Forget-Me-Not Mountain – Kananaskis Country – Hiking Alberta

Forget-Me-Not Mountain is a perennial favourite and an excellent mountain for pre-season conditioning.  Located at the end of Hwy 22X/66, the mountain is surrounded by Powderface Ridge, Nihahi Ridge, and the impressive range on the other side of Elbow Valley.  Parking is located at the entrance to the Big Elbow Backcountry Campground in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

Forget-Me-Not Mountain - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Heading towards Forget-Me-Not Mountain with Nihahi Ridge in the background

Forget-Me-Not Mountain - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Ridge – The summit is tucked in behind.

After crossing the pink suspension bridge over the Elbow River, we hang a quick left and hike towards Forget-Me-Not Ridge alongside the Elbow River.  The Little Elbow River is a dry, rocky plain so we are quickly onto the old fire road called Wild Horse Trail.  In early spring it can be a challenge to cross the river.  There is a cairn at the junction of our trail, on the right, but it is often overgrown with shrubbery so careful observation is required.  The elevation gain is aggressive through forest with an occasional opening for the developing vistas.

Forget-Me-Not Mountain - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

View from Forget-Me-Not Mountain back towards Nihahi Ridge

The small, pristine, aquamarine Forget-Me-Not Pond, becomes a tiny speck as we slug our way up the mountain.  As the trees thin, the trail skirts cliff edges for expensive views of Powderface Ridge, Prairie Mountain and Moose Mountain along the borders of Elbow Valley.

Forget-Me-Not Mountain - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Steep, rocky trail on the approach to Forget-Me Not Ridge

At upper elevation, snow over rocky trail requires attention but soon Mélanie and I arrive on top of Forget-Me-Not Ridge.  Scree formations on a section of this ridge are fascinating.  Centuries of weather, combined with erosion and freezing and thawing, have created unique, tiny sculptures scattered over the surface.  The short flat, hike on the ridge travels through a short, forested section then a left turn leads to the final, brief and moderate, scree approach to the first summit cairn.  The top is cool and breezy.  The views are spectacular.

Forget-Me-Not Mountain - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Melanie at the first summit of Forget-Me-Not Mountain overlooking Elbow Valley

Forget-Me-Not Mountain - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Barry at Forget-Me-Not Mountain summit with Nihahi Ridge in the background

Forget-Me-Not Mountain - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Melanie with a background view of Nihahi Ridge’s 12 KM summit.

The top of Forget-Me-Not Mountain is the shape of a giant U.  The true summit, at the other end of the U, is 9 feet higher than where we are standing.  It is a pleasant, flat walk, predominantly over scree, and welcome relief from the climb.  Midway, a large boulder provides an excellent shelter from the cool breeze and is a traditional place for lunch.  Across the valley to the west, there is a phenomenal mountain landscape.

Forget-Me-Not Mountain - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Melanie midway on Forget-Me-Not Mountain for lunch and shelter.

Forget-Me-Not Mountain - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Barry packing up for the hike on top to the true summit of Forget-Me-Not Mountain

Forget-Me-Not Mountain - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Melanie with a background view of Nihahi Ridge’s 12 KM summit.

Forget-Me-Not Mountain - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Photo L to R – Outlaw Peak, Banded Peak, Mount Cornwall, Mount Glasgow

At the other end of the U is the true 2,338 m (7,671 ft) summit, once the location of a fire lookout between 1952 and 1975.  Following a brief interlude for customary summit photos we begin the return hike the way we came.

Forget-Me-Not Mountain - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Barry at the true summit cairn of Forget-Me-Not Mountain

Forget-Me-Not Mountain - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

The beginning of the off trail descent into Little Elbow Valley

As we approach the centre of the U, Mélanie expresses a desire to drop off the side of the mountain to off-trail back via the bottom of the adjacent valley.  Having never attempted this route, I am reluctant.  If we reach an impasse it will be necessary to climb back out, possibly jeopardizing the confines of short daylight hours.  Nothing ventured: nothing gained.  We make a lateral, reasonably angled descent into the bottom of the valley.

Forget-Me-Not Mountain - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Mélanie absorbing the view on the off trail descent of Forget-Me-Not Mountain

Forget-Me-Not Mountain - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Mélanie smiling prior to the battle through rugged wilderness at the valley bottom

The bottom of the valley is dense brush in variable snow depth with a partially frozen creek at the centre.  Traversing back and forth across the creek we work our way through the path of least resistance.  It is a robust workout as we battle our way through dense underbrush.  Direction is determined by surrounding landmarks when they are visible.  As a light snowfall begins we enter an alcove surrounded on both sides by steep rock walls and encounter fresh cougar tracks.  Large, warm paws have left fresh snow unblemished.  We are being watched.  The experience is not reciprocal.

Forget-Me-Not Mountain - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Entering a short canyon on the off trail route off Forget-Me-Not Mountain.

Forget-Me-Not Mountain - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Barry at the canyon location of fresh cougar tracks

As we extricate ourselves from the off-trail adventure, we arrive back at the main access trail and find the only footsteps in the snow are the ones we made ourselves in early morning.

Forget-Me-Not Mountain - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Mélanie at the end of off-trail in heavier snowfall

This day we owned Forget-Me-Not Mountain and as we make the short hike back to the car in heavier snowfall and dramatic light from a setting sun, we revel in the success of this very special, exciting and physically demanding day.

Forget-Me-Not Mountain - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

The sunset view from the dry Little Elbow riverbed at day’s end. Spectacular!

This entry was posted in Kananaskis Country and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Forget-Me-Not Mountain – Kananaskis Country – Hiking Alberta

  1. June says:

    This is a stirring account of your adventure. I am pleased that those pussy-footing paws only left their prints. You probably looked to be too large for a snack on that day.

    • Thank you, June. It is not uncommon to see cat tracks in the wilderness. It is very special to actually see one, but the animals are naturally timid. Humans are not the prey of choice and there are plenty of natural selection alternatives. With two of us present there is virtually no threat. I have taken many to the summits of Forget-Me-Not Mountain. It is always a special hike of unique features. This particular trip with one of my best hiking partners was outstanding due to the successful negotiation of the off trail through Cougar Valley, a route I had not previously attempted.

  2. Pingback: Forget-Me-Not Mountain – Kananaskis – Hiking Alberta

  3. Pingback: Powderface Ridge – Michael’s Summit – Hiking Alberta

  4. Pingback: Forget-Me-Not Pond - Kananaskis - Hiking Alberta

  5. Pingback: Coal Creek Ice Climb - Sheep River - Hiking Alberta

  6. Pingback: Forget-Me-Not Pothole - Kananaskis - Hiking Alberta

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge