Porcupine Ridge

May 15, 2022

I was surprised how much I enjoyed Porcupine Ridge. I wasn’t too interested in it, because I thought it was going to be like Wasootch Ridge – endless up and down with not much fun. I was wrong! Right off the bat, there is fun. We had three water crossings at the beginning, and then boom! Hands on rock just to start the hike. Loved it!

Once on the ridge, there were several opportunities to do a bit of easy scrambling. Not interested in that? No problem! Simply walk around to the right.

There are three major ‘stops’ along the way. A mini summit with a monument to a fallen friend. A false summit with fantastic views. Finally, the actual summit with the cairn. Want to go further? You definitely can, but it’s sketch to get over to the tower.

Gear

Hiking boots, poles and regular day pack kit. If going in the winter, add in gaiters and microspikes.

Overview

Start from your choice of trail heads (below). From Porcupine Creek, start hiking up the bottom edge of Porcupine Ridge. It is fairly steep in spots. Once on the rocky ridge, either hike up, avoiding the rock outcrops, or choose to do some easy scrambling on the ridges. At the false summit, return the same way back to the trail head, or backtrack down from the false summit, and go around to the east of the false summit block. From there, follow final ridge to summit. Return the same way.

Parking and Trail Head

We had a choice of parking spots. Option A: Park on the south side of Highway 40, just to the east of Porcupine Creek. Follow creek up to the bridge, then follow my trip report from there.

Option B: I chose to park at the Wasootch day use area for two reasons. 1. I prefer to have access to an outhouse. 2. I like a bit of an approach as a warm up/cool down.

From the Wasootch parking lot, head east into forest, and not south to follow Wasootch Creek. Immediately past the picnic table are two trails. The LEFT one goes to Porcupine Ridge. The RIGHT one goes up Wasootch Ridge. Go LEFT.

Immediately past the picnic table at Wasootch Day Use area, take the left (P) route to Porcupine Ridge. The Right (W) is for Wasootch Ridge.

Follow the well defined trail for 1.9 KM, as it winds around the base of Wasootch Ridge, and connects with Porcupine Creek.

At the bridge, go right before crossing the bridge. On the hike in, we crossed the bridge, and continued up the left bank, only to have to cross the creek. On the way back, we discovered a trail on the right side of the creek that avoided this extra creek crossing.

Just shy of 2 km, we came to a bridge. On the way in, we crossed over the bridge, but soon found we had to cross back over to the right (south) side of the creek. On the way back, we realized we could stay on this side (south).
NOTE: There is a trail directly across from the bridge, but this is an alternate route up Midday Peak. Continue up the creek bed for Porcupine Ridge.
Instead of crossing the bridge, go down onto the right side of Porcupine Creek, and follow the trail.

There were three creek crossings. Be aware during the spring melt that water levels will rise quite a bit during the day. The creek will be its lowest in the morning. By late afternoon, rocks that were dry and above water can now be submerged.

Alisen crossing the logs.
Erin crossing the first rock crossing.
Final creek crossing.

After the third creek crossing, I looked up and saw Porcupine Ridge rising out of the creek valley.

Finally! Porcupine Ridge is before us.

Immediately, we had fun. It’s ‘hands holding onto rocks’ steep here. While the trail backed off from its opening salvo, it continued to be a tonne of fun.

This is the base of Porcupine Ridge. While there is flagging on the right, I preferred the approach straight ahead.
The opening salvo is definitely steep enough to put a hand down.

Main Trail

Once on the main trail, it is beaten in enough to be easy to follow. The elevation gain is fairly consistent, with a few steep bits thrown in just in case you weren’t breathing hard enough.

For the most part, the trail is beaten in fairly well and easy to follow.
Every now and again, Porcupine likes to thrown in some steep bits, just to keep us on our toes.

There were two navigation spots to point out. The first was on a ridge. It looks like we would hike straight ahead, but the trail takes a hard left into the woods. The second was shortly thereafter in the woods. There is a Y junction. Go right. The left is blocked.

As we approached this ridge, it looked like we should go straight ahead. The trail goes left to where Erin is standing.
In the woods, there is a Y junction. Neither trail is particularly strong, but the left one is blocked. This spot is marked on my Gaia tracks (accessible at end of report).

Once the rocky ridge comes into view, the fun really begins. Here we had the option of doing some easy scrambling up the rocks, or there is a by-pass on the right. The first section of scrambly bits ends in a memorial to Corey Beaver.

The trees give way to a rocky ridge.
The start of the scrambly sections. It’s possible to by-pass all hands on rocks sections by going around the side. It’s usually on the right, but keep an eye on the trail and which way it goes.
Alisen working her way up the first rocky section.
The view down Porcupine Ridge is simply stunning.
The top of the first scrambly section ends with a memorial to golfer Corey Beaver. There is a hiking trail on the right that accesses this spot if you care to visit.

There are several areas to go up the rocks, always with a hiking option around the base.

There were several ways up and around this rock. We went up this way, but came down a different route.
Once on top again, we had a view to the false summit.

