The Pocaterra Ridge hike is something that Louise and I had talked about doing for years, and last week we finally had a chance to do it. Now that we’ve done it, I’ve come to 3 conclusions:
- The photos don’t do this place justice.
- Pocaterra Ridge is an epic Larch hike (I’m seriously considering doing it again soon to see the larches)
- It’s one of the best hikes I’ve come across in the Rockies. Endless views in every direction.
Here’s what you need to know about it:
The Pocaterra Ridge Hike is somewhere between 9 and 11km. We read varied trip reports and carried various GPS beacons and they all came up with different results. The Garmin GPS I brought along seemed to think that it was no more than 9.6km, but most trip reports point to it being a little longer.
It took us 5 hours 41 minutes from car park to car park and we were definitely taking our sweet time. We could easily have done this in 5 hours, but the expected range is anywhere between 5 and 7 hours.
Actually it’s one of the easier hikes in the area. There’s some quick elevation gain at the start but once you’re on top of the ridge the hike gently undulates. The last km back to the road on the North end is very steep, so we recommend going from south to north. Total elevation gain is 985m.
Unless you’re interested in doing a 20km round trip, it’s advised to bring two cars and dump one at the end of the hike and hike one way. The route starts in a forest and winds slowly to the base of the first incline. The route actually goes downhill at the start, so don’t be put off when you first come across it.
There are many trails in the area including Pocaterra Cirque, Grizzly Ridge and Mount Tyrwhitt. Make sure you choose the right trail if you want to get up onto the ridge. I seriously recommend using a GPS app or device of some sort to keep you on course. Ours saved us from a blunder several times. Shoot me an email if you need the .GPX file.
There really isn’t that much exposure on this hike, there are a couple of fairly narrow and slippery gravel sections, but there are no knife edge ridge walks. Suitable for kids, dogs etc.
When we went:
We did Pocaterra Ridge on Sep 7th; the very first larches were starting to turn and there was no snow to be seen anywhere. This can vary drastically from season to season.
Overall, the hike felt longer than expected, but the endless views and beautiful weather kept our minds occupied and our spirits high. I seriously can’t recommend the Pocaterra Ridge hike enough, especially for Larch season.