Summit Elevation (m): 1954
Trip Date: September 16 2015
Elevation Gain (m): 850
Round Trip Time (hr): 4
Total Trip Distance (km): 12.5
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 1 – you fall, you tripped over your own feet
Difficulty Notes: No difficulties – this one is a hike.
Technical Rating: OT2; YDS (Hiking)
GPS Track: Download
Map: Google Maps
After a spectacular trip to the White Goat Wilderness with Eric over the weekend, I spent a few rainy, cold days back in Calgary recovering. Unfortunately (for me) the latest weather system dumped a pile of fresh snow on most of the Rockies, once again dashing any hopes of a large ascent for my second week off. Even my dream of going into the Mount Assiniboine area to bag peaks and photograph larches was literally dumped on. Ah well. The Rockies are a big place and one place didn’t seem to be affected by the latest storms, so I headed back there! Waterton Lakes National Park was back on the menu so-to-speak.
Just like the last time I was there (a mere week earlier), I planned on three days with various ascents. For my first day I chose a very easy hike to start my trip, Lakeview Ridge. The hardest part of this hike was finding the trailhead. Using Bob’s trip report didn’t help, as he doesn’t usually specify how to do this. With some guessing I managed to deduce that I should drive into the Bison Paddock turnoff along hwy 6 before turning into the Waterton Park main drive. I drove to the very end of the gravel road and there was my trailhead – complete with a sign warning me that bears were sure to devour me if I dared venture solo into their domain.
Waterton is not a busy place in mid to late September and once again, I found myself alone on the trail. The trail is actually a nice loop going completely around Lakeview Ridge. The trail is called, “Horseshoe Basin” and should be on your list if you’re a hiker. I didn’t love the track at first, as it went through pretty thick trees and thickets. Being alone, I always think a rutting elk or angry grizzly might lunge out of the bushes right in front of me. As usual though, after the first half hour I settled into the hike and forget about the monsters (other than yelling to them that I was coming, of course).
The day was glorious for hiking, slightly overcast but great views and warm. The trail is well signed and obvious. Once I crossed over a ridge I found myself descending back towards a dried up stream. Here I simply bushwhacked to the lower slopes of Lakeview Ridge and started up. The ridge is easy and obvious. I enjoyed the views and the walk immensely. Great views of Bellevue Hill and Mount Galwey kept me entertained, as well as scouring the valley towards Dungarvon for wildlife.
At first I was absolutely convinced that Bob had his facts wrong and the east summit of the ridge was the highest one. When I stood on the west summit, however, I could see that if anything the two are too close to call. My GPS put both at exactly the same height. One could traverse to the east summit fairly easily and possibly even catch the return branch of the Horseshoe Basin trail on the east side. I didn’t bother. The descent was straightforward and quick on the final scree slope to the dried up stream bed.
On return I ran into a nice couple that were still not sure they were doing the whole loop. I encouraged them to try, as the route looked very nice from on top of the ridge. I can easily recommend this hike, either up Lakeview Ridge or along Horseshoe Basin to any beginner scrambler or hiker looking for a bit more challenge but short on time or energy.