Cox Hill

March 26, 2021

In my quest for good shoulder season hikes that are protected from the howling west winds, I found Cox Hill. This is quite a popular hike, but I have to admit this was my first time in the Sibbald area. It was all new to me. I enjoyed the challenge of figuring out the highway to get there, and then seeing familiar landmarks, like Moose Mountain, from a completely different angle.

I hiked Cox Hill after a pretty big snowfall. We broke trail the whole way, but it was on a supportive base so the going wasn’t too bad. In the winter, this is a hiking only trail, but in the summer it’s wide open for hikers, mountain biking and horses. With all these users on the trail, be sure to know your passing etiquette, and share the trail.


Hiking boots, poles and regular day pack kit.

In the winter, add in gators and microspikes. Be avalanche aware. The final slope to the ridge is exposed with no trees.


From the trailhead, take the left trail to cross Jumpingpound Creek at the bridge. At the T intersection, turn Right. Stay on the trail until you reach the ridge, which marks Cox Hill NE Summit. To nab the true summit, turn right (southwest) and walk to the end. Return the way you came.

Here is the trail map for the area. The sign above says the trail to Cox Hill is 9.4 km, but the guide (below) shows it at an even 9 km.

Parking and Trail Head

From Highway 68, take the Powderface Trail.

The Powderface Road winds all through the Sibbald / Jumpingpound areas, but is closed in the winter. We parked at the winter gate.

Prior to the winter gate is the Dawson Equestrian Campground. I parked here in the winter. In the summer, double-check that it is okay for non-equestrian vehicles to park here. At the very least, be aware that horse trailers take a lot of room to maneuver and turn around, so don’t take up the whole lot with cars.

The Dawson Equestrian Campground. We were the first to arrive, but there were several cars when we returned. In the summer, be aware this is for horses, so not sure where cars are meant to park.

At the east end of the parking lot is the trailhead.

The trail head is marked by a trail system sign.

Take the trail on the left, which leads to a bridge for humans and bikes. The lower, right hand trail is for horses to cross Jumpingpound Creek.

After a short 50 m or so from the start, the trail splits for humans (left) and horses (right) to get over Jumpingpound Creek.
This looks like a pretty new bridge over Jumpingpound. The horses cross the creek on the right, further upstream.

After a short walk, turn right at the T intersection.

This is the T intersection. Turn Right to hike up Cox Hill. It looks from the map that if you go left, this will take you out to Powderface Trail.

Main Trail

Once on this main trail, follow it to the Cox Hill ridge. Most of the trail is in the trees.

Starting up Cox Hill Ridge. From this point on, the hike is mainly in the trees.

There is a good lookout prior to the turnoff to Shell Hill.

Looking down from the lookout prior to Shell Hill.
A gorgeous winter wonderland. While the day started overcast, the sun quickly burned its way through and we had a gorgeous bluebird day.

When we arrived at the open slope below the ridge, I took stock before heading up. Storm snow is unpredictable, so we took basic precautions. We spread out, so only one person was on the slope at a time. We were also careful to not ‘stack’ the hikers in our group as we went up the switchbacks. We would only stop and wait on the sides, near mature trees.

It’s important to respect snow, especially on open slopes. We hiked one at a time along the open slope, and we were carful to not stack one hiker above the other while on the switchbacks.

Right below the ridge, we took a minute to bundle up. The wind would be howling as soon as we crested the ridge, so it made sense to add layers here in the comfort of the leeward side.

Once on the ridge – wow! The views are spectacular.

This is the 360 degree view from the top of Cox Hill Ridge. The summit is another 1 km along the ridge.

From the Cox Hill Ridge, we turned right (south west), and continued along the ridge for another 1 km to the high point of Cox Hill.

The view looking SW along the ridge to the high point of Cox Hill.

Like all ridges, this is where we found the interesting rock formations. I would have liked to see it with less snow, but oh well.

The official distance to the summit of Cox Hill is 9 km, but we recorded 8.3 km. Elevation gain is 872 m. Time to summit was 3 hours and 45 minutes in deep, fresh snow.

