Mount Arrowsmith is the tallest and most popular mountain to climb on Vancouver Island south of Strathcona Park. There are several routes up the mountain. The Judges Route is one is the most direct, but it is a steep grind up the west face of the mountain in the direct afternoon sun. Make sure to bring lots of water!
The trail starts pretty high up, at around 760 meters. There is some lovely old forest in the first part of the trail past the recent logging. Although the forest is dominated by Douglas fir forest at first, it drops out of the picture as you move up the mountain into the montane forest zone. Then the species composition changes to Western Hemlock and then to Mountain hemlock along with Yellow Cedar and Amabilis or Silver Fir. Slowly the forest becomes more stunted and gnarled giving way to alpine shrubs and wildflowers. Then you are able to see incredible rock faces, knobs and drop-offs signifying that you are approaching the top. Here the trail may become less obvious, however there are plastic ribbons hung on the trees and bushes along the trail that will help. At the top there is a helicopter platform and a communications tower and wonderful views of Georgia Straight (the Salish Sea), Port Alberni, the Alberni Inlet, as well as the mountains and lakes to the west.
The route to the trailhead off the highway is through private forest land. Logging trucks and company trucks have the right of way. Getting to the trailhead is a bit complicated, so there is a route included in the GPS track. The turnoff from highway 4 is at the top of the height of land between the Cameron Valley and the Alberni Valley. You will travel south and downward until you meet a main logging road at the bottom. Go left and follow this road uphill and along the bottom of the valley. Eventually you will leave the narrow valley and the view left will reveal a steep drop-off into the Canyon River. Stay low until you cross this river and bear right. The next major turn to the left is the road you want. Follow it up until you reach the parking spot. It is 13.2 km from the highway turn off. Unless you have a 4X4, Park at the parking waypoint and hike up the logging road. There is a recent clearcut on your left. The road is about 1.3 km long.