⚠️ Hiking and scrambling are inherently dangerous activities. Please read my Disclaimer. ⚠️
After leaving Waterton on the back burner for much of the past decade, I’m finally getting around to visiting more of its wonderful peaks, and Lakeview Ridge is no exception. I’ve always considered Lakeview to be a shoulder season or winter destination, and given our mild winter, I was excited to get out and test that theory. In fact, after hiking Bellevue Hill the day before, Andrew confirmed that there would be no need for snowshoes, crampons, or other winter gear, as Lakeview Ridge was almost completely free of snow. Excellent news!
Moreover, after talking with a Parks Canada employee that same day, Andrew noted that while the Bison Paddock Road is currently closed, the Horseshoe Basin trail is open – you just have to hike the ~1.4 km from the highway to the trailhead. Of note, the Parks employee told Andrew that anyone parking at the entrance to the Bison Paddock Road, needs to ensure that they keep their vehicle on the pavement and off of the grass, otherwise they will receive a ticket.
With that in mind and armed with a couple conflicting forecasts, Andrew and I set off at 6:30 am, hiking for the first hour and a half under headlamp, as we made our way towards Lakeview Ridge. Not knowing if we would experience the -19 c wind chill that the Nugara brothers endured on Bellevue Hill, we decided to make sure that we tagged the actual summit of Lakeview Ridge first, before even considering the slightly lower north summit. To do this, we would follow the south ridge route as outlined in Andrew’s, More Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies; however, there are numerous other trip reports for Lakeview Ridge including excellent ones by Bob Spirko, Vern DeWitt, Matthew Clay, and Hiking With Par – all fantastic resources and people.
Fortunately, the weather improved as the day went on, and not only did we have a pleasant trip to the summit, we were able to complete the entire ridge as a loop – which is just what I had hoped for! 😁 Indeed, I plan to be back to try for Bellevue Hill and perhaps “Rogan Peak”, if the snow conditions remain favourable. Edit: done and done! 😊
Be sure to read Andrew’s trip report! [link coming]
To get to Lakeview Ridge from Lethbridge, drive north from the Waterton Park gate on Highway 6 for ~2 km until you come to the Bison Paddock Road on your left. If it is closed, park off to the side but on the pavement and hike the ~1.4 km to the trailhead. If it isn’t closed, you’re already winning the day, so cheerfully drive and park at the trailhead.
From the trailhead, we followed the Horseshoe Basin trail for ~3 km until we could see the south ridge of Lakeview immediately off to our right. We then left the trail, crossed Galwey Creek, and proceeded to make the steep hike up its east-facing slope. We chose this as opposed to the south-facing slope for two reasons: 1) it was less steep; and 2) it sheltered us from the wind.
From the top of the south ridge (~308 m elevation gain from the creek), it was then an enjoyable ~2.2 km ridge walk (~63 m elevation gain) to the true summit of Lakeview Ridge. Our trip to the north summit involved a ~207 m elevation loss over ~1.4 km, followed by an elevation gain of ~184 m over ~858 m to the summit. In total, it was ~2.26 km from summit to summit.
After leaving the north summit, we then made the easy ~3.3 km hike to the summit of what Andrew calls the southeast or east summit (1777 m) in More Scrambles. After enjoying the views and the admiring the colourful rock, we then descended the south end of the ridge and made our way back to the trail and our vehicles. In total, it was ~5.4 km from the east summit to our cars.
Our total distance travelled was 19 km with total elevation gains of 1129 m. Our total roundtrip time was 6 hours and 20 minutes.
Starting off at the entrance to the Bison Paddock Road. The road is closed to vehicle traffic, but open to hikers. Andrew was told by Parks Canada to make sure we parked on the pavement and not on the grass, otherwise we might receive a ticket.
Making the ~1.4 km hike to the trailhead.
Arriving at the trailhead. We would follow the west branch of Horseshoe Basin trail on approach and the north branch on return.
Andrew checks out the route that he and Mark used the day before on Bellevue Hill.
Not only does he have an e-bike, Andrew now owns e-gloves to heat his hands. How long will it be until he starts using a helicopter? Go, go gadget…. 😂
After gaining elevation along the base of Bellevue Hill, we began the descent to the south ridge (centre) of Lakeview. The summit is on the far right.
Approximately 3 km from the trailhead, we left the trail to cross an open meadow.
Easy travel over hard-packed snow. As it was still frozen, Galwey Creek was also easy to cross.
Andrew begins the steep climb after crossing the creek.
Gazing back towards Bellevue Hill.
The slope is steeper than it looks, but there was nothing difficult. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Welcoming daybreak on a mountain is one of life’s great gifts.
I thought this stump resembled a reclining bear.
Early morning sunlight on Mount Galwey.
On the crest of the south ridge. The summit (right of centre) is an enjoyable ~2.2 km hike from here.
