Distance: 11.5 km
Elevation gain: 775 mView mapDownload GPS track
After turning back the day before due to drizzle and cloud on a day Environment Canada kept insisting was actually sunny, we wanted to do an easy-ish hike close to the city. Turning to my long and continuously expanding wish list of hikes, Nihahi Ridge caught my attention. This is a popular hike that starts at the end of Highway 66 and at just under 12 km in length with 775 m in elevation gain we'd be able to be home by mid-afternoon. An early start would also help us avoid the large crowds that flock this way each weekend.
Directions for the hike are given in the Copeland's "Where Locals Hike in the Canadian Rockies
" guidebook, although the only real route question you could have is how to navigate through the campground as the trail is quite obvious the entire way. (The campground is closed this time of year, so you must park a bit further away than the guidebook suggests). The trail does branch a bit along the ridge, however, so if you do run into difficult terrain just backtrack a short bit and take another option.
The only bit we were concerned about before heading out was a section near the summit where a rocky ledge must be scrambled. Thankfully it turned out to be easier than it appeared in photos and from a distance, but it still did require a bit of confidence and hand use. Ten minutes later, just below the summit, there was another short scramble of similar difficulty. Sandra hung back while I went up onto the ridgecrest to snap some photos, but I didn't quite make it to the actual summit less than 100 m away. It's certainly a scramble along this section and with a cold and gusty wind and a surprising case of vertigo I decided making the true south summit wasn't worth the risk.
The descent back to the car was quick and easy with the only obstacles being the 3-4 dozen people we passed on the way. It's certainly a popular hike on a sunny day!