Signage at the trailhead sends you upward to the Larch Hill Traverse. Although directional signs to Hyde Mountain Lookout are not evident until much later in the trip, this is definitely the correct trail. It originates as a continuous climb among a forest of western red cedar and western hemlock. The forest floor changes from deadfall to rich green mosses and lichens as the trail progresses upward.
For the first 4 km of this trek, the trail ascends steadily, gaining 361 m, but this is not an ordinary series of switchbacks. These are perhaps the best-engineered switchbacks I have ever climbed. The distances between them are long and you barely notice the gradient, allowing you to catch your breath before you lose it. I was able to complete this 4 km with 361 m of elevation gain in just over an hour.
There is only one marker during this climb, at 3.5 km, indicating a viewpoint off the left side of the trail.
Just before completing the fourth kilometre you will approach a small clearing. The trail pops up out of the clearing to an old forest service road. A marker on a carefully planted post tells you to go left along the Larch Hill Traverse. This section of the traverse is a 40 km trail linking Salmon Arm with Sicamous, and is used by both hikers and cyclists.
A kilometre of wandering on a level, decommissioned forest service road brings you to the next post with markers. This is at a junction where another road merges from the right. Continue going straight as the marker suggests, following the GAME TRAIL SECTION.
The path continues as a pleasant, grassy road, climbing steadily around an old cutblock. As the road flattens, it grazes a small clearing on its right side, with a secondary road veering off to the left. Another post, this one with a marker directing you up this secondary road to Hyde Mountain Lookout, is planted in plain sight.
Ten minutes on this road delivers you to a large clearing, maintaining its course on the right side of the clearing. As the road exits the clearing it narrows, and the vegetation closes in, becoming almost claustrophobic.
There is still almost another kilometre of hiking, and it’s not a simple stroll in the woods, as the trail presents moments of upward labour.
The trail progressively narrows until it finally comes to an unexpectedly abrupt end. A faint single-track path continues beyond the road’s end, immediately taking you to a fabulous viewpoint. Mara Lake is the unmistakable star featured from this vantage spot, with Black Point jutting out into the middle of the lake.