Minna Ridge is a south central Vancouver Island day hike well known for it’s alpine meadows, wild flowers, tarns and stunning views. Located just south of Highway 4 between Port Alberni and Qualicum this popular day hike tops the list of many avid outdoor enthusiasts.
Minna Ridge Day Hike Overview
- Access : 22km active logging roads from Highway 4
- Hike : 10km with 760m elevation gain (Min Elevation @ 884m / Max Elev @ 1415m)
- Time : 6 hours for a moderate pace with lunch at summit
- Difficulty : no technical terrain or challenges other than fitness
- Highlights : wildflowers, alpine tarns, 360 degree views
- When : Early summer when tarns are full and flowers blooming or late fall as the colors begin to change
- Cautions : Be aware of fire restrictions and logging road gate closures
Driving Instructions for Minna Ridge
Access for this hike is accomplished via access on Island Timberlands logging roads. It is important before setting out on this trip to check on gate open and close times as well if there are current closures. At the time of writing this article the gates are currently open weekends and holidays but weekday access is prohibited. More information can be found on the Island Timberlands blog HERE .
The start of the off-highway travel begins by leaving Highway 4 between Port Alberni and Cathedral Grove just west of the Alberni Summit. Turn south onto the Loon Lake Main connector and travel a few minutes until you hit the main road. Here turn left onto Cameron Main or often referred to as the Old Arrowsmith Ski Road. Travel for 19 kms making sure to take the right at Cameron Main spur 27.4 . Here you will cross the Cameron River and near your destination. About 350m up the road will be a spur road on your right. Turn right and then proceed 200m further you will park here for Camma Ridge trailhead. There is just enough of a parking spot in the start of overgrown spur road on your right. This is the trailhead for Camma Ridge.
You can visit my ViewRanger account and follow the link below to view and download the gps track for navigational ease.
** In the google map below the route terminates at the last logging road spur that you need to turn right onto and go another 200m to the parking for the trailhead.
I prefer the Camma Ridge access to Minna Ridge as it adds a little distance to the hike and is a beautiful trail. If you want to access via Minna Ridge direct park 100m after yellow bridge. On the right side of the road you can park and hike up the first overgrown spur. (About 200m before the spur road you went up for Camma Ridge)
Minna Ridge trail via Camma Ridge Guide
From where you would have parked there is a small logging road spur on the right side of the road with overgrown alders. From here hike to the end of the road through the faint trail for a few minutes until you reach the start of the flagged trailhead on your left.
This is the start of Camma Ridge that makes it’s way through the old growth forest on a well maintained trail. Now this portion of the hike is the biggest workout as you continually climb in elevation to the alpine. Eventually making it’s way out of the forest the trail pops out onto a unique rock slab covered terrain. Here you can easily follow the well stacked cairns to the end of the ridge.
At the end of the ridge you get a great view of an dense forest below in the gully that separates Camma from Minna Ridge. The trail now drops down about 70m of elevation to the bottom of the saddle where you will begin your hike of Minna Ridge.
Follow the well worn trail up the otherside of the gully upwards continually on the ridge. The trail is well worn, although where not obvious just watch for flagging or cairns. Once onto the ridge you will begin working your way up and down the rocky bluffs and around the countless lakes and tarns. For the ridge you can’t really get too far off the route as long as you maintain the highest point as you go.
The ridge terminates in a very large stacked rock cairn on a rock outcropping but continue another 100m to reach the end of the ridge. Here you will have unobstructed views of Mount Arrowsmith, Mount Moriarity and Mount McQuillan that surround Minna Ridge. On a very clear day you can even see north into Strathcona Park with the likes of the Comox Glacier. Or west you can clearly see Triple Peak, 5040, Nahmint, Klitsa and more.
Hiking back out for Minna Ridge is an in and out retracing your steps. I would reccomend taking an alternate route on the opposite side of the large lake and tarns that you took on the way in. This will provide unique alternate views of the ridge as you make your way out. Back down the gully and regaining elevation on Camma Ridge, hiking out you will enjoy views of Mt Moriarity in your direct line of sight.
I have uploaded my GPS track from our hike of Camma and Minna ridge on my Viewranger account. Follow the link below.
Minna Ridge Day Hike Photos
Enjoy a selection of photos I took from our hike of the ridge that day. It was Thanksgiving weekend in October as the Fall colours had just begun to change.
As with all hikes please let someone know where and when you will be hiking with a planned check in time. Of course be sure to practice Leave No Trace principles and always ensure you have your hiking essentials.
I really hope you found this guide to hiking Camma and Minna Ridge helpful. Have you hiked here before? If you haven’t hiked it before and do get out to hike there be sure to come back and leave a comment. I would love to hear how your day went. Have anything to add to this guide? Let me know that too. Cheers ~ Chris
This information is recalled from my trips to the best of my knowledge. Readers use this information at their own discretion and risk. Have fun and be safe.