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DIRECTIONS: From Hwy1 take exit 22a toward Lilloot Road. At the exit, change lane toward left and follow the sign for Capilano University. Drive to the very end of Lillooet Rd and park at Rice Lake parking lots which is located about 5km from the exit. Bike up along Seymour Valley Trailway to about 9.2Km and watch for a logging road on the left side. The first 10m of the logging road is paved and it is located after Stoney bridge. If you reach the junction with Seymour Mainline used as a maintainence road for Seymour dam, you have gone too far. Hike up the logging road to its end. It is about 0.5Km. Look for ribbons on the right side. This is the trailhead.create
Paton's Lookout (from Seymour Trailway)
Jun 15, 2013
I wanted to find a new hike to try out for my birthday and Paton's Lookout didn't disappoint. It worked out great as an early season hike; it had modest vertical, was well-flagged, had great views along the way, and there was no snow along the trail. The views of the Seymour Valley were beautiful. Coliseum, Burwell, and Cathedral all tower in the background, building anticipation for some of the more grandiose excursions to come later in the season.
The nearest parking lot is by Rice Lake, so it's about 9.5 km down the Lower Seymour Conservatory Road to get there, best done on a bike. The bike trail was unbelievably smooth and offered some rewarding views on its own. Just before you hit the service road junction 10 km down the trailway, there should be a paved road that jets left up the mountain for about 10 m before the pavement ends and a grassy trail begins. Go up about 500 m and stash your bikes in the brush. From there, continue to an old creek bed where just before it there should be a trail that turns right into the brush and up the mountain.
The trail is quite steep but well-marked. There are no artificial steps along the trail, which I personally liked. If it weren't for the flags, you would feel like you were simply on an animal trail. This makes the descent a little tough on the knees, but really enhances the feeling of being in the wilderness. The vast expanse found at the top of the lookout far surpassed anything we had expected. Definitely take the time to roam around at the top, as you can find a variety of different views depending on where you lookout from. My friend built an inukshuk near the eastern cliff edge and we stopped to have lunch. Once you reach the bottom, reclaim your bikes and head back to Rice Lake.
Ascent time was 2hr 40 mins, descent time was 2hr. We made many stops for pictures, you could easily shave 30-45 mins off of that ascent time. The bike time was an hour each way on a rusty bike with a warped tire. In total, I would plan on taking 6hr to do the round trip starting from the Rice Lake parking lot.