Harper Ridge is really just the east end of the ridge that starts with Mt. Paul to the west. On the east end a lower ridge stands between Harper Ranch and the benchlands. The challenge is that access from the west is on the Kamloops Indian Reserve and access from the east is on private property, Harper Ranch. Access from the south is from Shuswap Road, but steep silt cliffs flank most of the road and there are some fencelines too. A couple of the gullies offer some opportunities, but the gullies are deeply eroded and difficult. Fortunately, there are a couple of routes up through the silt cliffs to the benchland above. This is grazing lease land so if cattle are out, give them a wide berth. This is also sage and grassland territory, the home of ticks in the spring.
There are many good views of the steep silt bluffs overlooking the South Thompson River.
The ridge above is grass-covered with trees on the steep north side. Views east of Harper Ranch and the grasslands extending up into the Pinantan Hills are best seen from any of a series of hilltops along the ridge.
Tucked away in the valley to the northwest is Harper Lake, still partly icebound in February. Draining out of Harper Lake is Harper Creek which runs down through Harper Ranch and then down a gully to the river.
The double track down is a longer, but quicker route from the ridge to the gullied southern ridge. The side road in the photo above goes to three transmission towers, offering another easy route to the rim. From the first tower, I angled right, following a ramp to the edge, then a short descent on a game trail to the lowest slopes. Castellated towers greet us on the edge of the benchland.
Anyone who chooses to try this route on foot should be respectful of grazing cattle, fences, and leave nothing but footprints. Anyone going east or west should first obtain permission from the landowners. On this last venture, I went up solo, mindful of property lines, working out a route that was safe. I encountered a small herd of horses and a small pack of rams on the ridge. The ticks were out in force on these south-facing sunny slopes. This is rugged terrain for those willing to work hard and navigate carefully.