Southfork Mountain and Barnaby Ridge

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
7-12h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
18.0 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
1,395 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
10.0
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Southfork Mountain and Barnaby Ridge scramble in Castle Provincial Park, Alberta

This scramble to Southfork Mountain and Barnaby Ridge has it all, a backcountry campsite on beautiful Southfork Lakes, a long ridge top traverse, and spectacular scenery throughout!

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Route Description for Southfork Mountain and Barnaby Ridge

You will start the scramble to Southfork Mountain by crossing the river, which can be quite shallow and easy to cross once the early-season runoff is done. You will find the signed trail on the other side. Trail markers, in fact, start even before the river crossing and an excellent trail has been cut through the krumholtz between the Southfork Lakes.

The trail across the river begins quite gently, but soon steepens dramatically, gaining 450 m over just 1.5 km. Most of this ascent is on open hillside, and can be very hot if starting in the afternoon. The ascent relaxes near the lower of the three Southfork Lakes! A few very nice informal campsites are located on the edge of the lake and can make a nice base camp for exploring.

Contour around the lower Southfork Lake on good trail before a moderately steep ascent, still on good trail, and you will come to the second Southfork Lake. At this point turn west and start the steep, off-trail ascent to the summit of Southfork Mountain over mixed, easy terrain. At times you walk through a beautiful larch forest, eventually reaching the summit just 40 minutes after departing Southfork Lakes.

After this 1,000 m ascent to Southfork Mountain, take a break and enjoy the views then head south along the very broad and pleasantly hike-able Barnaby Ridge.

The midway point between Southfork and Barnaby, nicknamed The Amoeba, looks quite daunting from a distance. However, as you approach the cliffs on its north-end, multiple easy scramble routes reveal themselves with a trail indicating the most popular option. Follow this trail around The Amoeba without gaining too much elevation.

On the south side of The Amoeba you lose over 100 m, gain a bit of it back before losing it again, then head up the final 175 m to the summit of Barnaby Ridge. The views from Barnaby Ridge are amazing, dozens of peaks to scramble are visible in all directions!

Return the way you came.

Insider Hints for Southfork Mountain and Barnaby Ridge

  • This is a great option for a weekend ovenight backpack. Leave your tent at Southfork Lakes and then climb Southfork Mountain and along Barnaby Ridge.
  • You can shorten this walk along Barnaby Ridge if the total distance is too long, it’s a big day.
  • Start early, as this is a big day and Barnaby Ridge can get very hot on a summer day!
  • If you need a snack, the only nearby option is the Beaver Mines General Store in Beaver Mines before heading home for the day.

Getting to the Southfork Mountain and Barnaby Ridge Trailhead

The trailhead is a dirt road with a blue street number sign about 4.0 km before Castle Mountain Resort. The road heads to a research station that is partially visible from the road, so this can help locate it. Drive to the end of the road near the Castle River.

Route Information

  • When to do

    June - September

  • Backcountry Campsites

    Southfork Lakes

  • Toilets

    Southfork Lakes

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Scarmbling Rating

    Grade 1

  • Exposure

    Mild

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Good

  • Crowd Levels

    Low

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Southfork Mountain and Barnaby Ridge Elevation Graph

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Southfork Mountain and Barnaby Ridge Reviews

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