Distance: 11 km
Elevation gain: 975 m View map Download GPS track
In planning our trip to the David Thompson corridor I realized that there were five peaks and ridges I wanted to hike up, and having already reached the summit of 195 peaks, the fifth one would be my 200th, a milestone I thought was impossible just a few years ago. I wasn’t going to do anything out of the ordinary for it, but I figured I’d might as well do the best peak last. In this case I defined “best” as the most awesomely and appropriately named, and thus for our last hike of this trip, and my 200th overall summit, we decided to hike up Tuff Puff Ridge.
Tuff Puff is the unofficial name given to the ridge south of Two O’Clock Ridge and north of Kinglet Lake. We parked in a small gravel pullout next to an unnamed creek 3.5 km west of Two O’Clock Creek campground, and after a bit of unnecessary searching, found the obvious trail on the north side of the creek.
We followed the trail for a short distance over easy terrain before we encountered a fork in the trail I didn’t expect. The right branch ascended a steep grassy slope while the left branch continued over relatively flat terrain. We went right and grunted up the steep slope in the morning heat and soon connected back up with the other trail. On the way back down we took the other trail and both work just fine for ascent or descent.
After the initial steep climb the ascent relented and we found ourselves hiking on obvious trail through meadows of wildflowers and occasional open forest. The scenery was as stunning as the heat was intense! At a high point in one of the first meadows the trail forked again, this time much less obviously in the grass, with left heading to Kinglet Lake and right heading to Tuff Puff. Rocks in the ground spell out “Tuff” and “King” on the respective trails, but the words are tough to make out if you’re moving fast.
As the forest thinned near the summit the ascent steepened again and I slowed down considerably as the previous four consecutive days of hiking and the heat continued to take their toll. Still, we made pretty good time and reached the summit after 2.5 hours of hiking. The views were spectacular to the west, but marred again by haze to the east.
I’d originally planned to continue further and higher along the ridge, then descend off-trail to Kinglet Lake, but after an early lunch I decided the heat was just too much and that I’d rather head back the way we came. It would be quicker that way, there were a ton of wildflowers I’d seen on the way up that I wanted to photograph, and I had a book I wanted to finish waiting for me at the trailer.