Abbott Ridge - Glacier National Park - Hiking BC

 

Abbott Ridge offers amazing glacier views in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

The Abbott Ridge hike from Glacier House Monument is about 12 KM (7½ miles) return, using both trail options, with elevation gain of 1,040 m (3,412 ft) to a maximum elevation near 2,290 m (7,513 ft).  Abbott Ridge is a strenuous hike through a wide variety of terrain culminating in spectacular, sweeping views of many principal features in Glacier National ParkBritish Columbia, Canada.  This hike continues a half kilometer past the 2.5 KM (1⅝ mile) hike to Marion Lake on steep trail to a junction.  Straight ahead, (left branch), is the longer, less steep alternative and to the right is the rugged, shorter, steeper trail through forest and large boulders.  The hike right on the shorter, steeper trail is chosen with a plan for descent on the longer, more scenic trail.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The Abbott Ridge trail junction above Marion Lake in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The shorter, steeper trail between Marion Lake and the Abbott Observatory navigates through forest and boulders in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Spectacular views of surrounding mountains unfold as the steep trail through rock rises above treeline into lush alpine meadows beneath Abbott Ridge near Abbott Observatory in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Mercifully, the steep climb through rocky terrain is short and 1.5 KM (1 mile) later, trail breaks the treeline into an exquisite meadow with clearly defined trail which meanders and switchbacks to successive tiers beneath the face of Abbott Ridge directly ahead.  On the approach to the ridge, the first glimpse of Abbott Observatory reveals itself on the hilltop to the right.  The white tower contains weather monitoring gear and the shed is an emergency shelter for personnel who visit regularly throughout the winter.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Abbott Ridge appears directly in front of the switchbacks leading past the Abbott Observatory to the face of the ridge in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The Abbott Ridge trail veers to the right to climb along the side of Abbott Ridge above Abbott Observatory in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada First view of Abbott Observatory on the trail towards Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

From past experience, the hike to the top of Abbott Ridge is not as bad as it looks.  The trail ramping up the face is evenly graded, consistent and remarkably scenic. Soon the view looks down on Abbott Observatory and Marion Lake below.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

The view north from the trail up the side of Abbott Ridge reveals the roof of Closed Glacier Park Lodge with Mount Tupper and the Swiss Glacier on the Hermit Range in Glacier National Park, BC.   Avalanche Mountain is at photo right.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The trail up the face of Abbott Ridge is even and the views expand exponentially as altitude is gained in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

From the trail along the face of Abbott Ridge the view looks down on Abbott Observatory.  Marion Lake is below and the highway interchange in the bottom of the valley is the left turn from the TransCanada Highway into Illecillewaet Campground within Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The view across Abbott Observatory towards Mount Sir Donald hosting the Vaux (pronounced Vox) Glacier with Uto Peak on photo left and the Illecillewaet Névé on photo right in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada

 

The Abbott Ridge Trail curls around the end of the ridge on good trail, as more of The Rampart 2,576 m (8,451 ft.) and Mount Bonney 3107 m (10,194 ft.) expand into view.  Soon, the magnificent Bonney Glacier creates a profound visual presence on the opposite side of the valley.

 


Click here to enjoy surrounding vistas from the top of Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park at Rogers Pass in British Columbia, Canada.


 

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Butterfly photo taken on the ascent of Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The Rampart and Bonney Glacier on Mount Bonney come into view as the hike proceeds around the end of Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Glaciers on The Dome and Mount Bonney consume attention from Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

On the 2,736 m (8,976 ft) Dome, to the left of Mount Bonney, a tongue of the Asulkan Glacier wraps itself around in close proximity to the Bonney Glacier.  The final hike to the official 'end of trail' sign is moderately uphill over rocky terrain on sketchy trail but the 360 degree views are breathtaking.  WOW!

