Surfbird Mountain

Total Distance: 8 km
Return Time: 3 hours
Elevation Gain: 447 m
Difficulty: Easy
Region: Tombstone
Traditional Territory: THFN

A nice tundra hike in the northern part of Tombstone Park in the Blackstone Range. The view includes the wide open valley of the Blackstone River as it meanders north and the surrounding rolling hills which give way to more dramatic mountain ranges beyond.

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Driving Directions

At kilometer 98 of the Dempster Highway, follow the spur road on the left side (heading north on the highway) all the way up to a microwave tower. Park here, and make sure to allow enough space for work vehicles to access the tower.

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Route Description

From the parking area, head up the open slope towards the top of the low ridge, staying on the right side of the small creek to avoid having to bushwhack through the willows. There is somewhat of a trail at the beginning but this peters out within a few minutes. The terrain is quite hummocky at the beginning in the tussocks.

Before the top of the low ridge take a left through a small opening in the willows and follow an animal trail through a meadow leading up a small hill. Continue up the slope now heading south towards the mountain, towards a small saddle midway along the mountain ridge.

Once at the saddle you can see into the other valley and south down the Dempster Highway. Follow the ridge up towards the small peak of Surfbird Mountain which lies to the southwest. From the peak, there are beautiful views towards Blackstone Mountain and Mount Auston. Wildhorse Creek winds its way below to the south.

You can return the way you came up, but it is also nice to head back along the ridge and continue northeast towards the other end of the mountain and descend towards a rock pillar on the northeast facing slope. There are beautiful views looking north over the Blackstone River and the mountain ranges beyond. The slope is gentle and spongy making for a nice descent. You will need to cross a few small streams and willow sections to get back to the parking area, but it is easy to find animal trails to avoid the bushwhacking.

Route Photos

Looking up to the rock tower from the beginning of the trail.

Starting up the trail, heading to the top of the lower ridge to avoid the bushes along the stream.

On the saddle, heading towards the summit.

Looking at the summit from just below.

The view from the summit towards the east, with Blackstone Mountain in the shadows.

Descending from the summit, looking south-west across the Dempster Highway towards Angelcomb Peak.

An alternative route down is to continue north-west along the ridge from the saddle.

Standing on top of the rock tower with an expansive view to the north.

Satellite View

Route Comments

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Chris and Heather Cham June 27, 2019
We hiked Surfbird Mtn on the night of June 21, 2019, for the summer solstice as part of a group from the Tombstone visitors center. Arrived at the summit just after 11 pm to watch the sun skirt the northern horizon. The views northwards are amazing, and if you don't have the time to drive up to the Arctic Circle, this hike and the views will give you a similar experience. This hike looks easy, but getting to the summit is a spongy tundra hike that is harder than it looks - very little rocky surface on which to walk. From the summit, there is a ridge southbound that you can hike as well. Watch for surfbird nests in the tundra - very easy to step on! Bring bug protection! Overall this was an absolutely amazing experience.

K Power July 11, 2017
We hiked Surfbird on July 6th, with stunning weather. Elevation wise this isn't a difficult hike, however because of the alpine spongy terrain I would rate it moderate rather than easy. Alpine is tough on the ankles and the hips because it sinks away from you. At the top you can hike further back along the ridge to some peaks, well worth it if you have the time. Overall it was an excellent hike, one I would do rain or shine.

Shailyn Drukis June 9, 2014
Hiked Surfbird Mountain on Saturday- the views were lovely, the climb not too steep. We took our time wandering around the ridges and looking for birds, so we did the hike in about five hours return. Great hike :)