Monday, July 14, 2008

Ribbon Falls Hike

I had really been hoping to do quite a bit of hiking this summer, but thanks to inclement weather and a pretty busy schedule it wasn't until yesterday that I made it out for my first foray into the woods. We picked Ribbon Falls out in Kananaskis for our route - approximately a 12 mi route, classified as easy with 375m of elevation gain. The weather was perfect - about 20 deg C with a few clouds in the sky and a nice breeze so it was warm, but not too hot. The first 4 km of the trail is pretty wide and easy to traverse and mountain bikes are permitted up till that point. Afterwards the trail narrows and the terrain varies from hard packed dirt with lots of tree roots to rocky. The entire time you follow Ribbon Creek and pass a series of waterfalls:
The scenery was pretty fantastic along the way. There is a back country campground up here that has some really great views of the creek from a few of the campsites. We even managed to spot some wildlife on the way up:
About 5.5 miles up you finally reach the lookout for Ribbon Falls. It was pretty impressive, and the spray coming of the falls was something else:We stopped here for a snack and a chance to admire the view for a bit. There is an option to continue another 1.2 miles or so up to Ribbon Lake, but here things get a bit more difficult. The trail gets a lot narrower and steeper, and eventually you come out from a wooded area for a bit of scrambling. The route was pretty obvious and pretty secure so it wasn't too tough.
All of a sudden about 6 miles in the trail ends and if you want to continue on to Ribbon Lake you'll have to test your love of heights and your desire to do a bit of rock climbing. The only way to continue on is with the use of some chains. I made it up the first chain ladder (although a little shakily because I really don't care for heights). I was hoping to make it all the way, but the second chain ladder was it for me. My hands were sweaty on the chain and my feet didn't really find any good ledges to grip on so that was it. From there it was time to turn around and head back to the car. Definitely a beautiful hike with some pretty wildflowers along the route. It wasn't too tough, but the distance does require some small level of endurance.
Round Trip: 12.17 mi
Total Elevation Gain: 1884 ft over 6.2 mi
Time to Hike: 5 hr 37 min


teacherwoman said...

Wow! Sounds like a fun time! Great photos!

She Who Makes Waves said...

Ribbon Falls is such a beautiful hike! It's a great one to start the season off with. I've done it a few times but have never ventured up the chains. Brave you for even trying!

Did you notice the big bulletin board at the head of another trail called Hidden Trail, from the same parking lot? A few years back on an August long weekend, just 30 minutes into that trail, a large grizzly crashed out of the bushes right in front of us! We screamed, we ran and we lived to tell about it! The only injury, I ended up loosing a few toe nails because they were banging against the toe of my boots as we ran so fast out to the parking lot.

...and I still go hiking there!

Danielle said... gorgoues!!

Tea said...

I love the pictures. I'm an avid hiker and haven't been up once this year!

I'm gonna go pack my back pack now!

Holly said...

It is so beautiful up there! With all the running you're doing, you would be able to outrun the tourists if you saw a bear, anyway ;)

Frayed Laces said...

ooh. Way prettier than my latest trail adventure. I don't miss the squirrels, though. Hawaii doesn't have squirrels. Just mongoose (mongooses? mongeese? you can never get a straight answer on that)

Sonia said...

sounds like a lot of fun!! Very cool pictures =)

Speed Racer said...

Yikes! That chain ladder gives me a panic attack just looking at the picture! You are a brave, brave soul. I would have cried.

It's sooooo purdy up there!

kimbolimbo said...

I just finished going up the chains to Ribbon Lake. We are avid hikers and this hike was very beautiful. However, I would NEVER do the chains again I don't know what we were thinking. If you slip you die. Without a safety line I think your a fool to attempt this.
My life life flashed before my eyes when my hands slipped, I held on for dear life & a angel held me up there I sware. The risk isn't worth it folks.