A lovely feeder trail to the Kettle Crest, Midnight Ridge boasts expansive views and impressive old growth western larch. With connections to other nearby trails, it's possible to hike Midnight Ridge in combination with other nearby trails to form longer loop routes.
The main access trailhead is located on the west side of the Kettle Crest at Lambert Horse Camp Campground, and is shared access to Old Stage No. 1 TH. There is a small primitive campground with a small stream and an outhouse at this location. From the TH begin with a ford of Lambert Creek and continue a few hundred feet. When the trail splits, note Old Stage No. 1 Trail to the right with a bridge over Lambert Creek, but stay straight/slight left and begin to ascend Midnight Ridge.
The trail climbs steadily over the next 4.5 miles until it reaches its junction with the Kettle Crest National Recreation Trail. Along the lower portions of the route it traverses beneath towering old growth western larch and Douglas fir forests with native grass and wildflower filled meadows with impressive views to the northwest. Along the upper reaches lodgepole pine and some aspen groves grow in closely obscuring some of the views until gaining the Kettle Crest at roughly 6000' elevation. This trail is best for early summer wildflowers and late fall colors as the larch and aspen turn gold. It's also especially nice near sunset since the views look mainly westward.
From the junction with the Kettle Crest hikers can choose to retrace their steps down the ridge. To create longer loop routes Midnight Ridge pairs well with both Lambert Trail (north on the Kettle Crest) and Old Stage Trail No. 1 (south on the Kettle Crest). Note that this is open range and cows may be present along the trail.