Name: Pocaterra Ridge
Date: September 16, 2018
Location: Kananaskis Country (Highwood Pass)
Distance: ~ 11 km (Point to Point)
Elevation Gain: ~750 m
Camera: Cellphone Samsung S5
On September 16, 2018, I got to hike Pocaterra Ridge with a women’s hiking group. I knew a few of the girls and there were a lot of people I got to meet for the first time. I want to redo this ridge in summer and add it to my 52 in 52 challenge. Hopefully it won’t be snowy.
This hike is a point to point hike. So you will need at least 2 cars unless you fancy walking the 10+ km back to the starting point (or hitch hiking) along the highway. With some cars parked at the north Little Highwood Pass Day Use area we started the hike at the south end Highwood Pass Day Use area. This is the recommended route.
We set out pretty early to leave ourselves enough time to get the hike done in a reasonable amount of time. This hike was all about the larches. It was pretty cool seeing them in all their golden glory.
The trailhead can be tricky to find. I recommend pulling up your favourite hiking app map in advance due to a lack of cellphone signal out in the Highwood Pass area.
The beginning of the hike (from the south end) may require some route finding. If you go the wrong way you could end up hiking the Grizzly Col Route to the famous “Arch” (another bucket list hike for me) or right up to Mount Pocaterra (also a bucklet list hike). Stick to the Pocaterra Cirque then and take a right onto the Pocaterra Ridge Trail.
The first hill to the true summit of Pocaterra Ridge is a real grind but at summit you’ll be rewarded with some incredible views. After this first big hill the rest of the ridge undulates and you lose then gain elevation over the remainder of hills. Eventually you reach the end of the ridge and it’s a long sometimes steep drop down into the forest while you lose most of the elevation. At the bottom you will reach the stream where it will be good to stop and re-orient yourself to avoid getting too far from the parking lot.
This hike has exposure and a few “interesting” spots to keep things exciting. A slip in some spots would be very bad. Even on a summer day I would recommend bringing microspikes. It can easily snow all year in the Highwood Pass area.
This is not a hike for beginners and I’d recommend being very prepared and knowing the limits of you body before attempting this ridge.
Happy Hiking 🙂