In celebration of Canada’s 150th, hike a famous fur brigade trail that played a key role in making Canada a nation “from sea to sea.”
We’ll hike 3.5 kilometres from Jacobson Lake to the Cascade Divide on the most spectacular section of the historic Hudson’s Bay Company “Brigade” Trail. Fur trade historians and costumed interpreters will accompany us, sharing their knowledge of the people and events that reveal the vibrant life of this historic route.
Completed in 1849, the HBC Trail was built to link the Fraser River at Fort Hope with Fort Kamloops and other important forts farther north to Stuart Lake. For more than a decade, the HBC’s fur empire in Western North America depended on this trail. Brigades of up to 400 horses and men regularly pounded over the Cascades, bringing furs west to the coast every spring and carrying food and equipment inland to re-supply the forts in the fall. The HBC Trail played a key role in the early history of British Columbia, and before that, was a hunting trail and east-west trade route for First Nations such as the Stó:lo, Nlaka’pamux, and Similkameen.
Today, the trail offers hikers and horseback riders stunning mountain scenery, rolling wildflower meadows, and clear blue tarns. You can still find 160-year-old blazes on the trees and thousands of HBC pack animals have left a visible impression upon the land.
Since 2009, Hope Mountain Centre has been working in partnership with Recreation Sites & Trails BC, First Nations, funding partners, and a passionate team of volunteers to restore the 74-km trail section from Hope to Tulameen.
Find out more about the HBC Trail HERE.
Youth, accompanied by a parent/guardian: $30
Optional bus transport: $45
- 4 experienced guides
- Historians and costumed interpreters
- First aid and satellite phone
- Map, historic information
All hikers must be in moderately good shape and able-bodied.
- Trail distance: 3.5 km one-way.
- Elevation gain from Jacobson Lake to Cascade Divide: 390 metres
We’ll hike moderate grades as the HBC Trail climbs up from Jacobson Lake to Conglomerate Flats. After lunch, we’ll continue climbing through lush subalpine meadows to beautiful “Palmer’s Pond.” When we reach the height of land at Cascade Divide, we’ll enjoy excellent views before returning (downhill) back to Jacobson Lake.
7:00 AM – Meet at the Owl Street Café in Hope. MAP
7:30 AM – Vehicles leave Hope
9:30 AM – Vehicles arrive at Jacobson Lake
9:45 AM – Tour HBC historic camp and meet costumed interpreters
10:45 AM – Hike begins
12:30 PM – Lunch at Conglomerate Flats, HBC Trail
1:30 PM – Visit Palmer’s Pond, HBC Trail
2:30 PM – Enjoy views at Cascade Divide
5:00 PM – Hikers arrive back at Jacobson Lake
7:00 PM – Vehicles arrive back in Hope
- Jacobson Lake, where you’ll see real examples of HBC clothing, animal pelts, and trade goods on display. Pack horses will be there too!
- Conglomerate Flats, a new backpacking camp on the HBC, nestled in a lush meadow.
- Palmer’s Pond, a beautiful tarn named after Lieutenant Palmer of the Royal Engineers, who hiked the trail in 1859.
- Cascade Divide, on the slopes of Mt. Davis, where a watershed boundary divides the Fraser and Columbia rivers.
- Panoramic views of dozens of peaks in the North Cascades.
- Black powder demonstration. Historic re-enactor Rick Herfst will shoot his old-style musket when we get to the Cascade Divide!
Participants must arrange their own transport to Hope.
Participants can drive their own vehicles from Hope to Jacobson Lake or pay an extra fee to be driven there in vehicles provided by Hope Mountain Centre.
The drive from Hope to Jacobson Lake involves 50 km of paved road (Highway-5) followed by 50 km of gravel road (Tulameen Forest Service Road). The gravel road is well maintained with good visibility and moderate grades. There will be dust, some pot holes and washboard, but nothing too severe. Four-wheel drive is NOT needed, but all vehicles should have good tires and reasonably good suspension and clearance. We’ll travel in a convoy together for safety.
You must be prepared for changing mountain weather.
- High-energy snack food
- Water (at least 2 litres per person)
- Hiking boots (no runners please)
- Warm clothes and rain gear
- Sunglasses, sun hat, sun block
- Camera, binoculars
- Hiking poles (recommended)
Everyone age 19 & over must sign a liability waiver form in order to participate in this program. Please take the time to read this form because you must understand and agree to it when you sign it. By signing it you are waiving certain rights, including the right to sue. These forms will be available to sign when you check in. Please seek legal counsel if you have any questions.
Everyone age 18 & under must have an informed consent form signed by their parent or legal guardian in order to participate. Please contact us if you need this form prior to arrival at this program.
If a registration is cancelled 7 days or more before a program starts, HMCOL will refund the program fee and equipment rental fees (as applicable) minus an administrative cost of $20 per person. Program and equipment rental fees will not be refunded if a cancellation is received less than 7 days before the start of a program. A program may be cancelled at the discretion of HMCOL. If a program is cancelled, participants will receive a full refund of program and equipment fees.
A note about liability
Hope Mountain Centre carries liability insurance and maintains excellent safety records. Due to the nature of outdoor programs, these trips do involve some personal risk. Hope Mountain Centre assumes no responsibility for personal injury or damage to personal property and we will require each participant to sign a liability release and assumption of risk form before participating in this program. Please be aware that activities typical of this program involve many risks, dangers and hazards including, but not limited to: accidents which occur during transportation or travel to and from events; slips and falls; loss of balance; impact, cold water immersion; repetitive strain injuries; dislocated shoulders; hypothermia, frostbite, sunburn; changing and inclement weather conditions including storms, blizzards, whiteouts and high wind; steepness of terrain, tree wells, crevasses; avalanches, cornices, landslides and falling ice, snow and objects; encounters with domestic or wild animals; negligence on the part of releasees and other participants. While we love animals of all kinds, we ask that you please leave your pet at home.