Ribbon Lake Overnight
A quickie lightweight overnight to enjoy some mountain-time


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The first section of the trail is the 8km to Ribbon Falls, with a small steady elevation gain.
The trail is broad and easy walking, and flits between parallelling the creek and wandering off to the north.

Ribbon Creek at the bike racks.

Ribbon Creek trail.

A waterfall along the upper creek.

Reaching Ribbon Falls.

Ribbon Falls and some late-blooming ragwort.

Ribbon Falls.

The falls and the cascade above.

Once past the falls, the trail gets interesting. It first climbs away from the falls upslope to give a view of the cascade above the main falls,
then angles back towards the main rockband and to the chains.
The route to Ribbon Lake takes the weak line through the cliffs, but still runs out of walking room and must directly climb up some rock.
Once this required scrambling/climbing skills with serious exposure, but the chains have now been bolted into the rock for many years.
Unlike many heavily-warned areas of the Rockies, these ones aren't out to lunch when they suggest 'climbing ability required'.
The physical difficulty and danger aren't too much with the chains securely bolted to give an excellent handhold, but you do have to ascend the rock.
I found it pretty straightforward (with a few high steps), but I think it could be quite daunting to a person with no idea how to move on rock.
A decent amount of the section is simple scrambling, but there is one tricky vertical-ish slab for a couple steps, and some narrow areas.

The steep trail up to the cliffs.

Running out of hiking trail.

For once, and genuine hazard.

Starting up the chains.

The route first scramble straight up on decent rock,

then traverses a ledge with chain for a handrail.

The second section is the toughest, with some near-vertical scrambling, and one step where the chain makes a big difference to plant your feet and haul.

Making it up the tough step,

then finishing with more scrambling.

After that, it's pretty easy, with hands just for balance.

A look back at the upper section of chains.

Approaching the last traverse.

Final chain as we re-enter the forest and trail.

The section took us about 15 minutes, and leads into a steep uphill hiking part, with a couple views of the valley.
Before long, the grade eases, the trail rejoins the north shore of the creek, and we crest the headwall to Ribbon Lake.

Steep hiking above the chains.

A view of Ribbon Creek starting down the cliffs.

Ribbon Lake below a dreary sky.

Ribbon Lake.

Ribbon Lake campground is on the far (west) shore of the lake, which is quick to walk around.
The campground is nice enough with all of the standard amentities, including decent tenpads, two fire pits, and a green outhouse.
The evening was cool and cloudy, but never rained, and the smoke cleared out as the sun set (behind thick clouds, unfortunately).

Sunset on Mount Kidd.

First stars come out in the night.

The next morning, the clouds cleared as the sun made its way up for a bright morning with a fairly clear sky.
We packed up and headed down the way we'd come.

Sun breaks above the lake.

Ribbon lake in the morning sun.

Ribbon Lake and its valley.

Springs well up on the lake's edge.

A last look at the lake.

Hiking out with a view.

On the way up, I had not really noticed my pack weight when ascending the chains, but it was a little trickier on the way down.
Most of it was still a simple down-scramble, but the one difficult step really required one to just lean back and step down agaisnt the rock -
which made the extra back weight of the backpack more noticeable.
My light pack wasn't a problem, but I would definitely consider using a rope to lower packs if yours were large and heavy - you feel the pull back.

Starting down the first chains.

The big ledge traverse.

Heading for the tough spot.

The crux step.

The final ledge to the end.

The chain hanging down the lowest section.

We got a nice look at Ribbon Falls in the sun, then finished up the trail. The day was notably warmer, but still comfortable in the morning.

Ribbon Falls.

Ribbon Creek.

Small falls along the creek.

Demonstrating the rotten rock of the Rockies, this tree fell over and pulled a rock out with its roots.

Photos taken by Rachel

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