The Harrison Fire Lookout Tower is the perfect spot to escape Vancouver and catch beautiful views of Harrison Lake and the surrounding mountain ranges. Our ride to the trailhead followed a long, hilly gravel road, which crossed a handful of rivers and through dense forests. The last leg of the route included a steep, rugged hike to the top of a small mountain where the lookout tower was perched. The trip was physically and mentally straining but was certainly well worth the remote camping spot and beautiful vistas.
We parked our car in Harrison Mills and started riding from there.
From Harrison Mills we followed Morris Valley Road for 38km before turning right onto an unnamed road (49.489591, -121.883513). We rode about 300m down the unnamed road before reaching the trailhead (49.494267, -121.881258). The hike was about 1.75km with an elevation gain of 370m. The coordinates for the lookout tower are 49.502270, -121.886610.
Morris Valley Road was a challenging ride with plenty of ups and downs and loose gravel. The road cut through dense patches of forest, over countless rivers and across vast landscapes resembling Mordor due to decades of logging. The only people we saw along the route were folks on quads and beastly looking 4×4 rigs. They were friendly but seemed to think we were a bit crazy for riding peddle bikes out there.
Hiking up to the tower with our bikes and camping gear was hectic especially since it was dark by the time we arrived at the trailhead. We recommend packing extremely light if you have any hope of bringing all your gear up with you. Otherwise you may want to stash your bike at the bottom. About an hour into our hike Geoff’s bike tumbled down on him resulting in a bloody head wound. Luckily it wasn’t too serious so we were able to continue up the steep trail.
We arrived at the lookout tower around midnight with just enough energy to setup camp, enjoy a whiskey and reflect on the adventurous day. The inside of the tower was dry and habitable but smelled a bit musky so we ended up sleeping on the deck. We rose a few hours later to catch the sunrise before falling asleep again. After some more rest we had some coffee and a little breakfast before beginning our descent. The hike down was much more pleasant since we had daylight and fresh legs. To get back we followed the same route down Morris Valley Road. We enjoyed freeze dried lasagna for our second breakfast while boiling river water to drink.