Bellevue Ridge

Bellevue Ridge near Waterton Park Gate, AB


This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars
10 kms
7hours
moderate
Hiking
Spring, Fall, Summer
Waterton Park Gate, AB
User Trevbo
Map Ref: 082H04

Elevation Gain 607 m (2,000 ft).

Moderate scrambling and some route finding are required...

This can be an excellent option during the shoulder season - we did this hike on the Easter weekend of 2004 (April 11). Often the ridge is clear of snow by early spring (either the snow has melted or it has been obliterated by the winds on the South facing slopes of Bellevue Hill). You should be able to assess from a distance whether or not conditions are acceptable for doing this off-trail scramble.

From the barricade, we hiked up next to the creek and heard a curious sound - the thunderous thumping of a male grouse, which according to one of my hiking companions, is some kind of mating ritual by the males to impress the womengrouse. To me, it sounded like less of a thumping noise than a woody, knocking sound.

The Pass Creek trail connects to the road about 500 metres from the base of the ridge. We continued on the road past the rolling prairie fields (full of crocuses) to base of ridge, (pass the front of Bellevue Hill and start scrambling up the back.)

The ridge:

There is no real trail, so try to follow the path of least resistance. There are climbing options up high that can be bypassed with a bit of route-finding. We were able to make it to the peak just after lunch (the peak was marked by a rock cairn). It was pretty much like climbing stairs. There was some scree in places and I kicked up a couple of bowling ball size rocks towards Becky and had to shout "ROCK!" Luckily Becky was moving pretty sprightly today. There were a couple of patches of snow at the top that justified our wearing gaiters.

From the Western side of ridge, we had nice views of Redrock Canyon road - Mt. Blakison, Mt. Galway and even a piece of Akamina ridge, which looked very insurmountable far off in the distance. To the South there was Mount Vimy and further across the lakes loomed Mt. Cleveland (the tallest peak in Glacier Park, Montana). After we traversed to the other side of the ridge we could see down into Horseshoe Basin and a far off gas plant in the distance near Pincher Creek. We passed on the option of dropping into Horseshoe basin to save time and exited by a scree drainage (East of the waterfall) that took us down onto the Buffalo Paddocks prairie. I was so tired I lay on ground on prairie, (ticks be damned).

There were lots of rocky mountain ticks. I found one of those bastards attached to my tummy when I got home (he came out with some coaxing). I took 5 showers that night under scalding hot water to scare off any other unseen settlers.

Notable quotables: "Looks like I found the down escalator!" BC as she RAN down the scree slope/drainage to the prairie.

Wildlife:

Wildflowers:

* Prairie crocus (lots, some white). * Shooting stars (just a few) * Yellow Bells (a few)

* drabdrabs at lunch spot * Yellow violets * Glacier lily (1)

* Wild onions * Little white flowers (Spring beauties?)

Birds:

* Merganser couple in river * Canada goose in Pass Creek water that would not move

* Very large brown bird off prey with long feathery wings (poss. golden eagles, not sure). Pair of Â?em, and a single one that we saw for a fleeting moment very close by.

Fauna:

* Elk herd, 50+ one group, second group had ~ 20 (both groups scared running by irresponsible couple hiking with crazy barking dog not on a leash on the prairie. Keep your dogs on a leash when around wildlife, people!!!)

* Groups of deer * A lone bighorn sheep on ridge, looking very majestic (but looking like a dot in my photo)

* Squirrels on prairie * Black bear just on other side of Pass Creek, 200 m upstream of campground and just below golf course.

Current conditions:

Directions:

Redrock Canyon road is closed from mid November to mid-May, so the nicest option is to follow a path parallel to the road next to Pass Creek (a horseback riding trail) as an alternative to hiking on the road.

During the summer, you should be able to park closer to the base of Bellevue hill at the side of the road on the praire.

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