Location: Northeastern British Columbia, about 37 kilometers from
access to the trailhead, shade in the forest, several rock views,
(potentially) good views of Williston Lake.
(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 the alpine area (sun protection required), hiking boots and poles
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
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 Southbound on Highway 29 in Hudson's Hope, following the arrow to
W.A.C. Bennett Dam. On the far left is Fas Gas (the last chance to fuel
up). Turning left before the gas station and continuing South on Highway
29 would, eventually, lead to Chetwynd, but we
need to drive straight onto Canyon Drive to get to Butler Ridge Provincial
Hudson's Hope BC Canada
2. About 15 kilometers later, there is a split.
Coordinates: N 56⁰01.743' W 122⁰07.991'. 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
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, especially in corners.
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
Emergency Services Phone Numbers for Fort St. John and Hudson's Hope
10. So, if you would turn right onto Dunlevy
Road at a split seen in photo #8, Butler Ridge trailhead would be right
Coordinates for the trailhead: N 56⁰08.646' W 122⁰21.270'.
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 on Butler Ridge Trail up to the alpine area.
Butler Ridge Trailhead
11. At first, the trail is easy enough,
and actually loses altitude, as the path descends 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 off at
56⁰08.488' W 122⁰19.641', elevation 950 meters.
Hudson's Hope Hiking -
Butler Ridge Trail - Butler Ridge Provincial Park British Columbia
13. Fifty minutes into the hike, we arrived to a
three-way split. Turn left.
Hike in Hudson's Hope Area -
Butler Ridge Trail BC Canada
14. Butler Ridge Trail is quite overgrown in some
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 56⁰09.229' W 122⁰16.240'. A sign prohibits further motorized
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 - Hiking in British
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 Hiking Canada
19. After that, 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 Hiking Canada
20. There are a few good rock views
here and there, though this (sub-)alpine area is definitely far from spectacular.
Butler Ridge Provincial Park
21. No tree cover in the alpine, so have sun
Butler Ridge Provincial Park Province of BC Canada
22. The ridge kept going and going with no end in
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 56⁰10.726' W 122⁰16.935'.
Distance from the "No motorized vehicles beyond this point" sign seen
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: