist at one steep point, use it to pull yourself up the trail and continue as the path opens onto a rocky bluff with an initial view. Walk around to the left, towards the wooden benches to the Summit Viewpoint where an incredible view looking over the town of Hope, BC, and the Fraser River awaits. The Summit View is the best view along the Dragon's Back Trail.
After enjoying the Summit View, continue to follow the trail around the loop as it meanders through the forest before descending down a section. Use a second rope assist to pull yourself up another steep hill before arriving at the West Viewpoint. This viewpoint looks down towards the Highway and the Fraser River as it flows downstream.
Follow the trail along the loop as it gently descends and eventually returns to the loop junction. From the junction, go right and begin the descent back downhill towards the Stone Garden. The toughest part of the return is after the Stone Garden where you have to ascend through the series of switchbacks up to the Silver Creek Viewpoint.
Pass the Silver Creek Viewpoint and begin the steep descent back down the trail, being careful where you step on some of the steep and small wooden steps. The trail passes the Hope Mountain Viewpoint and continues back downhill until you eventually return to the gravel parking lot where you began your hike.