Kujo Ridge


Distance: 6 km
Elevation Gain: 529 m (1736 ft)
Time: 2.5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Region: Whitehorse
Date Added: October 2, 2016
Last Update: October 2, 2016
Winter: snowshoeing 



A varied and beautiful trail up into the alpine with gorgeous views of Kusawa Lake and the surrounding mountains. This trail is south of the well-known Kusawa Ridge Trail, and provides a different perspective of the area. This is an especially beautiful hike in the fall and there are many opportunities from the viewpoint to continue farther into the alpine up any of the rocky ridges or towards Jo Jo Lake.


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Scroll below photos for Driving Directions and Trail Description.



Photos


The trailhead parking area.



Hiking along the creek.



Looking at the view of Kusawa Ridge across the creek.



Following the trail up through the trees.



Taking a quick break to enjoy the views down Kusawa Lake.



Once in the open alpine you can enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains and Kusawa Lake.



Continuing further into the alpine, there are some small rocky peaks that you can explore.



Hiking along one of the rocky ridges to a peak.



Approaching the small alpine lake on the plateau near Jo Jo Lake.



Catching a glimpse of the south end of Jo Jo Lake.



Hiking back over to Kusawa Lake.




Driving Directions

Drive about 65 km north of Whitehorse on the Alaska Highway until you reach signs indicating Kusawa Lake campground on the left side of the highway. Follow this dirt road past the Takhini River campground to the Kusawa Lake campground (23 km off the highway). Drive past the campground and then past a bridge, for another 800 m. There is a pullout on the right, in a clearing for parking.




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Trail Description

Be warned, from the parking area there is no defined trail for the first 900 m. There are several options to get to the trail from the parking area, but they all require route-finding skills in order to get through the forest towards the base of the mountain slope to the west. If you head slightly northwest you will reach a creek which you can boulder hop alongside (if the water is not too high) heading west (there is no need to cross the creek). Note this creek is the same creek you follow for the Kusawa Ridge Trail (just on the other side). Before the creek reaches a canyon and heads more northwest, a well-defined trail can be picked up on a small narrow ridge to the left. Alternatively, you can also reach the start of the trail from the parking area by picking your way through the floodplain forest of willow and poplar or the adjacent spruce forest on the left (southeast). There are many animal trails throughout this area.

Once you reach the actual trail, it heads quite steeply uphill through first spruce and then aspen forests. Thankfully there are many little viewpoints along the trail where you can take a quick break and catch your breath while enjoying the views of Kusawa Lake. The trail begins to follow above another creek drainage to the southwest. As you gain elevation the aspen trees become shorter and more stunted, until eventually disappearing altogether once you reach the alpine. The trail continues over rock and lichen and becomes less defined. Enjoy the views from the open alpine and head back down at your leisure.

Note if you want a longer hike, there are some small ridges and a small alpine lake worth exploring to the southwest of the viewpoint. If you continue further west from there, you would eventually get a view of Jo Jo Lake. These options would add another 12-20 km (return) to the distance listed for this hike. There are many options for backcountry camping in the area if you want to make this an extended trip.





Comments / Trip Reports

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Shailyn
May 20, 2019

Hiked this yesterday. New trail for me. I really enjoyed it. We were able to find the start of the trail through the forest pretty well. Seems like someone put out some flagging tape, which really helped. That quickly disappeared, but was useful. We went up to the viewpoint, thinking that was only part way up the trail and ended up bushwhacking through a ton of willows to get up to the alpine. We were hoping to see the alpine lake but couldn’t find it. The wildflowers were starting to come out and the alpine spring melt pools were beautiful. Old bear scat and some ungulate scat (sheep?). On our way down we found a game trail for a bit, making the journey back to the trail a little easier, but that also quickly turned to more willow bushwhacking until we got back to the trail. We managed 10km and 830m of elevation gain. Lovely day and lovely trail. No snow on the trail. Only some piles left higher up.
Kyle
September 15, 2018

Great hike, took 2 hours to the summit.
Lots of space to go explore at the summit.
Fall colours are all out at the moment.

After passing kusawa campground there is a bridge, go over it and right after to the right theres a round about type parking space. Park here and theres several trails that lead you up the creek to the trail and are marked with red tags. If you miss the round about parking spot you'll get to the second part of the kusawa campground and a private lot, if you see this than you've gone too far.

If you follow this correct trail then there is no bushwhacking whatsoever.
If ever lost you can just follow the creek up the mountain which is very loud with heavy water flow coming down.
Natasha
June 3, 2018

LOST PHONE ON KUJO RIDGE! Hi, we hiked the ridge today and a phone slipped out of a backpack. If anyone finds and Iphone on the trail. Please called 867-335-4409. Thanks!

Also - it was a great hike. 5 Stars.
Jim
August 9, 2017

Lost a pair of binos up there, if you find a pair and want to return them give me a ring at 689 2555. Thanks :)
Stacie
July 6, 2017

Great, easy hike! Kusawa ridge was too busy for our liking so we went to Kujo ridge. No people. A bit of bushwhacking at first, but we were able to find a semi-decent route to the trailhead on the way up. It skirted to the left of the big rocky section. But on the way back it was bushwhacking 101. It's not super obvious but it wasn't long before we saw the parking lot either. There's a bunch of game trails, so those can be confusing so don't follow to far to the left. The ridge trail is towards the creek, on the right.

Great trail and lots of opportunity to explore at the top if it wasn't enough for you!