As spring approaches, the lower south-facing slopes clear of snow first, but the hills above with no tree cover follow shortly afterward. Within two weeks after we can hike on the lower Barren Hills, the upper Barren Hills can also be hiked but hikers will face a bit of snow and mud on the north side of hills or in sheltered gullies. The winter of 2016 – 2107 was a longer one for snowfall so we did not hike these trails until mid-March. The double tracks in the first 2 km were reasonably dry, but there was some snow on the north side of the upper hills.The mountain biking community have developed some single tracks in the area, but we have been hiking the double tracks for 4 decades so we stuck to our established route. There are a few new signs at junctions in these hills, with new names like Bighorn Loop (Upper Barren Hills) and Cow a Been Here (Batchelor Pass). A map of the single track trails is available through Tourism Kamloops (link).
From the top of the hills we have views east to the Batchelor Range.
The earliest color on the hills are the bracts of this plant, followed by sage buttercups within 2 weeks. Although it resembles lamb’s ears, we haven’t yet found the right identification for it.
The rugged hills of the southern end of the Batchelor Range stand in front of Mt. Peter and Mt. Paul to the east. Mount Mara lies to the west.
By the end of March these trails will be all dray and the lower grasslands wildflowers will be in bloom. We will return to the Upper Barren Hills to watch the meadowlarks and grasslands birds and to spot buttercup, yellow bells, lemonweed, and spring beauties.