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Glaciers on The Dome in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada A closer view of glaciers on The Dome and Mount Bonney in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, CanadaThe 'End of Trail' marker on the top of Abbott Ridge. Trail continues on and you should too.  Abbott Ridge to Abbott Peak in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

 

 

Summarizing surrounding highlights with a long lens occurs while lunch in the sun is enjoyed with a cool, wafting, glacial breeze against exposed skin in this natural paradise.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The Illecillewaet Névé from Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Vaux Glacier on the flank of Mount Sir Donald in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Glaciers cap surrounding mountains in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Heavy weather begins to move in over glaciers on mountains in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The pink hue on snow and ice fields is common at upper elevations. It is an algae.

 

The hike proceeds further along the top of Abbott Ridge on rough, rocky and sketchy trail in search of different views.  At the end of the ridge 2,454 m (8,051 ft) Mount Abbott provides incredible views into the incredible Asulkan Valley.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Enjoying lunch with legs swinging free in a thousand feet of air while enjoying the amazing, sweeping views in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Eagle Peak and Uto Peak in partial sun across the valley from Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Mount Sir Donald touches the clouds above the Illecillewaet Névé in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada. If it's a steep hike you need, the Mount Sir Donald hike would be a good choice.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The Illecillewaet Névé on photo left and Asulkan Glacier above the amazing Asulkan Valley with the return route trail and the snow slope we will need to cross below in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Glacial silt-laden water flow from the Vaux Glacier and the Illecillewaet Névé creating the Illecillewaet River which feeds the Columbia River at Revelstoke from Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada A view of the Bonneyville Glacier from further along Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Mount Sir Donald and the Illecillewaet River in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Looking straight down to the return trail and the snow slope from the top of Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Following a relaxing lunch and rest for the feet, the descent begins from the top of Abbott Ridge initially via the same trail used for ascent.  Skies are more heavily overcast.  The excellent trail travels rocky, artistic terrain with subtle, but colorful, shrubbery borders and sweeping views of glaciated mountain scenery is punctuated by the sight and reverberating sound of pounding, white water flow in mighty rivers and waterfalls.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada View into the valley rounding the north end on the descent of Abbott Ridge Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Hiking south on the face of Abbott Ridge with a clear view of the Asulkan Glacier suspended over the end of Asulkan Valley in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Hiking on the pedestal across from Abbott Observatory on the descent from Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Approaching the alternate, longer return trail from Abbott Ridge back to Marion Lake and the trailhead at Glacier Historic Monument in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

The longer, more scenic trail will be engaged for descent as a better and different alternative than the shorter, steeper, rocky-terrain trail ascended earlier.  Climbing on a steep trail is safer and easier than descending the same trail.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Picking up the descent trail alternative at a grand view of Illecillewaet Névé beneath towering Mount Sir Donald in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Gradual descent into the massive rock bowl with the gigantic snow slope beneath Abbott Ridge on the longer trail back to the Abbott Ridge trail-head in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Approaching the snow slope on the longer trail in descent from Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Working the way carefully across the snow slope from the descent off Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

The snow is hard on an ice base.  It is a long way to the bottom.  A minor incident occurs which delays crossing and will require medical attention.

There is only 5.0 KM (3 miles) of downhill hiking remaining.  All the remaining pictures of this day are taken on my behalf.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Pressing on after the snow slope accident, hiking downhill into spectacular views on the home stretch with a single pole to Illecillewaet Campground parking in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Spectacular views of Mount Sir Donald and the Illecillewaet Névé from the descent trail off Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Negotiating the switchbacks on the descent around the rock fall bowl with the now too familiar snow patch high above us beneath Mount Abbott in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Scenery is amazing on the hike down around the rock bowl.  In this photo, Mount Sir Donald hosting Vaux Glacier dominates the horizon in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

A quick pace is maintained on the descent.  Threatening, overcast skies are holding back and throughout the remainder of the edgy descent around the rock bowl, beneath Mount Abbott, the scenery and immensity of surrounding features create a visual extravaganza which consumes the senses.  

