From the Trans-Canada Highway, take exit #123 (Prest Road) South to Bailey Road. Turn left onto Bailey rd. In 700m take a slight right onto Elk View Rd. Climb the mountain for 1.7 km and go straight at the 3 way stop. Follow the road about 9 KMs around the beautiful Ryder Lake. Eventually the road will wind around a couple 90 degree turns, then turn into a gravel road. Keep following the gravel road about 1KM and you will see a parking lot on your left. The Trail head is at the far end of the parking lot.
Alternately, If you have 4×4 and are a little brave, there is a forest service road about 0.5 kms before the parking lot that goes north into the forest. The road is sometimes gated about 100 feet in. This road leads up to a flat spot where you can park and make the trail a bit shorter.
The first 2.5 km of this trail is a steady climb through forest. At this point the trail gains in grade and turns to switchbacks. Some of the switchbacks become a bit confusing as people take shortcuts and make alternate trails. keep your eyes open for flagging along the way.
at about 3.5 kms you emerge formt he forest to a steep slope which would be very tricky and even dangerous in the winter if you are not experienced. There are a few steps built into the trail but some at the end are fairly tall and could be completely frozen in winter. There are decent views south from here.
The trail then leads to the first lookoff. A rock bluff with a good view of Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley.
Continuing for another 10 minutes brings you higher in elevation as you climb to the Summit of Elk Mountain where there is a small campsite and amazing views of the Chilliwack River Valley and Cultus Lake. Depending on the time of year you can find many wild flowers and even wild strawberries. On the ridge, there’s some excellent views of the mountains to the south and south-east, with Mts. MacGuire, Border Peaks, and Mt. Slesse. There’s also some great views of Mt. Baker.
The trail then continues past Elk, leading through a flowery sub-alpine ridge. Descending past Elk you will eventually climb up to the first false summit of Thurston Mountain where there is a cairn. This is the start of the hike to Thurston Mountain. (See Thurston Hike) and eventually links up with an old forest service road and takes you to an obvious pass, where a trail then continues on to Mt. Mercer, which is the highest peak along the ridge. This forest service road will eventually, through a series of mazes, connect south to Bench Road again, or eventually lead north east to the Chipmunk Creek forest service road which takes you to Cheam Mountain.