Larkspur to Empress Ridge Ramble

April 22, 2023

~ submitted by Matthew Lettington

The Sooke hills trip was a real day to soak up the west coast sunshine. The winding route took us up and over Larkspur, Rick Peak, Marys Peak, Puzzle and Screen Hill.

The route follows every manner of trail: well trodden, washed out watercourse, aesthetic single track, old road. There are and even a few spots where only the faintest remains of track are visible under a thick layer of furry moss that subsumed the small cairns that dot the lesser travelled routes.

Though I planned a particular route, we got turned around a bit and rerouted to do parts of the route in reverse. By the time we reached the base of Empress we’d done 1300 metres of elevation gain and we all decided Empress wasn’t worth the effort required (we’d all done it before).

Empress marked the halfway point for the route. I was a bit worried that we’d have a lot more elevation to do on the return, but we managed sufficiently to avoid too much more gain. By the time we reaches the car we had covered 27km and 1450 metres elevation gain.

It was a great day and I highly recommend this route with the caveat that you should have good navigation skills for when there is no trail.

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