Nathan and I have hiked 5040 Peak twice – once on a cloudy, rainy day, and once on a perfect bluebird day. This hike is a ~7 kilometre out-and-back that takes around 4 hours total to complete. With an elevation gain of 937 metres (walking straight up the peak), you are sure to sweat a lot and work hard. I am going to give a summary of our experience hiking it in 2021.
The 5040 Peak trailhead is located on Highway 4 between Tofino and Port Alberni – about a 1.5 hour drive from Tofino or 30 minutes from Port Alberni. The road up to the trailhead is a forest service road that requires you to have a car with high clearance or 4×4. Luckily our small Subaru Impreza has 4×4 and we were able to make it right to the start of the trail…there were a few cars that were parked along the road because they couldn’t make it any further. Be careful though – you wouldn’t want to get your car stuck as there is NO cellphone reception in this area (not even when you get down to the highway).
The first part of the hike is through a forested section, with no views of the surrounding mountains. After a bit of initial steep hiking through the forest, you pass a nice waterfall before heading up the granite rock slabs that take you up to Cobalt Lake. This lake provides stunning views of the top of 5040 Peak on one side, and on the other, views of Triple Peak Mountain – this is about half way through the hike. The next part of the hike is steep and takes you to an Alpine Club of Canada hut. The hut is really nice inside and is a perfect place to do an overnight hike, snowshoe, or ski trip – but has to be booked in advance! When we did the hike in October, we had some friends who were camping out in the hut for a few nights so we got a tour inside.
The last leg of the hike is from the hut to the Peak. When we did this hike in October, this last part was fully snow covered and so we did sink in a bit and slip. However, if you watch your footing and come prepared wearing hiking boots or bring poles, you’ll be fine! This last section isn’t too long or too steep, but is definitely the part of the hike with the most exposure.
I was a little nervous walking to the Peak as it was REALLY windy and snowy, and I was worried I would slip off the mountain! Obviously that didn’t happen. From the top, the view was AMAZING – you could see the Broken Group Islands in Barkley Sound, the Coast Mountains, the Olympic Mountains, Port Alberni, and Triple Peak.
I would highly recommend this hike to any experienced hikers! But remember to come prepared as weather can be unpredictable! I have linked the All Trails page for this hike for the GPS location of how to get there as well as experiences from other hikers.