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
The 10 Essentials
There is a loo at the campground at Falls Lake
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.
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.
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.
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