Johnson Creek Ridge
On 27 March 2021, Asieh Ghodratabadi, Ali
Shariat, Zosia Zgolak and I hiked up Johnson Creek Ridge in Alberta's
Willow Creek Public Land Use Zone. Although an ascent route from
the west is described in Gillean Daffern's Kananaskis Country Trail
Guide, we would use the approach from the east as described by
Bob Spirko. Starting from a gate on the south side of SR 532
(12 kilometres west of junction with Highway 22), we hiked south along a
road which is probably a muddy mess when snow-free. About a
kilometre from the gate, we left the main road and headed west on a spur
road which follows a drainage emanating from the northeast side of
Johnson Creek Ridge. From this point, it is a bit difficult and
perhaps even pointless to describe in detail the route that we followed.
There are numerous roads and cut lines running throughout the area which
can be somewhat confusing to sort out without an aerial map. The
general idea is to gain a subsidiary ridge northeast of the main spine of
Johnson Creek Ridge and then head southwest to gain the north end of the
spine. On this day, there was still a lot of snow coverage
especially in forested sections higher up, but Ali and Zosia did a great
job of trail-breaking for us. While there are numerous spots along
the ridge that grant far-reaching views especially to the northwest, the
high point of Johnson Creek Ridge is disappointingly viewless.
After snapping a requisite photograph on the high point, we retreated a
short distance to take an extended break before resuming our descent.
Retracing our broken trail back to the starting gate was uncomplicated
but also a bit mind-numbing.
Overall, I think that the trip up Johnson Creek Ridge via the eastern
approach is best saved for an inclement weather day in summer or late
fall. The few scenic viewpoints along the route hardly justify the
long, uninspiring stretches of hiking through logging roads and forest.
When the weather is sunny, there are better hiking objectives to be found
in that area.
Ali, Asieh and Sonny climb up an open section of
the ridge. At left is
Butte, and at right in the distance are
and Mount Burke.
Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak
||Sonny, Zosia, Ali and Asieh reach the
viewless high point (1995 metres) of Johnson Creek Ridge.
The group retraces its steps back down the ridge.
Distance: 12.8 kilometres
Round-Trip Time: 7 hours 13 minutes
Elevation Gain: 545 metres