10 Great Hikes in Kananaskis Elbow - Hiking Alberta


The following links feature hikes in the Elbow Valley region of Kananaskis Country, west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



When you look forward to hiking in the mountains, this post presents a few great early season hikes within a short distance from Calgary, Alberta.  Highway 22x, along the bottom of Calgary, provides quick and easy access to Kananaskis Country

Past the Highway 22 north turnoff to Bragg Creek (a great stop for refreshment), Highway 22x becomes Hwy 66.  Soon, arrival at the Elbow Valley Visitor Information Centre reminds it is always a good idea to stop and check current conditions for the planned hike.

Inside Kananaskis Country, part of Highway 66 is open year round and part is closed by gate from December 1 to May 14.  This is done to protect wildlife corridors, to reduce the need to clear roller-coaster mountain roads and to reduce public exposure to avalanche risk.  The following links to hikes are separated into two distinct groups:

Before the Gate and After the Gate.


Click on the red links to access more detailed information about the hike.


Before the Gate:

Access year round:

1.   Fullerton Loop


Fullerton Loop


2.   Moose Mountain


Moose Mountain


3.   Ings Mine


Ings Mine at Canyon Creek


4.   Ice Caves


Moose Mountain Ice Cave


The Prairie Mountain and Beaver Flat hikes are included in 'Before the Gate' because the trail-heads are a very short walk past the gate in winter and spring.


5.   Prairie Mountain


Prairie Mountain


6.   Beaver Flats


Beaver Flat


After the Gate:

Access between May 15 and November 30:


7.   Powderface Ridge


Powderface Ridge


8.   Forget-Me-Not Mountain


Forget-Me-Not Mountain


9.   Elbow Loop


(portion or on a mountain bike)


Elbow Loop


10.   Nihahi Creek


Nihahi Creek


Before beginning 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.







Glad to hear you passed on your affinity for the wilderness to your daughters. Major lifelong gift. Hope they do the same for their families. Until this past summer I have not hiked in David Thompson Country. What a gem in the rough that is. Glad you experienced Siffleur Falls. It is an incredible hike that requires a lot of respect. Fascinating experience and the war memorials at the trailhead seem fitting but I am not sure exactly why. Strong emotions on this hike. Powerful beauty. Thanks for your comment, Andrew.

I lucked upon your Site whilst trying to look for a good Hike 'n bike idea along the Spray Lakes Road. Very impressed with your descriptions and photo's, and of course your wealth of experience. We have hiked for years with our 2 lovely daughters; now that they are 15 and 18, they actually enjoy and welcome the experience! Very happy to see your "Ice Cave" hike; we hiked there in the early 90's and tried last year, but with the road now gated, we were at a loss. Hiked Siffleur Falls with young children (very cautiously)!

Hi Barry, I love your blog! Lots to learn from your many years experience. I have 2 questions for you and hope that you may have some recommendations. 1. My friend and I are from Edmonton but would like to do a beginner hike with our dogs (off-leash if possible) in the foothills/mountains. We'd be looking to do a day trip only but don't mind a 3 hour drive or so to get there. Which would you recommend? 2. I am going to Canmore at the end of July and have time for a hike there. I haven't hiked much in this area; which day hike would you recommend as a must-do? I'm fine with a half/full day, easy to moderate (I've hiked Heart Mountain and found that scramble to be deadly and difficult!). Elevation gain would be nice too for pictures! Any insight would be much appreciated! Thank you very much, Lauren

Thank you for your kind words, Lauren.  I am not going to be of much help here but the Alberta Visitor Centre at the west side of Canmore will be an important resource for you.  The trail options in Canmore are extensive and a couple of opportunities come to mind.  I have no idea which trails are dog friendly but they will be able to help you sort that out in just a few minutes.  If you check the Canmore category on the blog, there will be a list.  Also, you should acquire a Canmore Gem Trek map and review the trail recommendations on the back.  Good luck.  Happy trails and stay safe.