Pulpit Rock continues to attract people looking for a fairly short hike with rewarding views of Nelson and the lake.
According to Friends of Pulpit Rock Society, 20,000 people made the trip last year, ranging from octogenarians to pre-schoolers (and infants in packs).
Typically taking 30 to 45 minutes each way, the trail starts at Johnstone Road, and winds up the hill for 1.8 kilometers.
People with more energy, time and ambition continue up the trail to Flagpole, but there is still snow on the upper part of that trail. Views from Flagpole include panoramas of Nelson and down-valley towards Slocan Junction.
In 2012, Friends of Pulpit Rock Society installed a bench at Pulpit Rock, and a 7.6 metre flagpole and large flag at the Flagpole viewpoint — on the ridge and visible from Nelson. Both were made possible by local private donations.
Preparations are now underway to do extensive work on the trail, which has been seriously worn with the many hikers using it.
Supported in part by a Regional District of Central Kootenay grant, the Pulpit Rock trail upgrade project will see a trail crew building wooden and stone steps at a number of switchbacks, and re-establishing the grade on worn sections. The project is being actively supported by Pulpit trail hikers, who are voluntarily carrying moderate-sized bags of step-filler sand up to the switchback work sites.
If you haven’t been up to Pulpit Rock before, this is a good time to do it.
The trailhead is on Johnstone Road (you can’t miss it). The trail to Pulpit is snow-free and generally dry, and the view down to Nelson is as great as ever. Be sure to park clear of the paved roadway.
Take a water bottle and a jacket, and don’t forget your camera.