Trip 178 - September 3, 2019 (Tuesday)

Ripple Ridge Trail Hike

Near Salmo BC Canada

Location: Southern British Columbia, approximately 37 kilometers East of the town of Salmo.

Liked: Mountain views, fairly easy trail, no bugs, two fine cabins nearby, observing a wolf.

Of Note: Some steep sections, some stone-hopping required, hiking poles and boots are highly recommended, steep unbarricaded drop-offs by trail end, noise from Highway 3 for much of the trail, wolf in the area.

Kootenay Rockies BC Backroad Mapbook (7th Edition) Trailhead Coordinates: Page 4 (Stagleap Provincial Park) A6.

Ripple Ridge trail starts at Kootenay Pass, a high elevation mountain pass frequently walloped by huge snowstorms in the winter. But, in early September, it's a fine hiking destination. The trail is fairly short and easy, the views are very fine, and there are two cabins less than a kilometer from the trail, which can be booked for overnight stay, or visited for some time during the daytime hours. We visited the cabins on the way back from the hike, and saw a wolf in the distance for the first time ever. This is how it all went down.

1. We are Eastbound on BC Highway 3, approaching Kootenay Pass, with the town of Salmo about 37 kilometers further ahead. Kootenay Pass is impossible to miss, as there are large brake checks / rest areas on both sides of the highway, a lake on the North side, and highway closure arms (seen in the photo below) immediately before the Pass. To get to Ripple Ridge trail, turn right immediately after the highway closure arm.

2. We have turned right immediately after the highway closure arm. This is the beginning of Monk Creek Forest Service Road. Coordinates: N 4903490 W 11702456. Elevation: 1,747 meters.

3. Ample parking is available at Kootenay Pass, but there is also a parking area for 5-7 vehicles just to the left of Monk Creek FSR once you start driving on it, and before you reach a vehicle-blocking gate 100 meters later. A note requests to avoid parking in this snow study area, but, since there was no snow to study, we parked right here.

4. As mentioned above, 100 meters after turning from Highway 3, there is a gate which prevents further vehicular access.

5. Monk Creek Forest Service Road continues after the gate.

6. After 2.26 km of steady elevation gain, this row of stones signals a split. Coordinates: N 4902803 W 11702345. Elevation: 1,952 meters. Straight ahead is the continuation of the FSR, leading to Lightning Strike and Ripple Ridge cabins in 800 meters. And, to the right, is the continuation (or start, depending on how you count) of Ripple Ridge trail.

7. The view of Ripple Ridge trail immediately after turning right.

8. It's mostly an easy hike, with some moderately challenging stretches.

9. Passing by a stone field at the 2.6 km mark (counting from the gate by Highway 3).

10. Ripple Ridge seen ahead on the left side.

11. The trail opens up closer to the end.

12. The further you hike, the better are the mountain views, especially on the right side.

13. Now with a zoom.

14. Getting closer to the end of the hike.

15. Another fine mountain view, this time on the left side.

16. Very neat.

17. The cairn at the end of the Ripple Ridge trail, 4.6 km after the start. Coordinates: N 4902269 W 11703518. Elevation: 2,174 meters (427 meters elevation gain from the start of the trail).

18-20. Great views await near the cairn. Left to right.

Here is our video of the views from this location.

More videos are on our YouTube Channel.

21. We then returned to the split seen in photo #6, and proceeded further on Monk Creek FSR, towards the cabins located about 800 meters from the split.

22. Make a right turn at the T-junction.

23. Arriving to the cabins / Ripple Ridge recreation site. Coordinates: N 4902465 W 11702017 Elevation: 1,953 meters. Reservations are required to use the cabins overnight. For more information:

24. Lightning Strike cabin is newer of the two.

24. It looks quite neat inside, and even has electric lighting, courtesy of a sun panel.

25. Lightning Strike cabin, looking right.

26. Looking left.

27. Ripple Ridge cabin is substantially older, though still in a very good shape, and also has electric lighting.

28. Inside Ripple Ridge cabin.

29. Looking back. Those tables can be converted into beds.

And, on the way back, for the first time ever, we saw a wolf. We were hiking on Monk Creek FSR towards the split seen in photo #6, and noticed what, at first, we thought was a deer crossing the road about 100 meters ahead - a stocky animal of the same sandy brown colour. However, this animal was much lower than a deer...and with lots of messy fir...a wolf! And a very large one at that. Alas, it took all of three seconds for the wolf to cross the road and disappear into the woods, so we had no chance to take a photo.

Ripple Ridge trail is fairly easy, and leads to several very impressive views, while the two nearby cabins are a cool place to visit. Highly recommended.

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