Distance: 15.5 km
Elevation gain: 780 m View map Download GPS track
With most of my original spring hike ideas still buried under a foot or two of snow, and snow falling with high winds over all the snowshoeing objectives I haven’t yet done, Sandra and I were reduced to repeating a hike for the second week in a row. Our best choice today was Barrier Lake Lookout (Yates Mountain), an active fire lookout above Barrier Lake. It’s a pretty short hike on a well-travelled trail, so to extend our day a bit we decided to return via Jewel Pass.
We arrived in the near-empty parking lot around 7:30 and started hiking quickly along the windblown road running alongside the lake. A wall of cloud and flurries was visible to the south and west and the wind was moderately strong by the lake, but the sun was shining and once we were in the forest it was quite warm.
The trail was packed solid and icy, but we had no traction issues with our microspikes. At a good pace we reached the lookout in 1 hour 45 minutes, and after snapping some photos in the sunshine and surprisingly light wind, we made our way back down. At the Prairie View Lookout site we turned onto the well-packed trail heading to Jewel Pass, ate lunch in a dry and sunny spot below the pass, then continued down to Barrier Lake.
When we reached the lake we were able to see that the wall of cloud and flurries was moving in over Barrier Lake, as predicted, and as we made our way out along the slushy and muddy trail the storm slowly enveloped us. It wasn’t that bad, but it certainly justified why I get up so early. Most of our hike had been under warm and sunny skies, and the hordes starting out as we made our way back to the parking lot certainly weren’t going to have the same pleasant experience we’d enjoyed.
Despite this being another repeat hike, it was still nice to get out. I’m getting a bit antsy for summer though!