Late June 2017
9.5 km round trip (off trail loop)
888m elevation gain
Waking up to the heat at Crandel Campground. A quick drive to down for a waffle breakfast before driving up the Akamina Parkway to the trail head for Ruby Ridge at the Lineham Creek Parking Lot.
Ruby ridge, like any amazing Waterton hike, gives gifts of vistas, waterfalls and stoneformations from beginning to end. And a variety of hiking terrain to please a scrambler and challenge a trail hiker. An off trail hike following ridge crests, the steep heads of valleys and some bush waking near the end. If your wondering whether to take your map and compass then this hike probably isn’t for you.
The terrain of this hike reminded me of the Bull Creek Hills in K Country, but with the views of Waterton. After following the main trail for about 20-30 minutes we decided to pick our way up the southwest face of Ruby Ridge through the open slopes and gaps in the red rock cliff bands. Ever more interesting views of Linham falls unfold westward up the valley. The deeper views into the more majestic peaks of the Glacier National Park make their presence known and one can’t help but stop climbing and gaze into the endless peaks with Cameron lake sitting squarely in front.
The layers of ancient red and grey mud crumble. Billions of years though the fingertips boot steps. The climb continues, passing through scree slopes enroute to the summit ridge where, after cresting, the view north unfolds with Mt. Blakiston and the blue of Ruby lake wrapped in its cirque. The summit piercing the dark cloud layer gathering around.
The view east is as impressive with the prairies echoing off into the endless space. Clouds and sunlight cast shadows and patters on the eastern ranges. The eyes have everywhere to look.
We continue walking north eastward along the ridge as it drops down to a col. The route finding is easy and there are a few steps that require all four limbs to get down. Small meadows and larch meet us at the col before we ascend the gradual slope leading to the second highpoint on the ridge.
After a lunch spot we continue southward, back towards the col and veering down into a wide valley. Sheep rest in the red rocks. Springs burst from the mountain side cloaked in native thistles and Forgetmenots.
We continue descending through loose scree to the base of a cliff band at the treeline. After shooting a bearing to the parking lot we enter the forest and thrash through alder into meadows of bear grass. Following dry ridges off trail through the forest is one of my favourite things. We meet the highway about 200 m east of the parking lot.