CPR Ridge Walk offers amazing mountain views above Golden, British Columbia, Canada.
The Kicking Horse Mountain Resort thrives high above Golden, British Columbia, Canada. Known primarily as a world-class downhill ski destination, the ridge above the resort also provides hiking, mountain biking and grizzly bear viewing opportunities. After enjoying brief, morning visits to Cedar Lake, Inukshuk and BC Spirit Square, the afternoon will be devoted to hiking on Terminator Ridge and its outliers. Access to the top of the ridge is by rustic trail, gravel road or via the Golden Eagle Express gondola. The gondola seems sensible on this leisure day and will maximize hiking time at the top of the scenic ridge.
The Golden Eagle Express delivers us smoothly and swiftly from the Day Lodge to the top of Terminator Ridge through Bowl Over with CPR Ridge to the right. An added bonus is an excellent and unexpected view of Boo, the orphaned, resident grizzly bear playing in one of the ponds on his securely fenced, nature refuge.
The following site map may help to serve as a reference for routes and locations within the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort complex.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort Reference Map
The Golden Eagle Express drops us off at the Eagle's Eye Restaurant adjacent to the trail-head for the CPR Ridge Walk. The highly rated Eagle's Eye Restaurant sits at 2,347 m (7,700 ft) with expansive breathtaking views of surrounding mountains, rivers and valleys.
Following a short, uphill walk to the highest point on CPR Ridge, time is taken to absorb the magnificent, sweeping views of surrounding mountain and valley features. The high point on CPR Ridge is an excellent place to sit and enjoy lunch in the sunshine. WOW!
The view west across the Crystal Bowl to Redemption Ridge, beneath 2,448 m (8,033 ft.) Blue Heaven, showcases trails shared by hikers and mountain bikers. After lunch, gentle descent begins on predominantly rugged, rocky trail with occasional rock stairs.
Sweeping vistas provide breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains past the Town of Golden at valley bottom as the descent continues.
Views of the main buildings, Mountaineer Lodge and Glacier Lodge, expand into view as the hike continues down CPR Ridge on trail which varies in quality from good to very rugged. Weathered, windswept and skeleton trees lie testament to the severe conditions on this windy, exposed ridge.
Hazy views open up, of wetlands east beyond Golden, as the hike descends further and the angle of view expands beyond T1 Ridge South on the other side of adjacent Bowl Over.
Excellent views expand over the Town of Golden and the Kicking Horse River as well as hazy, surrounding mountains to the west.
Within surrounding spectacular scenery there is endless opportunity to capture the intricate detail of colorful and interesting trail side features.
The hike returns via the same route. At high points, attention is invariably drawn downwards to mountain bikers speeding along challenging trails in the Crystal Bowl beneath Redemption Ridge. Trails are officially rated from easy green to technically difficult, double black diamond. By my definition, they would be rated from life threatening to suicidal. If you have ever wondered where the 'Stairway to Heaven' is, it is here.
Cloud is beginning to build into the warmer part of the day. What appears to be a station for hanging people is one end of a cable system stretching along CPR Ridge for winter use as a rappelling station for avalanche control and emergency rescue. The scenic hike on CPR Ridge provides final spectacular views from the high point over Eagle's Eye Restaurant and the upward terminus of the Golden Eagle Express. The gondola transport operates year-round to ferry sightseers to this magnificent location. In winter, gondola cars are packed with skiers and in summer, body-armored cyclists accompany their ultra-fortified, behemoth, mountain bikes to the top of Terminator Ridge for the skillful and thrilling ride to the bottom.
The next objective for this day is a portion of the nearby Terminator Ridge hike.
Photos for this post were taken on August 8, 2013.