Cox Hill - Kananaskis Country - Hiking Alberta

 

Cox Hill is a landmark between foothills and mountains west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

 

There are several ways to hike to the top of Cox Hill.  The most common route is from Dawson Trailhead on the Powderface Trail via the Tom Snow trail.  This days chosen alternative will utilize the Jumpingpound Ridge trail further south near Lusk Pass with a pullout for parking at the trail sign. 

Along the drive west from Calgary, south and west on the Sibbald Creek Trail (Hwy 68) and south on Powderface Trail, there are good views of Moose Mountain and nearby Cox Hill in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Cox Hill - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Moose Mountain on photo left and Cox Hill on the right from Sibbald Creek Trail

 

Cox Hill - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Cox Hill from Sibbald Creek Trail in the Alberta Foothills

 

Cox Hill - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Sibbald - Jumpingpound Trail Sign

 

The deceptive trail sign shows a straight line ascent.  After crossing the creek, the excellent trail ascends a steep slope on long, broad, well-graded switchbacks.

 

Cox Hill - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Crossing the wooden bridge over Jumpingpound Creek at trail beginning on the way up to Jumpingpound Ridge

 

Cox Hill - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Wide, excellent, well-graded trail ascends on many switchbacks up the side of Jumpingpound Ridge

 

Near the top of the ridge, the trail levels and straightens over terrain reminiscent of ancient glacial moraine travelling through pine forest on the right and spruce forest on the left with sunlight through trees creating shadows over substantial dead-fall in a mesmerizing and artistic display prior to arriving at the top of the ridge.

 

Cox Hill - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A trail view from the ascent of Jumpingpound Ridge over to Cox Hill, Alberta, Canada

 

Cox Hill - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The trail sign at the T-Junction about midway near the top of Jumpingpound Ridge

 

To the right is Jumpingpound Ridge which leads to the summit of Jumpingpound Mountain.  To the left, Cox Hill Ridge leads to the summit of Cox Hill.

 

Cox Hill - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The beginning of descent into a valley (estimated loss of elevation - 950 ft) on the route towards Cox Hill in the distance.

 

Cox Hill - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Views along Cox Hill Ridge on the trail to the summit of Cox Hill.

 

Cox Hill - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Views along Cox Hill Ridge on the trail to the summit of Cox Hill.

 

Cox Hill - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Making the final approach to the summit of Cox Hill at 2,220 meters (7,283 ft)

 

Cox Hill - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A view of Moose Mountain from the summit of Cox Hill in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Cox Hill will forever be associated with Memorial Lakes when a plane went down near here on June 14, 1986 in the search for Orval Pall and Ken Wolff who crashed their Twin Otter plane in horrific weather near Guinn's Pass.

 

Cox Hill - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A view towards Jumpingpound Mountain and the Fisher Range beyond

 

Cox Hill - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A view towards Jumpingpound Mountain and the Fisher Range beyond

 

Cox Hill - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A final view towards Moose Mountain prior to the return hike by the same route

 

Cox Hill - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Buddy 'squirrel' tries to convince me to stay by placing his full body weight on my hiking poles

 

 

Cox Hill, Powderface Trail, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

The return hike is outstanding in the late afternoon sun.  The slog through the valley is predictable as expected and the even, downhill grade on the switchbacks is welcome.

 

Cox Hill - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A view of Jumpingpound Mountain from the top of the valley.

 

Cox Hill - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Tapestries of light and shadow over dead-fall in pine forest

 

The day has warmed up substantially and a thermos of ice water mixed with Crystal Light Pink Lemonade, carefully kept chilled in the trunk of the car, hits the spot on the drive back to Calgary.

 

 

 

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Comments

I am not a trail runner however, the danger of an unfortunate encounter with any animal is exacerbated by the element of surprise. There are countless articles on bear awareness including a post on my blog. Bears wander. That is what they do. They are opportunistic feeders and defend their young and their territory. You can check for trail alerts before you begin. If you make a lot of noise, bears will generally go out of their way to avoid contact. I make a lot of noise. I generally hike solo so the risk is increased. I have never had a problem but unfortunate incidents can happen. You will be moving at higher speed. This will increase the risk factor. I suggest you ask this same question on a blog called Banff Trail Trash who are trail runners extraordinaire. They will be better qualified than I am and may be able to counsel you on the very best trails for your level of expertise.

Good morning, I live in Scotland but plan to go to Canada (Banff) on holiday next year. When trail running, are there any problems with bears or other aggressive "beasties"? Regards Alfie

Hello, I wanted to know if there is an ideal time to do this hike? Wanting to do it this month-- but not sure if it will be safe or if it will be open. Thanks Abi

Cox Hill is best done in the summer when trails are dry.  To do the trail from Dawson Creek within the next month you will likely need cleats and snowshoes.  Past experience will also be important.  Suggest you drop into the Barrier Lake Visitor Information Centre to review your plan.  Or, you can call them at 403-673-3985.  You will need to know trail condition, snow depths and weather for your trek.  Remember limited daylight and make sure you have all the necessary gear and layers to complete the hike during the weather for the day.  Good luck.  Excellent hike.  Ensure the road is open.

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