A closer look at the true summit and the slightly lower north summit (right). As Andrew notes, this mountain is deceptive in terms of its length and in the height of the north summit (1917 m) versus the true summit (1945 m). From most angles, the north summit looks to be equal to or higher than the actual summit.
“Morning has broken like the first morning; Blackbird has spoken like the first bird; Praise for the singing! Praise for the morning!; Praise for them, springing fresh from the Word!” – Eleanor Farjeon
Looking across to the north summit (left) and the east summit (centre).
Enjoying the views and the hike.
Good morning Mr. Sun! (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
From the start of the south ridge to the summit, it’s a ~63 m elevation gain over easy terrain. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Gazing back along the ridge.
Getting closer… (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Andrew walks over a hardened cornice beneath the summit.
A pano to the west from the summit (1945 m) of Lakeview Ridge.
A pano to the northwest…
And to the north.
Wide angle gaze to the northeast…
And then to the east.
Finally, a pano to the south.
Ninastako set against an orange sky.
Andrew on the summit.
It took a couple of weeks to find time for a trip, but Lakeview is a good way to kickstart 2021. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Heading to the north summit which sits ~2.2 km away.
It looks closer than it is…
From the true summit to the base of the north summit, it’s a ~207 m elevation loss.
Following the tracks of a previous party.
Weaving around burnt trees. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Arriving at the base of the north summit. It’s definitely steeper than it looks.
Commencing Operation: Slog-To-The-Top. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Glancing back to the true summit.
The north summit (1917 m) of Lakeview Ridge.
A pano to the south. This must be where they decided on Lakeview as the name.
A pano back to the west and the true summit.
To the northwest…
And to the east.
A final wide-angled look to the southeast. In the foreground is the east summit.
A closer look at Sofa Mountain.
The view towards Bellevue Hill and Waterton Lakes.
The sky remains a colourful backdrop for Ninastako.
e-Andrew 😂 on the north summit.
‘Bout time that I made it here. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Beginning the ~3.3 km hike to the east summit.
The north side of the north summit is comprised of interesting rock.
Admiring the abundance of red argillite.
There could be some neat scramble routes up the north side. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
A quick glance back.
So much colour.
A final look at the interesting north side.
It was an easy hike to the east summit from here, though at this point, we were already 12 km into the day. This was also when I began to worry that the lithium batteries in Andrew’s e-gloves were altering his genetic structure, for as the above photo shows, he seemed to have sprouted some large antennae. 😂
Checking out yet another cool rock formation. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
We could have made the trip shorter if we didn’t have to stop and explore every rock formation. Then again, why go hiking if you don’t want to stop and explore? 😊
An extremely odd-looking formation standing amidst some interesting rock. 😂 (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
By this point, the wind had all but disappeared and the temperature rose above freezing.
The eastern portion of the ridge provides an even better view of Waterton Lakes.
The east side is also chock-full of colour.
The impressive section beneath the summit. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
The clouds had lifted enough to see along Upper Waterton Lake.
Pausing to look back at the north summit.
The section beneath the summit.
Andrew stands atop a pinnacle of green argillite.
My vantage from the previous picture. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Andrew makes his way towards me.
A small cairn sits on the east summit (1777 m).
Most of the clouds had lifted from Mount Cleveland (distant left of centre).
A wide angle of the entire Lakeview Ridge loop. From the top of the south ridge to the east summit, it was a ~9.2 km ridge walk.
Enjoying the views. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Looking back to the east summit. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
It would’ve been an easy trip to reach the trail from here; however, we decided to curl back to the north to get a better view of the rock on the east summit.
When the trees from the 2017 Kenow Wildfire begin to rot and fall, off-trail hiking in Waterton is going to be tricky.
Navigating through the regenerating landscape. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
These trees had bleached to a brilliant white.
A better look at the bleached trees. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Andrew checks out some charred roots.
A unique pattern created from peeling bark.
One last look at the east summit.
Easy hiking along the north branch of the Horseshoe Basin trail.
Descending to Galwey Creek.
This log appeared to be the best way to cross the creek. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Taking my chances. 😂 (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
The trail continues on the other side of the creek.
It was a pleasant walk to the trailhead from here.
Arriving at the junction where the trails meet.
Looking back along the north branch of the trail.
Passing alongside some dry tarns.
Arriving at the road. From here, it was an another ~1.4 km to reach our vehicles.
A final look at the entire Lakeview Ridge loop. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)
Arriving back at our vehicles after travelling 19 km over 6 hours and 20 minutes. This was another great hike that was made even better by great company and improving weather conditions throughout the day. Indeed, when we were gearing up at the beginning of the day, my hands froze after only a few minutes of exposure. However, on our way back, there were sections of the trail that ran with snow melt. You gotta love southwestern Alberta! I’ll definitely be back as I plan to keep tagging Waterton peaks with more frequency, though I do intend to be distracted this year by those remote peaks in the south Castle that continue to call my name… 😁