If you look forward to hiking in the mountains, this post presents a few great early season hikes within easy access of Calgary, Alberta.
Hwy 22x, along the bottom of Calgary, provides quick and easy access to Kananaskis Country. Past the Hwy 22 north turnoff to Bragg Creek (a great stop for refreshment), Hwy 22x becomes Hwy 66 west. Soon you will arrive at the Elbow Valley Visitor Information Centre. It is always a good idea to stop and check current conditions for the planned hike.
Inside Kananaskis Country, part of Hwy 66 is open year round and part is closed by gate from December 1 to May 14. This is done to protect wildlife corridors, reduce the need to clear rollercoaster mountain roads and reduce public exposure to avalanche risk. Therefore, I have separated these few hikes into two distinct groups: Before the Gate and After the Gate.
Before the Gate:
The Prairie Mountain and Beaver Flat hikes are included in ‘Before the Gate’ because the trailheads are a very short walk past the gate in winter and spring.
After the Gate: Access between May 15 and November 30
Elbow Loop (portion or on a mountain bike)
Before you begin any hike, consult a good hiking guide, obtain current conditions from the Visitor Centre and tell someone where you are going and how long you expect to be there. On completion, call to tell them you have completed your day hike. An area trail map is always a good idea.
There is a huge assortment of hikes in this Elbow Valley area. Only a tiny portion of them are included here.
Stay safe, carry layers and pack everything you may need to enjoy a great day. Happy trails.