We started going up to the Ridge Lakes in about 1980 to do some early cross country skiing at 4820 – 5000 ft. We would put our skis on our shoulders and hike up to the snow. In mid-season we would ski from the Lac le Jeune Cross Country Trails (gone now) up to the trail next to the ski hill, and on an ambitious day we would ski over the ridge to the high point at 5200 feet and down to Mildred Lake and back, a 20 km workout, mostly on groomed trails. The groomed trails are gone, but some of the old routes can still be done, We mostly snowshoe to Ridge Lakes now, going up a newer user-made track from the end of Lac le Jeune Drive to the Ridge Lakes Road. Once on the plateau the various double tracks and single tracks are confusing and doing a loop route can be a challenge, but since we have left tracks, this 10 km loop is now stomped in for others to follow.
The trail goes east past a local pond, then starts to climb the hill through the lodgepole forest. The route crosses a fireguard open area on the way over the ridge. Some sun broke through the clouds in the earlier part of the 3.5 hour adventure.
By the time we got to the Ridge Lakes, the sky was grey and the light was grey over the lakes.
We continued on to the largest lake and had lunch while sitting on a log by the small rec site on the north shore of the lake.
On the way back we tried a route which we had mis-remembered (but we got the turn right to start with) and even BC Backroads Mapbook GPS map had it wrong. Some of the old tracks are just too blocked by windfall to allow passage. We ended doing a longer loop, but the weather was mild so we enjoyed the whole route. The 10.2 km route took about 3.5 hours with lots of breaking trail, a good test of fitness for our group. We will be back to do Ridge Lakes again in 2021.