Added by Sarah Seads
You will see spring wildflowers, panoramic views and Alpine lakes. Don't forget your camera for the gorgeous fall colors,
With a name like Flower Ridge, who wouldn't want to add this hike to their bucket list?
The Flower Ridge trailhead is located approximately 26kms down the Buttle Lake Parkway, towards Westmin Mine, in Strathcona Provincial Park. A classic Island alpine approach, you will be more than warmed up after the first few minutes. It is straight up through calf searing vertical terrain, but the views will distract you from the burn. Steep out of the gates, the trail gains 1200m in 5kms to reach the ridge. On the way up, the trail is sheltered in an ancient, peaceful forest, with giant trees and a green shag carpet.
After 2-4 hours of hiking, you will reach the north ridge and be rewarded with a 180 degree view of the mountains across Buttle Lake. The Lake provides a great reference to show you just how high you have come in a very short time. You may choose to enjoy lunch on the north ridge, if this is your turn around spot, or trek onward if you are up for a longer adventure.
A short climb after the view point the trail leads to a small alpine lake with a few flat tent sites. This is a great spot to set up camp if you want to avoid carrying your gear one step further, although there are additional spots higher on the ridge. Always use pre-cleared areas to set up your tent and keep your impact as light as possible in fragile sub and alpine eco-systems.
Just beyond the lake, the trail reaches the first meadow and reveals it's namesake. If you get the timing right, you will be a guest to one of the best alpine spring flower show's on Vancouver Island. Endless carpets of hot pink alpine heather lay down for miles on the ridge. Cue 'The Sound of Music', and dance your way up a winding ribbon of endless single track as far as the eye can see. Every meadow that you reach provides an even better show and the photography opportunities can't be beat.
But Flower Ridge is beautiful in it's own right, with or without the flowers. Alpine lakes, flora and fauna and 10kms of single track on a very friendly grade make the ridge walk a pleasant day hike or a friendly overnight adventure. The views are fantastic from the height of the ridge, with 360 degree panoramas on a clear day. Although the ridge is nice and wide and the trail does not come right to the edge, be sure to watch your step and travel with a GPS in case of fog/weather. The ridge drops straight down into oblivion on the eastern side.
The trail continues on to the south peak, 16kms from the trail head. From this point, there are multiple mountain routes, loops and traverses that can be travelled for those with advanced back country skills and time on their hands.
Whether you have one day or three, Flower Ridge is an awesome spot to spend some quality mountain time.
Distance: 16kms each way/32 kms total with many shorter turn around options (20miles)
Elevation gain: 1650m (5445 ft)
More Information: Beyond Nootka – A Historical Perspective of Vancouver Island Mountains, Lindsay Elms, Misthorn Press, 1996, ISBN 0-919537-29-4
For route information further into the backcountry, refer to Island Alpine – A Guide to The Mountains of Strathcona Park and Vancouver Island, Philip Stone, Wild Isle Publications, 2003, ISBN 0-9680766-5-3 Backroad Mapbook. Volume III: Vancouver Island
Summer Pack List:
- Single day fast packing gear. Or multi-day overnight gear
- Satellite communication device- Delorme inReach
- Food and water for your time planned (and a bit more!) on the trail
- Map and compass
- First Aid/Emergency kit
- Don't forget your camera!
- There is no cell coverage in this area of Strathcona Park
- Fires are not permitted within Strathcona Provincial Park any time of the year and dogs must be leashed at all times
- Giardia is well documented in Strathcona Park- always treat water for drinking
- As always, practice the 7 Leave No Trace Principles on your back country adventures in this fragile environment
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
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