Sleeping Beauty Trail (Tarundl Trail)
The Sleeping Beauty Trail, aka the Tarundl Trail is the most accessible alpine hike on island. On a clear day, it provides amazing views of Skidegate inlet, the west coast, Hecate Strait, the islands' mountain ranges and even the Canadian mainland.
This hike is listed on the brochure "Guide to Recreation sites and Trails of Haida Gwaii".
This hike is called locally "Sleeping Beauty", but the trail itself is called Tarundl Trail. Also, the summit (or "nose" of the Sleeping Beauty), is called Mount Raymond, but locals sometimes will say it is called Mount Genevieve. Mount Genevieve is actually another summit close by.
This is a hard hike, along a steep trail, with some slippery sections, and the altitude gain is just under 700m (starting at 327m, and finishing at 1018m). The hike itself, however, can be done in 3 to 5 hours return.
This hike can be combined with the Slatechuck Mountain Trail and form a loop. This is a much longer hike.
Getting to the trailhead can be a little hard on vehicles as there are some steep sections and it is for the most part unpaved. A vehicle with high clearance is strongly advised. Please note that most rental companies, unless specifically stated otherwise, will not allow their vehicles to go on logging roads.
It is best to enquire locally as to how to access the trailhead. Going to the Queen Charlotte Visitor Centre before doing the hike is a good idea, asking about directions, road conditions etc.
The trailhead, starting from Queen Charlotte, is about 10kms away. You would have to take the main road that goes through town, and head towards Kagan Bay. From there the road forks and starts to go up onto the flanks of Slatechuck mountain. Locally made wooden signs indicating the Sleeping beauty trail at turnoffs do make finding the trailhead relatively simple.
There are 2 parking lots, the first one is for those wanting to do the Slatechuck connector trail. The second one is for the Tarundl Trail (aka Sleeping Beauty trail).
There is sign at the trailhead that shows the topography of the area and the different trail systems.
The trail first goes through a very young, dense and dark forest, before climbing steadily into older stands of mainly cedar and hemlock. There is a rough picnic area with, on a clear day, fine views of Skidegate Inlet, after roughly a half hour of climbing. The trail then still goes up steadily, going through rocky parts, before opening up in the "alpine" where the vegetation changes and becomes noticeably smaller. There is a small glacial lake in the alpine area, where the trail essentially ends. Hikers can go further up to the very summit of Mount Raymond, following a fairly obvious route.
The views up there can be breathtaking.
Always make sure you pack some warm clothes, raingear, water, snacks, sun protection etc. This is a strenuous hike, with very slippery sections, and is only advisable for experienced hikers.
A shot of the Trailhead map
There is a blog entry that shows more images of the hike and views of the trail in the winter. Please visit it here.