The high area bounded by Tranquille River and the Dewdrop Range is called Red Plateau. Locals sometimes get mixed with the naming of these areas. The Red Lake Road (Tranquille – Criss Creek Road) climbs up through the hills on the west side of Tranquille River. Once up over the first set of bluffs, a benchland stretches west for 10 km. There are a number of hills and flats along the benchland which is called the Dewdrop Range. It is mostly rocky hills with grasslands and some forested areas on north slopes and in low spots. At the west end of the Dewdrop Range the benchland changes to steep the steep sideslopes of Rousseau Hill and the western edge of Red Plateau. Above the Dewdrop Range are the cliffs of the Red Plateau Escarpment. The cliffs are the result of Eocene Era lava flows from cones and vents near the top of Doherty Creek, Castle Butte, and Rousseau Hill.
From the Dewdrop Range the cliffs of the Red Plateau Escarpment rise up 800m (2600+ feet). Over the top of the Escarpment, the plateau is relatively level, then the north slopes head downward toward Tranquille Creek.
We can hike up to Red Plateau from the Dewdrop Range on the Dewdrop Trail. Recently two bike trails have been added (link). All are long climbs to the top. We can also access the area by the Red Plateau Forest Service Road which leaves the Red Lake Road at the Pimple. It is a good backroad, but care must be taken on the narrow, steep road in wet conditions. All hikes on top of the plateau are in dense forest with complex terrain.
We have hiked to the top of the escarpment many times and we have also traversed back roads and trails from the Red Plateau FSR. Recently mountain bikers have created a mountain bike route called the Dewdrop Traverse which incorporates back roads, the Dewdrop Trail (BC Forest Service), the Dewdrop Escarpment Trail (Kamloops Outdoor Club), old motorcycle tracks, and new mountain bike sections. The route goes all the way out to Hardie Hill from the Red Lake Road (near the Pimple). There is also a 4WD track that goes from the west end of the Dewdrop Range up into the hills just east of Rousseau Hill.
From atop Rousseau Hill, the view below is to the Dewdrop Range with battle Bluff on the left. The Triassic lava flows (sills and dykes that formed Battle Bluff also formed the cliffs across the lake (Cherry Bluffs), but the rift between them collapsed through folding and faulting forces and was subsequently eroded, later to become Kamloops Lake.
Most of the east end of the of the Dewdrop and Red Plateau area is part of Lac du Bois Grasslands Park and now the western end is part of the Dewdrop – Rousseau Wildlife Protected Area. A large section of the plateau west of the Park boundary has been logged as is shown in the satellite image.
For most hikers and mountain bikers, the Dewdrop Range offers good access to backcountry areas. The upper reaches of Red Plateau, though, require additional attributes – fitness, endurance, navigation skills with route-finding, and resourcefulness because it is wilderness, unsigned, rugged, and demanding.