Zoa Peak – Coquihalla Summit Hikes

Zoa Peak – Coquihalla Summit Hikes

You may have heard of Zoa Peak as a fun snowshoeing trail (it has been on my list for snowshoeing for a while!) However I was happy to discover that it is also a fun trail in the summertime. There is a bit of a steep section near the start, but then you get to enjoy quite a long walk up on the ridge. This makes Zoa Peak a great hike for fantastic views of the Coquihalla Summit area. So if you fancy a walk that punches well above it’s weight in terms of the effort to view ratio, take a look at this!

Once you’ve finished you can also easily add on a bonus walk to cool down with a swim in Falls Lake.

Zoa Peak Trail Map

Zoa Peak – the Basics

Distance: 7.8 km 
Cumulative Elevation gain
: 700m
Elevation change: 674m
Highest Point: 1869m
Time: 4- 4.5 hours
What to bring:
Hiking poles were pretty helpful.
Loads of water
Bug spray
The 10 Essentials
There is a loo at the campground at Falls Lake
Dog friendly.
How hard is it?
Intermediate. I was pretty exhausted by the end of the day, but that is because we hiked up the Hope Hustle just before this. If it is your first hike of the day it won’t be hard at all.

Zoa Peak – Getting Started

There is plenty of parking at the summer trailhead close to Falls Lake. If you’re coming from Hope, drive up the Coquihalla Highway towards Merritt and take exit #221. From there you drive under the highway (there is a tunnel) and up the narrow road towards Falls Lake. The map I have posted is slightly wrong for this – you don’t have to walk the first kilometre.

Once you leave the car park, follow the signs towards Zoa Peak (not Falls Lake.) Don’t forget to keep turning around. The view back down the trail towards Thar Peak (above) is sooooo pretty!

After just over a kilometre into the hike you turn left. Climb up some rocks and into the woods up towards Zoa Peak’s ridge. There are a few steep moments, but if you take it one step at a time, it’s not too bad.

Zoa Peak Ridge

I love ridge-walks. Once you are up on the ridge, the trees thin out and you’ll be treated to bright green mountain views in all directions. We have not hiked much near the Coquihalla Summit area, so I was excited to see so many new beautiful mountain views.

Summer Snow

The high point of Zoa Peak is over 1800m, so it is high enough for snow to linger long into the summertime. My photos are from mid-July, so there were still plenty of small snow patches along the trail. We did have micro spikes in our bags, but we never bothered to get them out, as the snow only covered the trail in a few short sections.

How busy is the trail?

I was pleasantly surprised by how quiet this trail was; Especially for a Saturday afternoon. We didn’t see anyone else on the trail until we were quite close to the summit. After that, we only met two groups, and a lone hiker. We had expected the weather to be worse by the afternoon, so maybe that was keeping people away?

The trail continues to climb slowly as you make your way along the ridge. Then, you get some great views over to Yak Peak before the trail gets steeper on the final ascent to the highest point.

I loved looking down at the patches of snow. They make really cool patterns as they melt off the mountains.

Zoa Peak summit

The views from Zoa Peak are fantastic, but the highest point is surrounded by trees. We found the best views at the end of the trail. Not bad for a day that was meant to be raining eh!?

This is me jumping in front of Alapaca Peak, Vicuna Peak, Guanaco Peak behind. Zum Peak is the dark looking mountain in the middle.

We also liked the partially blocked view  on the other direction. There were trees in the way, but you can still see Thar, Nak and Yak Peaks pretty well.

Basically this trail is all worth it for the gorgeous panoramas you will see from the ridge.

Heading back

Once you have filled your eyes with gorgeous views, you should head home the way you came. On the day we visited, we thought the rain would start before we reached the peak. My photos might look a little moody, but we were super happy that we had been able to see so much without getting soggy.

Bonus Hike – Falls Lake

Once you have finished the hike, if you have a *teeny* bit of energy left, you should also walk to Falls Lake. It is less than a kilometre, with hardly any elevation gain. Falls lake is a pretty lake right in the middle of the mountains.

We were pretty warm after the main hike, so we figured it would be worth going for a swim.

