Flatiron & Needle Peak overnight hike

Beautiful October weather☀️

Veiw towards Needle Peak from the campsite.

I did this hike in the first weekend of October. With the season rapidly coming to a close, we were very lucky with the weather. This hike should be on everyones to-do list.

Trail stats

  • The hike to the campsite a bit below of summit of Flatiron (N 49°33'51", W 121°08'59") is 5.5km from the parking lot at Zopkios rest area (N 49°35'41", W 121°07'23") on Highway 5.
  • Cumulative elevation gain to the summit of Flatiron is approximately 700m.
  • Needle Peak (N 49°34'16", W 121°07'32") makes for a nice short detour. The trail branches off 1.5km before reaching the campsite.

We started the day relatively early, leaving Vancouver at 9AM on Saturday morning. It was overcast and there was a quite normal autumn feel to the weather as we made our way to the highway. Regardless, we were in good spirits, as the weather report promised blue skies and +20C in and around Hope. The drive to the trailhead would have been quite uneventful hadn’t it been for a guy and his stupid truck, scraping the car in a Starbucks parking lot, in Langley! What a massive idiot.

We made it to the trailhead just before noon. The weather was absolutely lovely now, so we got our gear out of the car and hit the trail with big smiles on our faces. We agreed to push lunch until we had made some headway. The first 2km were quite steep and we knew that we would find a nice lunch spot overlooking the nearby mountains once we got up. After enjoying our sandwiches and taking in the nice scenery, we started moving towards the campsite again.

View from our lunch spot. Looking down at the highway snaking its way through the valley.
View from our lunch spot. Looking down at the highway snaking its way through the valley.

The trail rolls along, with a few short steep sections, for another 1km before reaching the open ridge and amazing views in all directions. An hour and thirty minutes after we left the car, we reached the Needle Peak fork. We had talked about dumping our overnight packs in a bush and hike up the to summit before moving to the campsite. We ended up going straight to the campsite, as we had overtaken a few other groups along the trail and didn’t want to reach the campsite after all the good spots were taken. After hiking down and up through the saddle between Needle Peak and Flatiron, we reached the campsite and the little lake at 2PM. There were others at the campsite, but we had no problems finding a nice quite spot for our two tents. After a short break, we refilled our water bottles and headed back towards Needle Peak. The roundtrip hike to Needle Peak is roughly 5km, with a couple of scramble section along the way.

The only rope section on the trial.
The only rope section on the trial.

After climbing up the first hump, using the rope for extra support, the trail flattens out until the last short steep section before the summit. This section is the most exposed and one needs to be comfortable using both hands going up the almost vertical scrambles. We found a nice spot out of the wind on the summit and had a snack and some water, while enjoying the fantastic 360° views.

The fantastic view from the top of Needle Peak. The campsite sits in the bowl just below the summit of Flatiron.
The fantastic view from the top of Needle Peak. The campsite sits in the bowl just below the summit of Flatiron.

Once we got back to the campsite, we finished setting up our camp and changed into flip flops and dry clothes. We wanted to see the sunset from the top of Flatiron, so we decided to bring our dinner, beer and hot cocoa to the top. It was quite windy, but we found a couple of large rocks that acted as shelter for our camp stove. We enjoyed a much deserved Brassneck beer while preparing dinner😃

A bit of smoke from the forrest fires in California had again made its way to BC. Not enough to be a problem, but it created some amazing colors as the sun was setting behind the mountains in the horizon.

The sky lid up in all shades of red, orange and yellow as the sun set.
The sky lid up in all shades of red, orange and yellow as the sun set.

We went back down to the tents before it became pitch black. We looked at the stars and talked about everything and nothing for a couple of hours before going to bed around 10PM. We wind really picked up during the night, luckily we had some cover from the mountain, so it wasn’t that bad. I thought of the small group that had pitched their tents on the summit, hopefully they made it through the night without too many problems. We woke up around 7:30AM to a beautiful sunrise☀️

A beautiful sunrise greeted us on Sunday morning.
A beautiful sunrise greeted us on Sunday morning.

It was still quite windy so we packed up everything apart from the rain covers on the tents and had a nice wind free breakfast and coffee before, under the cover of one of the tents.

We had a nice wind free breakfast and coffee under the one of tents rain cover.
We had a nice wind free breakfast and coffee under the one of tents rain cover.

We were all wearing almost all our clothes when we left the campsite and headed back towards the car park. As we started moving, we had to stop multiple times and take off layer after layer, in order not to overheat. We passed a lot of people heading in the opposite direction, heading for Needle Peak. Sunday wasn’t as clear, so I’m not sure they had any of the views we have had the day before. We made it down in 1.5h, only stopping to take off yet another layer of clothes.

We stopped at Field House Brewery for some nice beer and lunch, before playing a round of mini golf at a nearby “adventure park"⛳