Elbow Falls and nearby Beaver Lodge are perennial favorites in Kananaskis Elbow.
A friend and hiking partner is visiting Calgary from New Brunswick so a casual day is planned with two nature walks in Kananaskis Country, southwest of Calgary and west of Bragg Creek along Hwy 22x/66.
Both areas are clearly marked and easily accessible, on good, fairly level path with road side parking at each trail-head. The area is a peaceful, scenic and photographic paradise.
The first short hike will be a tour through the picnic grounds and easily accessible trails along the Elbow River to gain excellent views of Elbow Falls from the top of the canyon.
The next short hike will be a casual walking tour of the sheltered trails through Beaver Lodge, located on low land at the side of the Elbow River which hosts river tributaries and marsh land ideal for supporting colonies of beavers. The many beaver dams along the trail create an excellent educational experience. There is a large campground at the west end of the complex.
Nearly anyone can do these short hikes in beautiful terrain. It is best to avoid summer weekends and holidays unless you prefer crowds.
For general interest and comparison, two photos follow which show Elbow Falls near the peak of the July, 2005 floods that devastated the area.
Taking these photos of Elbow Falls during flood runoff was an amazing experience, in the roar of the water and the spray from the foam. No room for error.
Subsequent flooding in 2008 and 2013 have altered the nature of the falls but it remains a relaxing and beautiful place to visit, enjoy lunch and take a stroll along the river.