July 28 2017
Grizzly Ridge to Highwood Ridge turned out to be a great wild flower hike. The Pocaterra Cirque section was spectacular, see photo below. The Paradise Valley between the two ridges was just a carpet of flowers. The hike starts from Highwood Pass Parking on Hwy40. Take the trail to Ptarmigan Cirque but fork left to Pocaterra Cirque and Pocaterra Ridge. In another 2.5 km fork left again leaving the Pocaterra Cirque trail and head up to Grizzly Col. The trail is well defined on flattened shale to the col. At the col head left up to Grizzly Ridge. At the ridge you could bag the summit of Grizzly Peak. We just heading a short distance along the ridge. Find a suitable spot to descend into Paradise Valley. A nice soft shale spot works well. There is a very small rocky out crop to navigate through. Take your time in the valley taking in the beautiful flowers before heading up 300 m to Highwood Ridge. The best place to ascend is where the there is a brown channel running down. At the ridge turn left and head towards Highwood Peak. Your choice go to the top of the peak or skirt around. Either way it is the same way down the spine of the ridge to intersect with the trail back to the parking. On the way down in the trees look for a trail to go right. This will join the main trail with 1 km to go back.
Distance return 11.0 km Time return 7 hrs ( inc 30 min lunch ) Elevation Accumulated gain 990 m Elevation to Summit 575 m Summit height 2710 m
** Note drop and gain of 300 m into Valley **