Location: South of Longview take Hwy 22 to Hwy 532 (Johnson Creek Trail), 13km just before Willow Creek Bridge
Elevation: 250 m (820 ft)
Length: Roughly 9km
Time: 3 – 4 hours
Difficulty: Moderate – Difficult (Not well signed, need a topo map and compass or GPS)
The Indian Graves Ridge Trail is a rarely used trek just south of the town of Longview close to the Indian Graves Campground. This loop hike starts off about 12 or so metres before the Willow Creek Bridge on the north side of Highway 532. Many old sources said to look for a red gate, don’t do that. It’s been replaced by a wooden gate that is fairly easy to spot all the same.
I highly recommend starting the trail to the left along Willow Creek and building up to the ridge at the end. I found it more rewarding this way. Walk 1.3 km along a small road that is often used for equestrian trails until you see a path leading through the trees due North. It’s a bit hard to spot in the tall grass so pay close attention.
Once you find it, it will take you on a slow incline through tall grass and wildflowers on an old, unused road for 3.1 km. This was the least exciting part of the hike but also probably the easiest. Watch out for Hog Weed (or Cow parsnip) along this portion, and the hike overall really, it was very abundant. Hog Weed is an invasive species and can burn and blister the skin if touched.
Eventually, this portion of the trail leads to the next leg, which is again a bit hard to spot, as well as some gorgeous views of the surrounding valleys. You should get to a barbed wire fence and the trail is running along side it heading South for 3.8 km. The trail becomes less open now, moving through the trees and inclining a bit more along the ridge. This is where it becomes a lot more interesting in my opinion. This is where we found both old and fresh bear scat, so be aware of that.
The grand finale was the last portion of the loop where you walk along the rocky ridge surrounded on all sides by unimpeded views of the prairies and mountains. There are tons of neat sandstone rock formations making this a nice spot to stop and rest for a bit before your descent. To get down there is a steep path on the left side of the ridge, again running along the barbed wire fence. It’s a bit treacherous, especially if it rained a bit so take your time. Make your way down the hill and through the trees and you’re done!
This hike wasn’t incredibly difficult, but the paths aren’t well signed and aren’t often used so you definitely need a map, compass and/or GPS to make sure you are on track. If you are not experienced I suggest picking a more defined trail so you don’t get lost.