All the hiking guides lead you to the top of Needle Peak, a beautiful peak in the heart of the Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area, but a short side trip leads to a scenic little tarn below Flatiron Mountain.
So many hikes require a long, sometimes rough drive, along a forest service road that to be able to pull off of the main highway and park is a real bonus. The trailhead is just on the otherside of a small creek.
It's a bit of a stiff grunt up through a forested hill for about 45 minutes, with occasional glimpses of Yak Peak and other mountains across he valley, until you emerge onto the ridge.
Then the views open-up. There are many photo-ops along here, including small pools with reflections of the neighbouring peaks, lines formed by rocks, and sun-bleached tree snags. Another 45 minutes from there you have a descision to make; east towards the summit or west to Flatiron.
I haven't been to the summit yet so maybe that hike will make it into 2012's 5 best. Instead, we head west, into a sparsely treed saddle with views on both sides. Within half an hour you're approaching the tarn below Flatiron where there's a stream flowing over a flat expanse of exposed rock with views to Coquihalla Mountain. The image below is looking back at Needle Peak.
At the tarn itself you are treated to views and reflections of Needle Peak, as long as the snow has melted. There's also some interesting rock formations in the area and tons of places to explore and discover. I'm sure this will make a great spot to over-night and wander about. I'm looking forward to many return trips in this area.