Trip 090 - July 10, 2015 (Friday)

Butler Ridge Hiking Trail

Butler Ridge Provincial Park

Near Hudson's Hope BC


Location:
Northeastern British Columbia, about 37 kilometers from Hudson's Hope.

Liked: Easy access to the trailhead, shade in the forest, several rock views, (potentially) good views of Williston Lake.

Of note: (Almost) no signs to the trail, remote wilderness area, no cell phone signal, mosquitoes, several long steep stretches, the trail is getting overgrown, no tree cover in alpine area (sun protection required), hiking boots and poles are recommended.

Northern BC Backroad Mapbook (3rd edition) Coordinates: Page 65 (Hudson's Hope) E5. The latest edition of Backroad Mapbook for this and other regions, as well as GPS maps, are available at BackroadMapbooks.com.

Related Website: Butler Ridge Provincial Park - BC Parks Official Site.

Other trips in Hudson's Hope area: Battleship Mountain Trail Hike, Bullhead Mountain Trail Hike, W.A.C. Bennett Dam Visit.

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Butler Ridge trail starts near the Williston Lake boat launch, and offers great views of Williston Lake. Except today haze made those views much less appealing. However, it was still a memorable hike, as the ridge offers several fine rock views and, if nothing else, a good exercise. ATV access is permitted all the way up to the alpine area, if you don't feel like sweating through a featureless forest for the first two and a half hours of the hike.

1. We are in Hudson's Hope, following the arrow to W.A.C Bennett dam. On the far left is Fas Gas (last chance to fuel up). Turning left before the gas station would get you to Chetwynd, but we need to drive straight on Canyon Drive to get to Butler Ridge Provincial Park.


Hudson's Hope BC Canada

2. About 15 kilometers later there is a split. Coordinates: N 56'01'743 W 122'07'991. Going straight would lead to the dam in a few kilometers. Turning right onto Twelve Mile Road would lead to Butler Ridge Provincial Park.


Canyon Road at Twelve Mile Road Near Hudson's Hope British Columbia Canada

3. Twelve Mile Road just after the turn.


12 Mile Road by Hudson's Hope BC

4. In about three kilometers, the asphalt ends, and gravel begins. This has to be the smoothest gravel road we have ever driven, with no potholes or uneven surface. Beware, though, as gravel is slippery even when dry, and skidding is a real possibility, if you go too fast.

 
Twelve Mile Road Near Williston Lake BC Canada

5. A decent view of Williston Lake (which was formed when W.A.C. Bennett dam was built on Peace River) appears on the left as you drive towards Butler Ridge Provincial Park.


Williston Lake British Columbia Canada Seen from Twelve Mile Road

6. Closer to the park, there is a split. Turn right.


Photo of Twelve Mile Road by Hudson's Hope BC Canada

7. Just over 22 kilometers after we turned onto Twelve Mile Road, we are at another split. Going left here would very shortly lead to Williston Lake boat launch and parking. And going right (Dunlevy Road, which the GPS navigator insisted on calling Strain Road) would take you around some part of the lake towards residential properties and numerous vacant lots awaiting their buyers. Also, Butler Ridge trailhead is immediately after you turn right onto Dunlevy Road.


Twelve Mile Road at Dunlevy Road Butler Ridge Provincial Park BC Canada

8. We will return to our hike coverage shortly, but for now here is a photo of Williston Lake Boat Launch area.


Williston Lake Boat Launch Area Butler Ridge Provincial Park by Hudson's Hope BC Canada

9. In case you ever need it, the emergency numbers are posted nearby.


Emergency Services Phone Numbers for Fort St. John and Hudson's Hope

10. Alright, so if you would turn right onto Dunlevy Road at a split seen on photo #8, Butler Ridge trailhead would be right there. Coordinates for the trailhead: N 56'08'646 W 122'21'270. Elevation: 733 meters. There is but one small sign there, which consists of a figure of a hiker. You can see the leaning metal post hosting that sign on the left side of the trail just before the forest entrance. ATVs are permitted in this trail up to the alpine area.


Butler Ridge Trailhead

11. At first, the trail is easy enough, and actually loses altitude, as you descend towards a small creek. It was possible to do stone-hopping to cross it. However, during the spring runoff the volume of water might require getting your feet wet.


Butler Ridge Trail Creek Crossing

12. And then the most difficult part of the hike begins - a very long steep stretch which makes you gain over two hundred meters of altitude prior to somewhat levelling out at coordinates N 56'08'488 W 122'19'641, elevation 950 meters.


Butler Ridge Trail - Butler Ridge Provincial Park British Columbia Canada

13. Fifty minutes into the hike, we arrived to a three-road split. Turn left.


Butler Ridge Trail BC Canada

14. Butler Ridge trail is quite overgrown in some places.


Overgrown Butler Ridge Trail

15. Two and a half hours into the hike, we have reached the alpine area at the elevation of approximately 1,400 meters. Coordinates: N 56'09'229 W122'16'240. A sign prohibits further motorized vehicles access.


Butler Ridge Hiking Trail End of Motorized Vehicles Access

16. Very soon you get to see the beginning of the actual Butler Ridge part of the hike...


Butler Ridge Trail - Butler Ridge Provincial Park

17. ...and a very hazy (today, anyway) Williston Lake. Darkened the image quite a lot to be able to see even this much.


Williston Lake Seen from Butler Ridge Trail British Columbia Canada

18. At first, the path is easy to see, and leads through a pleasant area of short trees.


Butler Ridge Hiking Trail BC Canada

19. But then, the path disappears and reappears all the time, as this trail is probably rarely used. However, the ridge is very obvious, and all you do is keep walking towards what looks like the end of the ridge.


Butler Ridge British Columbia Canada

20. There are a few good rock views here and there, though this hike is definitely far from spectacular.


Butler Ridge Provincial Park

21. No tree cover in the alpine, so have sun protection ready.


Butler Ridge Provincial Park Province of BC Canada

22. The ridge kept going and going with no end in sight.


 Butler Ridge British Columbia Canada

23. Williston Lake is always to your left, and would be quite a treat to look at without all this haze.


Williston Lake View From Butler Ridge

24. Eventually, we have had enough of Butler Ridge, reached this cairn, and went back. The ridge, as you can see, can be hiked much further. Coordinates of the cairn: N 56'10'726 W 122'16'935. Distance from the "No motorized vehicles beyond this point" sign seen on photo #15: 2.9 kilometers as the crow flies.


Cairn on Butler Ridge

Here is our video of Butler Ridge and Williston Lake from this point:

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Provided there is no haze over the lake, this could be a worthwhile hike for sure.


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