Ruckel Ridge Hike
Ruckel Ridge Hike is one of my All-Time Favorites.
If timed correctly, the parade of flowers extends from trailhead to trailhead. I’ve never compiled a plant list but that would be a great idea. It’d be quite long. From lower-elevation woodlands, basalt cliffs, oak-savannah, wet mossy springs, upper elevation near-alpine communities and then back down. There’s only a few dull moments along the way during those critical few weeks of spring if you’re at all interested in flowering plants.
- The Ruckel Ridge Hike trail is unofficial. There are no signs.
- Take the 10 essentials.
- If you miss the peak bloom week(s), or are looking for grand vistas, it’ll be more of a workout than you may prefer.
- Anyone with a fear of heights shouldn’t even attempt the “trail” which at times is a bit of a scramble or narrow with drop offs. In the photo above, I am actually on the trail. It gets much narrower and steeper.
- People get lost crossing the Benson Plateau, especially if there is snow (which there will likely be if the plants below are in top bloom); carry a good map. Be on the lookout for the Ruckel Creek trail which you need to take back down. If you miss this trail, you’re in a wilderness.
- Crossing Ruckel Creek in high water can be dangerous. Be careful.
- Don’t attempt this hike in sketchy weather. Going down the ridge in wet conditions is not advised.
- Please don’t take dogs on this trail; or if you do, keep them on a leash.
- There is one section where I always hear grouse. Off leash dogs will scare them.
- This is an area of botanical interest that hasn’t been run over (yet) by tons of hikers. Respect it.
- See my other post on dogs and their impact on wild areas.
This trail will probably be unavailable for decades, due to the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire which is the river valley just to the west of Ruckle Ridge.