Red Ridge

Distance: 12 km
Elevation Gain: 497 m (1631 ft)
Time: 4 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Region: Annie Lake
Date Added: October 12, 2008
Last Update: January 1, 2012
Winter: ski touring snowshoeing 

Red Ridge is a great ridge hike offering several options and fantastic views. The ridge is between other formidable mountains like Twin Mountain and Mount Perkins. Annie Lake can be seen from the top and the ridge follows along the beautiful Watson River Valley.

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Driving Directions

Drive south from Whitehorse and turn right at the Carcross cutoff. After about 17 km turn right onto Annie Lake road. After about another 17 kms you will reach the north end of Annie Lake road and there is a road to the right which leads towards a marsh. Take this road for a little over 8 kms. It is a rough 4x4 road, so if you don't have 4 wheel drive, it is advised that you don't drive too far up this road. You will cross 2 small creeks on the road and eventually follow on the side of a steep slope before reaching a clearing where you can park and turn around. At this clearing the road continues through the valley, while a wide exploration trail leads up to the ridge on the right - this is the trailhead.

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Trail Description

From the trailhead, the exploration road leads up the ridge to a small saddle (~2 km). From the saddle there is the option to continue following the road to the right, which leads up to the east summit, or to turn left (west) to follow the ridge trail described here. The east summit provides a nice side trip or a shorter day trip for great views of Annie Lake, and is about 1 km to the top.

To continue along the ridge, near the top of the saddle pick up a faint animal trail that traverses along the left slope of the ridge. This will allow you to avoid some bushwaking, at least for the first part of the hike. It is sometimes hard to keep to a main trail, but the ridge is open enough to find your own route as you try to make your way up to the first peak of the ridge. From this peak you'll get a fantastic view to the west and it will now be easy walking along the rocky, red ridge.

It is about 4.5 km to then end of the ridge from the saddle, with a bit of up and down. You'll get great views into the Watson River valley on the right, and as you get further along the ridge, views of the Thompson Creek valley on the left open up as well.

Eventually the ridge levels out into a flat plateau where the trail dissapears. You now have the option of either returning the way you came (which would involve a bit of ascent back up to the peaks of the ridge) or to continue along the plateau and loop down to the valley and follow a road back to the parking area.

For the loop, start your descent down the end of the ridge and try to pick up a rough road which switchbacks down the slope towards the left. This rough road meets up with a better exploration road which leads back to the parking area (just keep to the left). It will be about 3.8 km to the end.


The winter trail is the same as the summer trail, but you will have to walk or ski the 8 km road instead of driving it. The road is often packed down by snowmobiles and dog-sleds. Once at the summer trailhead and parking area, the road up to the top of the ridge is steeper and the snow can get deep, so make sure to take turns breaking trail. It would make for a very long day if you attempted to hike the full ridge loop in the winter. You may only have enough time (and energy) to get to the ridge top and look over the other side before having to return.

Snowshoeing - Snowshoes aren't required to walk the road or the ridge top, but are neccessary for walking up to the ridge top from the summer parking area. Because you have to walk the road in the winter and break through deep snow, you can expect the trip to take 9 hours just to the ridge top and back. Make sure to take headlamps in case you get caught in the darkness.

Nordic Ski Touring - The road is perfect for ski touring because it isn't too steep. Skiing would make the way out much quicker than snowshoeing. It may be more difficult to ski up to the ridge top from the summer parking area, so you may want to bring snowshoes for this section unless you think you can stay afloat well enough in the deeper snow.


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Comments / Trip Reports

Have you been to Red Ridge lately?