If you like swimming in warm water, you should probably skip this part. The water in Falls Lake was flipping cold. We both managed to have a dunk…but it was so chilly that although I managed a few strokes, I can’t really call it a swim! Still, it was incredibly invigorating.

Isn’t that a gorgeous little hike? We didn’t spend much time here (as we already did the Hope Lookout Trail earlier in the day.) But it would be even nicer if you have plenty of time so you could spend longer at the peak, or by the lake.

If you like the look of this hike, click on the pins below to save them.

41 thoughts on “Zoa Peak – Coquihalla Summit Hikes

    1. The dunk made our legs sooo much happier Rudy! I have to admit, I made some loud squeaking noises in my attempt to swim. It was not elegant in any way! 🤣

    1. Yeah, I think there must have been a lot of snow there in the wintertime…it has made me keep to go back and do this with snowshoes!

  1. I’m all about hiking these days so would love to go hiking at Zoa Peak. I’d also like to try it with snowshoes in the winter. Beautiful views and photos!

  2. That does look like a lovely hike! I still find it very strange that you can find snow on a trail in summer. Canada was the first place I came across that!

    1. Yeah, it blew my mind when we first started hiking here. Now I have seen how much snow the mountains get in winter it makes sense that it takes so long to melt away. I just appreciate it for the cool breeze on hot days.

  3. What a gorgeous hike! I’ve picked up hiking in the last couple of months and I LOVE it. We have a lot of trees and wooded areas here in Ontario – nothing quite like this – looks challenging but so rewarding!

  4. Beautiful post! You explained this well and put some great details in here! I love how you captured this incredible place.

  5. Looks like another fantastic hike. Your panorama photos are stunning. You are brave to get in that freezing cold water. I’d probably hike down there and then watch everyone else jump in and freeze. I always have the excuse that I’m taking photos when cold water is around and people are saying swim.

    1. Bwahaha. You would not think I am brave if you saw just how quickly I jumped out of the water after our speed swim! Although, the water was not actually as cold as I expected. I think it might be pleasant later in the summer when all the snow is melted and the lake has had a chance to warm up.

    1. I think it does here on Zoa Peak in late July/August. But some of the nearby mountains (like near Manning Park, Squamish and Whistler) keep some snow all year ’round.

  6. This looks amazing!!! I can’t believe I’ve never heard about it until now. I’ve been wanting to do more hikes here in BC and will definitely have to add this to the list. Love that you can swim there too although I did get shivers just reading about how cold the water is hahaa.

    1. I think it might be okay later in the summer as it wasn’t as cold as the other lakes we’ve dipped into recently. Yay for more hiking blogging friends in BC!! Let me know where you go Jas!

  7. This looks like such a great hidden gem hike! and i love ridge walks too, this hike really looks like it has a bit of everything for any kind of hiker and I love the bonus lake swim option at the end!!

  8. I don’t know if I could make it, but the views are incredible! I’ll have to live with the photos, which are beautiful!

    1. You could do it! It wasn’t too hard, especially if you just take it slowly.

      …Or you could always cheat and head to the lake to relax. You’d still get great views of the peak.

  9. What a beautiful hike! I’m glad it wasn’t too busy for you. So cool that you can experience both snow and greenery on the same hike. And congrats on being brave enough to dunk into the water! I don’t think I could do it!

  10. This looks like such a great hike. The views over Fall Lake remind me of the shape of Milford Sound in New Zealand. Your tip to look back to see the views is a really important reminder for any hike – don’t just slog through! Take the time to look around

  11. I’m glad that this hike is not too strenuous! You’re absolutely right, the patterns that the snow makes are really eye-catching! It must be weird to go up and at some point be cold enough for snow to stick on the ground. I guess I’m more of a novice hiker since I’m so intrigued by that… I don’t think I’ve ever seen snow up close on a hike during the late summer or early fall!

  12. Can you actually see the lake from the top? One of the photos in AllTrails app has the view, but never seen on other reviews.

    1. Hi Maria,

      Hmmm, I am not sure. We didn’t know we’d head to the lake afterwards so I wasn’t looking out for it. I just went back and checked my photos and I couldn’t spot it – but there are lots of trees at the summit, so we tended to look up at the peaks, rather than peer down through them towards the lake.

      I wouldn’t not be surprised if you can see the lake if you peer down from the peak.

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