Dewdrop Trail Loop

The Dewdrop Trail climbs the old lava flow cliffs by going up gullies and ridges to the top of the escarpment and then the trail skirts the rim bearing west.   For most of the route, there are fine views and interesting geological features.   Usually we climb 2300 vertical feet (700 m) to the rim then we hike along the rim to one of many viewpoints and return the same way for an 11 km hike.   This time, though, we decided to descend one of the steep gullies on the western end of the trail to create a loop route.

Dewdrop Red Plateau LoopOn the way up the Dewdrop Trail, the route climbs a rocky ridge to the rim.   The terrain is very rugged.   The climb is 493 m in 2.7 km.

dewdrop ridge panorFrom the upper ridges, the views extend over the Dewdrop Range to Kamloops Lake and beyond.

IMG_9669rAs the trail continues along the rim, it continues to climb on the red rock of the Red Plateau Escarpment.

IMG_9675rFrom a viewpoint along the trail, we could spot the Dewdrop Arch on a ridge halfway up the cliffs.

IMG_9676brOn our hikes along the escarpment, we often go to the top of Castle Butte as our lunch spot and turn-around point.   The final part of that side trail requires a scramble up the northeast side of the rock bluff.

IMG_9679rWe continued past Castle Butte up to the highest point on the trail at 1300m (4265 feet).   We picked a deep gully and bushwhacked our way down ridges and gullies .   There was some deadfall and slow-going terrain on the 2.5 km descent.   Although the route was interesting, it is difficult and not for everyone.   As it turned out, we went back up a few days later and found a good trail down, to be featured in another article soon.

Open forest covers the gullies and the top of Red Plateau is forested.  The lowest end of the route is sagebrush and grassland.  A variety of wildflowers can be spotted along the route.

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gaillardia

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blue flax

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death camas and old man’s beard

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coral root

 

The final part of the loop emerged into the grasslands where we had parked a shuttle vehicle to avoid the 4km walk back along the gravel road.   We had a good view of Castle Butte from the west on the last part of the hike.

IMG_9690rThis particular loop route is not the recommended one.   For most hikers, we suggest going up the main trail to a viewpoint and return the same way for a steep, but rewarding hike.   There is a better loop, with a good mountain bike trail (Dead Coyote) coming down from the top 1 km farther along the Escarpment, information to be provided in an article to be published soon.

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