May 162017
 
View from Deer Ridge

A hill, not terribly tall but still well worth visiting, welcome to Deer Ridge, Sibbald Area Kananaskis, home to a nice little loop hike that’s both easy and scenic. This short route travels through varied terrain. There’s dark brooding spruce woods with carpets of moss, less dense stands of pine, rocky viewpoints, and valleys bottoms of grass with bogs and ponds, flanked by aspen groves. It’s a nice mix. An old native site adds to the interest.

Park at the Sibbald Lake day use area off Highway #68. Backtrack down the road and hit a large meadow taking the trail heading off to the west paralleling a little stream. Soon on come to a junction – take the track to the left and cross a small footbridge.

Deer Ridge, an easy loop hike taking in a small hill in Kananaskis. A Chris and Connie Adventure!

Take a quick side diversion to the “Sundance Lodge” not far to your left. It’s made of boughs and branches and decorated with colourful banners. Used in First Nation’s ceremonies (in celebration of creation), it dates from the 1980s and has been left to decay naturally.

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Back on the trail, take in Moose Pond to your right. We saw lots of tracks from its namesake animal in the mudflats here. Plunge into the deep dark woods, where things get a bit mucky. Gaining elevation come to a junction, a horse trail coming in from the south. Turn right and start climbing more steadily. Zig and zag occasionally, always in the trees. The views will come later.

At the top of a hump, the forest parting briefly, the east summit of Deer Ridge comes into view. It was partly obscured on our visit…we had to come when it was cloudy! In a few minutes, at a horse hitching post, come to spur trail that takes to one to the top. It’s a short huff and puff to a rocky summit of sorts overlooking Sibbald Creek. We could almost see it down there! Damn weather…

On our last visit there used to be a “Weaver Mountain” sign (an alternate name for the ridge) tacked to an old dead tree up here. Both it seems are now gone.

Normally one has nice views from this “lofty” summit, albeit mostly to the south. Look for fire lookout-topped Moose Mountain and in front the treed mass of Cox Hill. Missed them this day – all we saw was swirling snow and fog and mist and little else. Just off to the west, the main summit of Deer Ridge can be seen. It’s a wee bit taller than the bump you’re presently on, but is more densely forested, so there’s not much to see from it.

Back on the trail, go up and over the true summit, come to a cut line – leftovers from oil and gas exploration from decades ago – and turn right. We hit some deep snow here. And ice! Drop down, sometimes at a sharp angle – these cut lines are almost always arrow straight and follow the lay of the land, no matter how difficult or steep. In short order hit the valley bottom. The snow stopped falling here and turned to a fine mist.

The return trip takes in a section of the Eagle Hill Trail (see: Return to Eagle Hill. Trend west to circle around a bog before hitting a junction. Turn east (right). The trail here flanks the bottom of a small hill, the swampy area to the right part of the same Moose Pond seen earlier. Look south and see the backside of Deer Ridge. It’s all trees from this angle.

Come to another junction. Right will get you home, but we choose to go left. This alternate trail goes up and the butt of a small hill. Comprised of cut lines and old exploration roads, it soon dips down to Sibbald Lake, or rather very near it. Go down the to the shore to watch the birds or perhaps anglers. The water level seemed oddly low this visit.

Towering over this. ahem, “huge” expanse of water (calling it a pond seems more fitting) is Ole Buck Mountain. We were up it earlier this year, encountering the same view-ruining weather we had this day. Oh well, a hill’s a hill, and well worth the hike even when mother nature doesn’t cooperate.

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There’s nothing stopping you from doing the route described in a counter-clockwise direction. Mix it up!

Randomness…

When we started this website (as we say… it’s NOT A BLOG – haha) some four years ago…wow how times flies… it was far more hiking-centric (is that even a word?) than now. Today, other things get in the way – our trademark hardcore history projects for example – and we don’t get out to the hills as often as we like. Still we love sharing these adventures with you, even if they’re now overshadowed by other things we do.

Fine hikes in the foothills…
Indian Grave Ridge – Willow Creek Hills.
Hell’s Ridge.
Missinglink Mountain.

If you wish more information about this trail, by all means contact us!

Date of adventure: May, 2017.
Location: Sibbald Area, Kananaskis, AB.
Distance: 7km loop.
Height gain maximum: 260m-ish.
Height gain cumulative: 340m-ish.
NOTE: all distances and heights are approximate.
Reference: Kananaskis Trail Guide by Gillean Daffern.

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Deer Ridge Trail

Starting out for Deer Ridge in back.

Sundance Lodge Kananaskis

Passing the “Sundance” Lodge.

Moose Pond Kananaskis

Moose Pond in the mist.

Deer Ridge Hike

Down low, Spruce and muck.

Fungus on Tree

Obligatory fungus on tree shot!

Deer Ridge Hiking Trail

Gaining elevation in the Pines.

Hiking Deer Ridge

A pleasant stroll through the woods.

Kananaskis Deer Ridge

The east summit comes into view.

Hiking Trail Deer Ridge

More snow as we gain elevation.

Summit Deer Ridge

True summit in back.

View from Deer Ridge

Looking down – little to see account the bad conditions.

East Summit Deer Ridge

Even with the views spoiled, it’s still a wonderful place.

Summit Deer Ridge

From the highest point – it’s mostly treed.

Deer Ridge Hike Loop

Dropping down a cut line – it’s much steeper than it looks.

Lost Glove

Lost something?

Deer Ridge - Eagle Hill

Hitting the valley bottom.

Deer Ridge Sibbald

The backside of Deer Ridge.

Eagle Hill Trail

On the “Eagle Hill” Trail.

Hiking Sibbald Area

The going is easy.

Macro Water Drop

Macro shot – now back to the hike…

Sibbald Lake Hike

The final couple hundred metres.

Sibbald Lake Kananaskis

Geese enjoying a swim on Sibbald Lake.

Deer Ridge Route

The route…

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8 Comments on "Deer Ridge"

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T Warkentin
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T Warkentin

Looks like a great family friendly trek. Might have to introduce the parents to this one. Thanks for sharing!

Jenn
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Looks like a nice hike!

Paul Schneider
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Paul Schneider

Fabulous…love this hike.

Linda D
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Linda D

Thank you for all your excellent write ups. We probably wouldn’t consider some of these fine destinations without your inspiring words. So we settled on doing this trail yesterday- less driving to and traffic to consider, official trail (less overgrown and chance of picking up ticks on our dogs) and no snow or post holing (too hard on sensitive old knees!). Fabulous views and blue skies.

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