Next to Mount Swansea, Pedley Pass is perhaps the most popular hike in the Invermere area, and for good reason. 1. Close to Invermere; 2. First 1000 m. of elevation are gained by 4x4; 3. A relatively short hiking circuit recently upgrade by STMS, with spectacular views, that can be managed in 3-4 hours.
Getting there is very simple; start at the CertainTeen maintenance shop near the Mount Swansea turn off, then stay on the main road for the next 16 km to the parking lot. The road narrows to a single track at the mine. It is a rough dirt road where having a high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle is a must. The two ends to the loop-trail start on either side of the parking lot. Early in the season it might be best to take the left-hand trail from the parking lot since its western exposure means the snow will disappear sooner. For this guided tour we’ll start with the original trail on the right-hand side which leads up to Bumpy Meadows before getting to the pass, a mere 290 meters above the trailhead. From here you have a choice: go right up onto a ridge then down to a small lake. If you take this route, look for fossils on the last little rise to the lake, and remember, please be respectful by leaving any fossils you may find for others to enjoy. From the pass this is an out-and-back hike of just over 2 km return. While not described here, another possible hike in this area is Mount Aeneas. This is a steep hike for more experienced hikers where route-finding skills are required.
The hike to the lake can be a picturesque little side trip once you are at the pass, however the trail with the best views is the loop, which goes to the left. From the pass this trail is a steady climb to a knoll, which is the perfect spot for lunch. Looking just a little east of true north, you have an incredible view of Mount Assiniboine (the highest peak in the southern Rockies). To the east on the skyline and on the other side of the Kootenay River are the jagged peaks of the Royal Group. From here the trails makes a slight drop before climbing the last ascent onto the ridge. This may seem a little daunting from the knoll, however once you start, the 1.2 km to the top of the ridge disappear quicker than you would think. The panoramic view of the Rocky Mountains and the Purcell Mountains from the ridge-top is not to be missed. With binoculars you can pick out peaks in the Bugaboos. At the highest point you have gained 450 meters from the parking lot. Once you have had your fill of the magnificent views, follow the trail along the ridge descending to tree-line where you will pick up a more distinct trail to the left taking you back to the parking lot. This is definitely one of those “once is not enough” hikes. Enjoy your time in the mountains.