Switchbacks provide rapid descent near the lower edge of the rock bowl and the trail levels at a meadow before hiking on relatively flat trail through lush, old forest punctuated by impressive sections of rock slide.  It is a constantly changing and very interesting section of trail which returns to the junction with the original trail descending from Marion Lake to the parking area at the large and well-appointed Illecillewaet Campground.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The view of Youngs Peak hosting the Illecillewaet Névé and the Illecillewaet River near the bottom of the descent around the rock bowl from Abbott Ridge in Glacier national Park, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The trail levels into forest with a spectacular view of mountain peaks in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The trail passes through old rock slides on the route back to the junction of the original trail at Marion Lake in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Back at the Abbott Ridge trail-head the hike proceeds through the foundations of Glacier House.  Interpretive plaques provide interesting history of this important historical resource in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Skies begin to clear again as the hike continues on the 1885 Rail Trail over the stone arch bridge above the glacial silt-laden Illecillewaet River near Illecillewaet Campground in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The emergency entrance of the Queen Victoria Hospital and Health Centre in Revelstoke, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The post treatment walking wounded at the Queen Victoria Hospital and Health Centre in Revelstoke, BC, Canada.

 

The long drive home through Glacier National Park over Rogers Pass to the Palliser Lodge at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort above Golden, BC begins in the long shadows of late afternoon and ends late in the dark.  On the drive up the road above Golden, a large owl narrowly avoids hitting the Dodge Journey as it flies into the path of our headlights on a hunt interrupted. 

It is good to be home after another long, tough day on the snow slopes. Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The  altercation with the snow slope resulted in unnecessary  injury which could easily have been avoided. 

 Hiking crampons would have made the crossing safe.      Careful and slow progress would have made this crossing  safe.  Taking the alternate, and likely faster route, by  scrambling scree above the snow slope would have made this crossing safe.  Hindsight is always 20/20.  Be careful and stay safe out there. 

 

Photographs for this post were captured on August 7, 2013 in Rogers Pass, Glacier National Park and Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

Abbott Ridge is one of my favorites. I hope you and Joanne have the opportunity to return one day to hike to Asulkan Hut, the Illecillewaet Glacier just below Perley Rock, The Vaux Glacier hanging on Mount Sir Donald, Avalanche Ridge, Balu Pass and past The Hermit to up close and personal views of the French Glacier. Each is forever memorable. At least one rest day would be well advised between each hike but the powerful and sensory impact of these beyond belief, wilderness experiences will change your life forever in a positive way. From Abbott Ridge, most of these routes are visible far in the distance but to immerse yourself in the wonder and detail of each is an amazing journey. It is a ride to be remembered and I wish you well.

Will never forget this hike. We sure have some good war stories to talk about in the future. We're just glad everything turned out well. That snow slope didn't look too deceiving at first. Just goes to show how easy it is to take things for granted. Well worth it in the end.

Thank you for your kind words, Sheryl. The occasional bump and scrape is part of the process and a small price to pay for the wonder of wilderness adventure. Thanks for all the information you provide on your excellent website <a href="http://floweryprose.com/" title="Flowery Prose" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">'Flowery Prose'</a>. It is teaching me more about the wilderness environment which is such an integral and important part of my life.

I appreciate your comment, Charlie. I wavered on the decision to include the injury photo but it does bring home the point the practice of stupidity can have consequences. This is particularly true in the wilderness where the rules are often different. Common sense stays the same and needs to be practised diligently and consistently. All is healed now. Still in recoup for a shoulder injury taken on Pocaterra Ridge during bizarre winter conditions in October. No big deal. Post to follow. So far, most of my winter has been spent working or catching up on journaling summer adventures. This winter's weather has been challenging with wild fluctuations in temperature and unusual snowfall patterns. Avalanche risk has been above average but things are beginning to settle down and I am looking forward to getting back out there. I am enjoying your winter series of photographs. Keep up the good work.