The final walk to the summit of Cox Hill. Wow – what a view! I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s the Bryant Peaks (centre left), with Tiara and Belmore Browne (centre right). Boundary Peak right. If I’m wrong, please help me out. I’d love to get to know this area better. UPDATE: a few months later, I did a traverse of Belmore Browne, to Boundary Peak, and then down via Boundary Ridge. Great day – see here for full trip report.
This is the Cox Hill Money Shot. Not every summit has “the view” but Cox sure does. When I saw Spirko posing here, I just knew I had to have this photo.

The view on the other side is Moose Mountain. I’m so used to seeing Moose from the south side. It’s amazing how small the area between highways 66 and 68 really is.

Moose Mountain from Cox Hill. I’m used to seeing it from Prairie Mountain and other peaks on Highway 66.

Cox Hill Return

The summit of Cox Hill need not be your stopping point. Those with multiple vehicles could keep going and connect with Jumpingpound Ridge trail. There are quite a few trails that interconnect, so you are only limited by your imagination and legs.

For the rest of us mere mortals, we did a There and Back trip, and returned the way we came.

The return trip from Cox Hill. The summer trail might stick closer to the ridgetop.

When you are almost back to the parking lot, remember to turn left at the T intersection. Shortly after turning left, there is another Y for the bridge crossing. Humans go right, and horses go left.

Almost back to the trailhead. Horses go to the left to cross Jumpingpound Creek.

Cox Hill was my first foray into the Sibbald area, but I don’t think it will be my last. An enjoyable shoulder season hike with lovely views of new (to me!) mountains.

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Totals – Tracked on Strava

Date: March 26, 2021
Group:  Three (Alisen, Sonya and Margaret)
Distance:  15.86 km
Elevation:  872 m (2,878β€²)
Time:  6 hours (includes lunch & breaks)

Cox Hill starts at the Powderface Trail road, and heads up the ridgeline to the summit of Cox Hill. It is mostly in the trees, but the views at the top are well worth the trip.
It is a sustained elevation gain from start to finish, but it never felt too steep in any one spot. My knees could handle the descent with no problem.
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Posted in Adventures, Hiking
21 comments on “Cox Hill
  1. Love the photos, especially the Cox Hill Money Shot πŸ™‚

  2. Really beautiful photographs. The views from Cox Hill are amazing!

  3. Josy A says:

    Goodness those really are spectacular views from the top of Cox Hill! You were sooo lucky with the blue bird weather too!

  4. There’s always something so magical about going for a hike after a fresh snowfall. And it’s always fun to explore a new area. The views from the top of the ridge look beautiful. I’m glad to see that this trail has an actual trailhead!!

    • alisendopf says:

      LOL! You are SO funny! I hiked up Grotto Mountain yesterday and was taking photos of the wood pile below the ACC Clubhouse – the allowed parking for that trail – I was thinking of YOU! πŸ™‚

      • Haha, thanks! I do love taking pictures of wood piles! Grotto Mountain sounds familiar so I looked it up on Wikipedia. It’s home to the Rat’s Nest Cave. We went on a cave tour here a few years ago and had a blast. The mountain itself looks pretty spectacular too. Can’t wait to read your post about it.

      • alisendopf says:

        The Rat’s Nest Cave is pretty cool. I’ve done Cody Caves near Nelson. That one is pretty unknown. We had the tour to ourselves, and got to explore to the very end. Highly recommended.

      • I’ll have to visit Cody Caves next time I’m out west. The description for the adventure cave tour on their website sounds like quite there experience. That’s amazing that you had the tour all to yourselves and were able to more fully explore the cave.

  5. GP says:

    Being as my last name is Cox, climbing Cox Hill might be fun!!

  6. Lovely place to hike around. Amazing views to see from the hill.

  7. Mom in the Mtns says:

    This looked like a gorgeous hike!

  8. Hi
    Thank you so much for sharing your great post.

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