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Wildhorse Ridge

Summit Elevation (m): 2225
Elevation Gain (m): 750
Round Trip Time (hr): 9.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 19
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2/3 – you fall, you sprain or break something
Difficulty Notes: Some easy scrambling if you take the ridge the whole way. Hiking if you take the drainage.
GPS Track DownloadDownload GPX File
Technical Rating: SC5; YDS (Hiking)
MapGoogle Maps


I’ve been a bit obsessed with the Ya Ha Tinda region this year. I’m not sure exactly why, but I’ve been there 4 or 5 times since my first trip in November 2014 up Evangeline Peak / Rum Ridge with Steven and Ben. While hiking Labyrinth Mountain and Mount Minos with Wietse in April, we looked across the Ya Ha Tinda road at a lovely ridge, rising directly over the road with no bushwhacking and no approach and wondered how easy this would be. I remembered looking at the lower slopes every time I drove into the area, wondering the same thing. A friend of ours, Dave Salahub decided to try it out and reported back that it was easy and pleasant. I needed no more prompting and decided that this would be the perfect trip to introduce my family to the Ya Ha Tinda hiking experience.

Wildhorse Ridge Route Map

Saturday, June 6th was chosen as the day of our hike and it dawned bright and clear. The long drive was interesting thanks to the new sets of eyes and a beautiful mamma grizzly with three adorable cubs that we got to watch along the approach road as they grazed dandelions in the ditch. The cubs were bouncing around and amusing themselves with every little thing they could find while the large mother grizzly kept a sharp eye on me. Thankfully they weren’t close to our trailhead, although my son was asking if there would be other bears on our hike.

Mamma Grizzly and her three cubs.

Parking was obvious. There’s two major drainages coming off Wildhorse Ridge. You want to park under the first one and hike up the ridge to climber’s left of it. This is what we did. Thanks to a burn years ago, the slopes are mostly grass and rocks here. We had to deal with some fallen, burnt timber but nothing much. As we worked our way higher, we had a choice to make. Dave chose to traverse climber’s right, into the drainage above any difficulties down low and before the top of the first ridge. This loses about 80 meters of height gain and results in some pretty loose scree bashing to the col. We chose to try sticking to the ridge instead.

The gully has some waterfalls blocking the way up it on the lower half – but the ridge is nicer anyway.
Interesting burn area – this was a controlled burn by Parks Canada years ago.
Niko and Seppi traversing to the col – Wildhorse looming above. We have to get past the gendarmes which will be the crux. You can see the top of the excellent scree run down on the right – would be very loose coming up that way!

After gaining a small bump, we had to traverse some gendarmes to the col before the summit slopes. This is what Dave was avoiding with his bypass route. This is where the only scrambling is on Wildhorse. It’s mostly easy, but some members of our party were less comfortable on the grippy slabs than others. Eventually we all made it to the col. We traversed climber’s left around the gendarmes. The final grunt to the summit was easier than it looked, but definitely scrambling rather than hiking. Again, for folks not used to steep, loose scree this is a challenge. Again, we all made it to the summit.

Looking over the foothills from the edge of the Rockies. Maze Peak on the L and Wildhorse Ridge descending to the R. I think you could come up that way too for a much longer outing.
Great views off the summit over Labyrinth Peak and the Ya Ha Tinda ranch area.

I highly recommend Wildhorse Ridge as a short, pleasant and easy scramble with great views and virtually no bushwhacking or approach.

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