Thank you for your comment, Helen. My son and daughter-in-law are resident at about 700 ft above sea level whereas, in Calgary, I am based at 3,500 ft above sea level. It is a bigger challenge for them to adjust to the higher altitude but pace and nourishment can have a major impact on improving the transition. I believe you could do this hike. You might bring up electrolyte intake and punctuate the mission with more frequent rest periods. On this hike, it is worth the time to take a regular pause to absorb the incredible and unique scenery constantly unfolding around you. The Abbott Ridge hike is indelibly memorable forever. Best done on a reasonably fair weather day. Thank you for your comment, Helen and I enjoy your blog <a href="http://outandabout3.blogspot.com.au/" title="Walking With Friends Down Under" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">'Walking with Friends Down Under'</a>. The images and unique flora and fauna of your Australian coastline make our short days of winter pass a bit more quickly.

Thank you for your kind words, Andra. Glacier National Park at Rogers Pass is a goldmine of hiking opportunity packed into a fairly tight space. It is one of my favorite areas. Many of the trails could be considered rugged and aggressive but the features of the mountainous terrain laced with ice fields and glaciers make the effort extremely worthwhile and rewarding. Limited access and accommodation is also a traffic reducing bonus. I figure if I do not sustain a minor injury periodically, I am not trying hard enough. Thanks for your comment, Andra. I frequently use your excellent blog for reference and advise others to do the same.

Absolutely spectacular trek, amazing photos from both you and Bill! Frightening about the injuries and relieved all turned out okay.

Nice view up there. That was a bit of an adventure ;) I was wondering if you'd have a picture of the injury and was not disappointed, but you should have grabbed one before too! Glad it wasn't too serious. Are you getting any winter hiking done this year?

Amazing panoramas! Relieved that the finger has healed. It certainly looked nasty. As I read yours, Alex's and Linda's blogs, it is as if I'm hiking with you enjoying every view, forest, meadow, stream and waterfall, until at completion, I comprehend the distance hiked, elevation, and difficulty of the terrain and wonder "Is this one to put on my to do list if I manage to visit?" The description of this hike had me thinking it was do-able until I read the elevation was nearly 2500m. I guess stress from this altitude would limit me.

I hiked Abbott Ridge in early September of 2012 and did it in the opposite direction, crossing the snow slope first and then coming down the short steep way on the way back. I was nervous when I saw the snow slope. I considered turing back but then was able to find a way a little higher up where there was little snow and more boulder to work through. Your incident sounds very scary and I am glad to know you made it back without too bad of an injury. Yours and Bill's photos are beautiful and I would like to return and do this hike again on a blue sky day. It is a gorgeous area of our country!

Thanks for your comment, Phil. Abbott Ridge is indeed a great hike. I would recommend it to anyone comfortable with the distance and elevation. There are a series of amazing hikes in Canada's Glacier National Park. Many are strenuous but worthy of the time and effort to visit incredible scenery and overwhelmingly beautiful features. The recovery is complete, thank you. I hope you are able to visit Glacier National Park for hiking in a relatively short hiking season due to snow at higher elevations. The Parks Canada website will lead you to Nakimu Caves, a challenging day adventure you may wish to consider

This looks like a great hike, and lovely pictures, I will need to put this on my list for 2014! Injuries like this are timely reminders for the rest of us, and is seems that the response after the injury by all of you was perfect. I hope the recovery is going well.

Thanks for the post and awesome photos. We were road tripping through the rockies last fall and I spent every evening reading your blog researching our hikes.

Wonderful hike!! Is this an only one day thing? Can you camp and make it a 2 day?

Thank you for your comment, Julie.  The Abbott Ridge hike is an amazing experience which I have done several times over many years.  It is a day hike and I am not aware of any overnight camping facilities.  You will need to contact the Discovery Centre at Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park Canada to get a definitive answer about overnight back country camping.  There is a small campground at Balu Pass but I am not aware of camping facilities on the route for Abbott Ridge.

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