West Wind Pass is an enjoyable hike, perfect for a day out of the city. It starts off near Spray Lakes Reservoir so you can skip some stones after the hike. The trail goes steadily upwards for the most part as it leads to the pass. Even on warm days, a wind breaker is strongly recommended as there are times when the wind does blow substantially through the pass, especially if you like to wander and explore the high spots to really get a good view.
The Spray Lakes Reservoir was formed along the Spray River by a string of lakes. When the Spray River was damned, the lakes were converged and united into the Spray Lakes Reservoir. The following creeks and rivers feed the lake:
- Byrant Creek
- Currie Creek
- Smuts Creek
- Spray River
- Spurling Creek
- Turbulent Creek
- Watridge Creek
The lake follows the Highway 742 and lies between the Three Sisters Ridge and Goat Range.
West Wind Pass is also the starting point for two scrambles, the Rimwall Summit and Windtower scramble. Some say that West Wind Pass received its name due to how windy it can get at the pass but in actuality the name comes from West Wind Creek below the pass. Further information on the history of the surrounding area was difficult to find. Both Rimwall Summit and Wind Tower are unofficially named peaks and therefore information on any early explorers traveling through the area was not readily available at the time of writing.
West Wind Pass Trip Log
Once parked, the unmarked trailhead is directly across the road. There is an obvious path leading into the trees, just to left of the creek.
Soon after you start, the trail gains a bit of elevation rather quickly before settling at a more gentle grade.
There are numerous gaps in the trees and a couple small viewpoints that you come across as you trek upwards. They offer you a great view of Spray Lakes Reservoir and the nearby peaks.
As you progress along, there is only a couple times were the trail levels off or actually loses elevation. This is nice on one hand since the way back is generally all downhill. The elevation loss that does occur on the ascent is minimal.
As you approach the pass, there are a series of switchbacks that make the elevation gain easier. You are very close to the end at this point.
As you reach the summit the view opens up in front of you as you can now peer over the pass and into the valley below. The Wind Tower and Rimwall summit tower over on each side as the wind gets funneled through the pass. Wind speeds can be pretty excessive here due to the venture effect. The day I took the panorama, the wind speeds were so great that I could barely stand up one of the high spots. In generally the previous times I have been to the pass, the wind was much more manageable and not much more then a breeze.
Return the same way back down.
GPS Plotted Route
The trail is rather simple to follow; there are a couple times that it splits into two, but rejoins together soon after. As long as you stay clear of the ridge that is on the left side which is the start point for the Rimwall Summit scramble, the route is fairly straight forward.
The GPS seems to start about 600m into the hike for some reason. As you can see the elevation is generally steady upwards with only a few small hills. The steep knob on the top is from me reaching a high point in the pass to take the panorama.
Click here to download the GPS route in GPX format. You may have to right click and select "Save Link As" if your browser does not download it automatically. Be sure to save it as a .gpx file.
What were your experiences hiking West Wind Pass?
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