Stagleap Provincial Park is renowned for backcountry skiing, but there is also a summer trail that rises along Ripple Ridge. Ridgeline hiking is always a good choice, and this trail doesn’t disappoint with panoramic views of the mountains around Kootenay Pass. Lightning Strike and Ripple Ridge are used interchangeably to refer to this ridgeline which is confusing. The proper Ripple Mountain looms far in the distance and isn’t connected at all to the ridge.
Trailhead & Driving Directions
Drive up Highway 3 to the top of Kootenay Pass, between Salmo and Creston. Park beside Bridal Lake at the summit. Once you’ve parked beside Bridal Lake, you must (carefully) cross the highway and begin following the old gravel road leading south.
Follow the road, hiking around a yellow gate and concrete blocks. This road switchbacks for 2.3km through the forest, and levels out as it crosses the ridge with another set of concrete blocks. To the right (West), the signed Lightning Strike/Ripple Ridge trail takes off.
Walking Ripple Ridge
The trail lifts you out of the forest and onto an alpine ridge, smothered in dry meadow and pale bedrock. The views open up to low mountains on all sides.
Cornice Ridge becomes visible to the North with the highway winding far below. A big feature of this ridge is the number of “tree sculptures” – artfully scattered like an open air museum, backgrounded by the big, blue, beyond.
After about 4.7km, Lightning Strike ridge comes to an end and the trail fizzles out above large bluffs. This is a great spot for a break and a nice turnaround point on a moderate hike. Experienced hikers may chose to route-find and scramble to the Monk Peaks beyond.