False Summit

From here, the trail descends down and enters the trees again. Once we left the trees, we found a short ridge of pretty cool looking pinnacles. We hiked up among them to the false summit, and took in some spectacular views.

Once we entered the forest, we found some flagging to keep us on track. The trail faded in and out with the little bit of snow that was left. I imagine in summer the trail is pretty obvious.
This is the ridge approach to the False Summit, past these interesting pinnacles. To access the true Summit, we had to descend almost back to this spot, and then traverse across the snow on the left side, under the pinnacles.
From the false summit, we got a great view to the true summit, which was just one more ridge hop away.
This is such a cool feature on Porcupine Ridge. I thought it was the Tower, but that is further ahead, past the true summit.
This video shows the views from the false summit, and the true summit of Porcupine Ridge.

Porcupine Summit

Once we got our fill of the views from the false summit, we retreated back to the base of the pinnacles. I traversed to the east side of the false summit block, and punched through two lingering snow slopes. On the way up, the snow was frozen, but it was already turning isothermal on my way back.

The trail entered a forest once again, but it was obvious that not as many people continue past the false summit. The trail was easy enough to follow, but definitely not the beaten in path from lower down.

We kept to the rocky ridge on the left, only because that was prettier, and we found the summit cairn on the top. We choose to continue past the summit cairn to get a look at the narrow ridge that connects to Porcupine Tower.

Alisen working her way across one of two lingering snow slopes. The false summit pinnacles are above, on the right. People on the false summit were calling down to us, asking where we were going.
Entering the final forest to the true summit. We went up using the trail on the left, but found the trail on the right (with Erin) was stronger and easier to follow.
We hiked along the rocks on the ridge, and saw the summit cairn come into view.
We hiked down to view the knife-edge ridge that extends to the Porcupine Tower, and then to the Crown.

Distance to summit from Wasootch day use area is 6.5 km. Elevation gain was 770 m. Time to summit was 3 hours, 15 minutes (includes side trip to false summit).

Views from the summit include Midnight Peak (left) and Midday Peak. Mount Baldy is to the left of Midnight Peak.
Midday Peak is on the left, with Boundary Ridge (centre) and Boundary Peak on the right. I did a super fun traverse from Belmore Browne to Boundary Ridge last year.

Porcupine Ridge Return

The way back gave us some amazing views. Every way we turned, there were impressive mountains to view and admire. I am glad we got an early start. While we had the trail and summits to ourselves on the way up, by the time we turned around, the trail was getting quite busy. There was now a steady stream of people working their way up.

From the summit, we looked back towards the false summit and the interesting rock formation.
By the time we got back to the false summit, it was now plenty busy. I’m glad Erin and I forced ourselves to get up early on a Sunday to have some quiet time on this gorgeous ridge.
Just past the false summit, on the way back, we took some time to admire the fun rock formations. Oh, to be a geologist. I’m thinking these pinnacles are what gives Porcupine Ridge its name???

When we got back down to the Porcupine Creek crossings, the climbing community was in full swing. We stopped to watch a few people climb up the walls. After the bridge, I will admit that the almost 2 km back to the car was a bit of a drag, however it was a nice cool down for my muscles and knees. I wasn’t sore the next days, despite this being an early season hike.

Thanks for reading! Please do me a huge favour and click the Star button to “Like” it. You can also follow my blog, join my FaceBook page Al’s Adventurers, or follow me on Instagram

Alisen

Totals – Tracked on Gaia, Displayed on Strava

Date: May 15, 2022
Group:  Two (Alisen and Erin)
Distance:  11.5  km
Elevation:  770 m (2,541′)
Time:  6 hours even (includes lunch and breaks)

Porcupine Ridge is a fun undulating ridge with rocky outcrops ideal for short and easy scrambling. There is a false summit (series of photos) and a true summit.
This elevation profile is pretty accurate. The ridge really is up, and then up some more. This is why I wanted to park at the Wasootch day use area, to warm up my legs a bit before having to go straight up. Youngins will be happy to go straight up though 🙂

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Posted in Adventures, Hiking
14 comments on “Porcupine Ridge
  1. moragnoffke says:

    I love the way you write up your experiences and tell the story of your latest adventures. You make it so appealing, like I want to join in the fun! Always love reading your posts. 💕

  2. doubledacres says:

    Great pics and information. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I loved this one … despite slipping and falling on the logs which meant I started off with wet feet. But I did it on a hot day last summer so my feet were dry by the time we reached the summit 🙂 Great photos!

    • alisendopf says:

      You know what? You are NOT the only one. My hiking buddy that day Erin ALSO slipped on those EXACT SAME LOGS!!! I guess I should have put that into my trip report. Thank you so much for pointing that it. It’s a real danger, especially when the creek is high.

  4. Diana says:

    Wow, stunning views is right!

  5. dolphinwrite says:

    Nice. You could write the brochures.

  6. Priti says:

    Beautiful place for adventure! Wonderful photos ! Thanks for sharing your excellent experience.👍🌹🙂

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