Hiking Giant’s Head Mountain, Summerland, British Columbia

Giant’s Head Mountain provides one of our favourite quick hikes (3.2km return) in the southern Okanagan region of British Columbia, Canada.

When approaching from the southeast, this 850m extinct volcano does indeed look like the profile of a very large man looming over the nearby town of Summerland.

The Giant’s Head hike offers expansive views of the local area as well as Naramata, Penticton and the mountains beyond, no matter what time of day or season you visit.

Read on for our experience plus all the details you need to hike Giant’s Head Mountain in Summerland yourself. Updated 2020

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Bench looking out over elevated view of Summerland township with Okanagan Lake and snow capped mountains in background on Giant's Head Mountain Summit trail
Looking out over Summerland from the Giant’s Head Mountain Summit trail
Elevated views down towards Highway 97 with deep blue Okanagan Lake and rolling hills
Summit views at Giant’s Head Mountain

The Giant’s Head Mountain trail

The Giant’s Head Mountain hike is a fairly straightforward 1.6km (3.2km return) ascent to the top with some steeper sections near the end.

There is a narrow paved road leading almost all the way to the summit (open in summer only). Hikers starting from the base parking lot can either walk on the road or follow the many trails to the top. The latter offer a shortcut around several long switchbacks.

The paved road first swings out east towards Okanagan Lake before following the western side of the mountain for the rest of the route. 

Paved path leading slightly uphill, lined with trees and dry ground
Starting the Giant’s Head Mountain Summit trail
Looking down on the town of Summerland with houses and condo buildings, with Okanagan Lake and mountains visible in the background
The views on the Giant’s Head Mountain Summit trail appear quickly

Gorgeous views abound on Giant’s Head Mountain

Being that the main parking lot is already at around 500m, spectacular views over Summerland and the lake appear pretty quickly. As the trail heads west, it is soon possible to see large mountain summits in the distance. Snow is usually visible on the peaks from November to April. 

Another perspective seen from this direction is the hidden agricultural and industrial areas of Summerland. While it may not be the prettiest of places, the backdrop certainly helps matters!

It is possible to make out the route of the Kettle Valley Railway mid-way through the hike. If you manage to time it right in the summer (and on special event days), you may even be able to spot the heritage train operating. 

A higher elevation view of Summerland with blocks of houses, Okanagan Lake in the background
Gaining elevation on the Giant’s Head Mountain Summit trail
Looking down on large industrial buildings and packing houses surrounded by rolling hills
Looking down on the industrial area of Summerland, on the western side of Giant’s Head Mountain

Arriving at the summit

A small parking lot signifies that the top of Giant’s Head isn’t too far away. The path becomes steep for a short time and soon you can spot a Canadian flag waving in the wind. A large boulder mounted on concrete greets hikers to the summit.

Not only a great place to sit and admire the views, there is a time capsule buried underneath the summit boulder. Placed at the summit for Canada’s 100th birthday in 1967 (Giant’s Head Park was created the same year), it will be opened after another hundred years.

Beyond the summit flag, there’s a large fenced viewing area. It’s still a good idea to be careful near the edge, however, since it’s a very long way down! The wind can pick up at the edge too. 

No matter which way you look from the Giant’s Head Mountain summit, there is something special to see. Check out the patchwork of vineyards across the water on the beautiful Naramata Bench, lined by the sparkling waters of Okanagan Lake. 

Flying Canadian flag on post at the top of Giant's Head Mountain
You’ll be welcomed to the summit of Giant’s Head Mountain by a Canadian flag
JR standing behind fence, looking out over Okanagan Lake, Highway 97 from the top of Giant's Head Mountain
Looking towards Penticton from the summit of Giant’s Head Mountain

Giant’s Head Mountain, Summerland: Essential details

  • The Giant’s Head Mountain trailhead is easily and quickly accessible via Highway 97. Turn off at the Prairie Valley intersection (the one with Tim Hortons) in Summerland, make a left soon after on Atkinson, another left on Giant’s Head Road and then finally a right on Milne Rd
  • The parking lot for the hike is found after 500m on the left. Parking is free. There is space for around 15-20 vehicles
  • Two small parking areas are available at the top, with space for about 6-8 vehicles. I wouldn’t recommend driving a RV up. From the summit parking lot, it is a quick hike on a dirt switchback trail to the top
  •  A number of benches can be found on the way to the top if you need a break
  • A round trip from the lower parking lot takes around 1.5-2 hours, depending on your fitness and how much time you spend admiring the views at the top!
Summit views towards the industrial side of Summerland, with rolling hills, snow topped mountains and Gemma standing at a fenced viewpoint
Checking out the views west from the Giant’s Head Mountain summit near Summerland
A rock sign with carved 'Giant's Head Mountain Park'
This sign greets you to the lower parking lot at Giant’s Head Mountain

Looking to book a stay in Summerland?

Summerland Waterfront Resort and Spa – Amazing location

Rosedale Motel – Good value

Dogwood Bed and Breakfast – Highly rated on Booking.com

Check out these other awesome hiking trails in the southern Okanagan area:

McIntyre Bluff, Oliver

Peach Cliff, Okanagan Falls

Kettle Valley Rail Trail, Penticton

Myra Canyon Railway Trestles, Kelowna

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Giant's Head Mountain, Summerland, is one of our favourite quick hikes (3.2km return) in southern British Columbia, Canada. It's a workout with an awesome payoff! offtracktravel.ca
Giant's Head Mountain, Summerland, is one of our favourite quick hikes (3.2km return) in southern British Columbia, Canada. It's a workout with an awesome payoff - a must try when visiting the area! offtracktravel.ca

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