The Boulder Gardens trail leads onto the southeast slopes of Mount Babcock, passing through a landscape of towering rock pinnacles. Some simple rock scrambling is necessary in places.
The dome shaped mass of Mount Babcock has been explored for its coal since the 1970’s, and Quintette Operating Corporation mined for 3 years on its northwest side. The top of the mountain is composed of a thick bed of resistant sandstone. This has slid on the underlying softer shales. Pieces of the sandstone have broken off, forming a labyrinth of large blocks that is known as the Boulder Gardens.
The circular route is best hiked in a counterclockwise direction. It passes through an other-worldly landscape strewn with rock pillars, slabs, and boulders. There are many cracks and crevices between the rocks, so it is advised to stick to the trail and supervise kids carefully. There are two short, interesting side trails: the Chimney Rock side trail leads up a narrow but safe chimney to an impressive view site. The Lichen Towers side trail leads into the heart of one of the most spectacular tower areas.
The route then climbs gently to Boulder Tarn, an exquisite small lake nestling in between the bluffs. Pancake Rocks represent a chaotic assemblage of thin bedded boulders. The Grassi Grind follows the safest route up through a challenging scree and boulder slope. This section ends in a narrow crack. This is the highest point of the circular route, which descends from here through a beautiful dry valley with more views, caves, and boulders. http://www.wnms.ca