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May 22, 2017

Went yesterday but ended up just walking the road a couple of kms beyond the mining camp. We parked at Annie Lk Rd and regretted not taking our bikes as it would have been a better ride than a long walk. Beyond the swamp at the Annie Lk Rd, watch for the yellow trapping sign and walk up the road to the right of it (roads branch off in a few directions). First creek was snow covered and could be driven over by any vehicle. Second creek was shallow and drivable by a 4x4 and easily crossed on foot over the plank that someone had laid down. The whole road muddy in places but passable. No wildlife sightings and only old scat. Good thing that it was a windy day or the mozzies would have had a feast. It would have been very windy on the ridge (and mozzie free).
August 21, 2016

Really beautiful spot.
The 8kms (which was closer to 10kms) road to the trailhead is definitely not vehicle friendly. A quad is needed or add another 10kms to the distance of the hike each way. The quad trail isnt quite mountain bike friendly either.
Overall is a fantastic hike!
June 5, 2016

Great hike! However do not expect to be able to drive to the trail head as the road is in very bad condition. Be prepared to add about 2 hours extra each way to your expected hike time, because it takes a while to get to the trailhead.

Does anyone know the backstory to the abandoned cabin along the road to the trailhead?
September 20, 2015

Just did this hike today (Sept. 20, 2015) and biked to the trailhead, which was awesome! Gorgeous views, etc.

The road is pretty rough past the first creek crossing. We parked at the first creek as we did not have 4x4.. but even with 4x4 it would be tough. The second creek crossing is high at the moment and there's a fairly large tree down after it. If you are hardcore and planning on driving it, bring a chain saw!!!
September 17, 2015

Hiked the Red Ridge on Sept. 13.

The access road is in relatively rough shape. I highly recommend taking a bike and biking to the trailhead. Its about 6km from the first creek crossing. It is uphill most of the way but a great time coming back down. Trail is easy to follow but does require a bit of bushwhacking once you reach the first saddle (start of the loop). If you want to connect with the rough road at the north end of the loop, make sure you walk all the way to the end of the ridge (it will start to drop quite a bit into a gully). There is a bit of bushwhacking at this point also.

Amazing views of the watson valley - brilliant colours this time of year. Great hike - highly recommend.
July 6, 2015

Went up and along the ridge yesterday. The access road was definitely impassable at the second creek crossing, adding another 6km onto the approach to the trailhead. Also, the mosquitos were almost enough to make some turn back. I'm glad we didn't, because the ridge was beeeaaaautiful. Plenty of cell reception to call your mom.

I think this trail would be a perfect after-work-going-till-late-bike/hike combo.
June 28, 2015

We just returned from hiking this trail. After some near-perils along the access road, we made it to the trailhead and enjoyed the ridge hike immensely. I did the drive in my Rav4 (with 4x4) and my clearance was almost not enough (although the creek crossings were fine, they may not be another time of the year). I definitely advise good clearance and 4x4 as parts of the roads are ROUGH.

No bear sightings or fresh scat but lots of moose, sheep and elk tracks. Overall, a special place with special views- enjoy!
Rick Oliver
May 24, 2015

Sunday May 24 2015. We made it across the first creek, cold and clear, in our jeep. The passable road ends a bit further in. The road goes through a bog where a deep mud puddle full of rocks has been developed by vehicle traffic. We did not chance a crossing. We knew it was going to be a long walk in.
We were about to head back out and find another hike closer to the road, when two vacationing kiwis showed up. So not to be out done, we joined parties and headed in on foot. The round trip was just over 20 k from where we parked. The second stream was a torrent of melt water. About up to our knees and several lanes wide and cafe aux lait color so a stick was needed to gage the depth. Mister Misty headaches on the legs!
Then a long walk through the trees to the "trailhead". Good walking all the way. We Made it to East Summit for the beautiful views. Visibility was unlimited. Temperature was about 25 to 28 C. Mountain bikes would have made the long road in much more enjoyable.
Marko Marjanovic
March 23, 2014

We ski toured the road from Annie Lake up to the trailhead for Red Ridge today. It took about 4 hours return (we didn't actually climb up Red Ridge). The snowmobile-packed trail made the skiing pretty easy.
sam bannacci
September 8, 2013

has anyone done this in Sept? wondering how the road access is ? we have 4 wd but no winch
August 31, 2013

Tried to get in with our truck today and couldn't get past km 4.5 due to a pretty bad mud bog
July 23, 2013

Hiked up the East Peak today (July 23rd). Second creek was a raging torrent, so we parked there and forded it on foot. Made for a much longer approach on the road.
May 3, 2012

would like to do this hike on Saturday. Has anyone done it lately? Just wondering if the ground has firmed up yet?