Ruckel Ridge Hike

Cal04.Ruckel-420x560Ruckel Ridge Hike is one of my All-Time Favorites.

If timed correctly, the parade of flowers extends from trailhead to trailhead. I’ve never compiled a plant list but that would be a great idea. It’d be quite long. From lower-elevation woodlands, basalt cliffs, oak-savannah, wet mossy springs, upper elevation near-alpine communities and then back down. There’s only a few dull moments along the way during those critical few weeks of spring if you’re at all interested in flowering plants.


  • The Ruckel Ridge Hike trail is unofficial. There are no signs.
  • Take the 10 essentials.
  • If you miss the peak bloom week(s), or are looking for grand vistas, it’ll be more of a workout than you may prefer.
  • Anyone with a fear of heights shouldn’t even attempt the “trail” which at times is a bit of a scramble or narrow with drop offs. In the photo above, I am actually on the trail. It gets much narrower and steeper.
  • People get lost crossing the Benson Plateau, especially if there is snow (which there will likely be if the plants below are in top bloom); carry a good map. Be on the lookout for the Ruckel Creek trail which you need to take back down. If you miss this trail, you’re in a wilderness.
  • Crossing Ruckel Creek in high water can be dangerous. Be careful.
  • Don’t attempt this hike in sketchy weather. Going down the ridge in wet conditions is not advised.
  • Please don’t take dogs on this trail; or if you do, keep them on a leash.


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