Total Distance: 5 km
Return Time: 3 hours
Elevation Gain: 519 m
Traditional Territory: THFN
This hike starts right at the top of Windy Pass on the Dempster Highway, so the elevation is high enough that there are almost no trees or bushes in your way. You follow a gentle limestone ridge up to a rocky summit with amazing views of the unique ridge system of Mount Distincta.
This hike is located at KM 153 of the Dempster Highway, about 81 km north on the highway from the Tombstone Territorial Campground. Look for a pullout on the right, at the top of Windy Pass.
From the pullout, cross the highway and aim for the ridge that meets the highway to your left (southeast). Walk through the short section of bush (you can find a path through them) to the tussocks. Pick your way along the tussocks to the base of the ridge (this only takes a few minutes).
Hike up onto the ridge, which starts as a mix of more vegetation than rock. As you continue, the rock starts to take over.
After the first 100 m of elevation gain (roughly 20 minutes), the ridge flattens out a bit and is easy walking. The final climb to the summit is rocky and a bit steeper. The rocks are broken up and vary in size from baseballs to basketballs. Once on the summit, you get great views in all directions. You can see Mount Distincta to the southwest.
You can continue to the summit of Mount Distincta from here, but be warned that there is a gap in the ridge between Windy Pass Peak and Mount Distincta, just before the communications tower that you can see on the ridge in the distance. The gap forces you to descend steeply, and then re-ascend immediately. If you decide to hike to Mount Distincta this way, you can come back the same way, or do a horseshoe route and come back to the highway via the ridge that parallels the one you just came up. Add considerable distance and time if you are hiking to Mount Distincta.