Iron Ridge

Summit Elevation (m): 1602
Trip Date: Saturday, May 02, 2020
Elevation Gain (m): 205
Round Trip Time (hrs): 1:10 
Total Trip Distance (km): 4
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain your thumb 
Difficulty Notes: This is a very easy and straightforward off trail hike from the highway to the summit.
Technical Rating: OT2; RE2
GPS Track: Download

We were done with Bluff Mountain and Greenhill Ridge around 13:30 on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon on May 02 2020, so Wietse and I did what any blue-blooded peakbagger would do. We bagged a third peak. We didn’t have much criteria for the third peak other than it should have NO SNOW. Any visible snow would render the chosen objective obsolete and would probably result in tears and unreasonable rage. After the gong show on Bluff a few hours earlier we wanted more of Greenhill Ridge – namely hiking in a t-shirt on dry grass. We already had a destination picked out on our drive to the Crowsnest Pass earlier in the day. The weekend before we’d noted that Iron Ridge looked bone dry from our hike up Saskatoon Mountain just to the east. Sonny Bou made the ridge sound very straightforward and we planned to follow his route from the west end of 22 avenue in the town of Coleman, just north of hwy 3.

Iron Ridge Route Map

As we drove to the end of 22 avenue it became very clear that the locals didn’t want us parking or hiking through their properties. There were “no trespassing” signs blocking our way at the end of the street. We were planning to ask for permission but I encouraged Wietse to try another route first. I didn’t see any reason why we couldn’t park at the Coleman Viewpoint on hwy 3 just SW of the ridge and tackle the route from there. For once one of my route ideas worked perfectly and after crossing a busy hwy 3 (the crux of the trip) we started hiking up the ridge from it’s SW corner.

Hiking up Iron Ridge with views of Coulthard (L), McLaren, Parrish, Andy Good, Chinook, Ostracized, Sentry, Phillipps, Tecumseh, Deadman Pass and Crowsnest Mountain (R).

Tons of Pasqueflowers dotted the warm, dry, grassy south slopes as we easily worked our way up along the ridge. Iron Ridge isn’t a grand objective by any stretch of the imagination, but it does have some things going for it. It’s short, it has great views and it’s very easy to access. I’d say this is a great family hike despite the lack of a trail. Near the summit Wietse and I both got temporarily confused when we thought Wedge Mountain was the top of Iron Ridge – we wondered why it seemed to be so high! We ran into Grant and his son near the summit – they were completing a loop from Saskatoon Mountain, over Wedge and down Iron Ridge. Not bad for a 10 year old!

Views from the summit of Iron Ridge include Crowsnest and Wedge Mountain at left, Saskatoon and Bluff at center and Turtle, Willoughby and Coulthard at right.
Views from Iron Ridge include Coulthard (L), McLaren, Parrish, Andy Good, Chinook, Ostracized, Sentry, Phillipps, Tecumseh, Deadman Pass and Crowsnest Mountain (R).
Views from Iron Ridge include Saskatoon Mountain (L), Centre, Caudron, Bluff, Turtle and Hillcrest Mountain (R).

After taking a few summit photos and enjoying the views we returned back to the highway to complete one of the quickest and easiest off trail hikes you’ll find on this site. I highly recommend Iron Ridge for anyone short on time but wanting great views of the Crowsnest Pass area.

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