Tibits Quarry – Canmore – Hiking Alberta

There is an excellent map available from the Alberta Visitor Centre on the west side of Canmore.  The map is called ‘Canmore Pathways and Trails’.

Access to the Visitor Centre is clearly marked on the TransCanada Highway.  It is worth a stop to speak with knowledgeable, friendly and helpful staff and to Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canadacollect documentation from a wealth of possibilities.  I have discovered several trail systems and historic locations I did not know existed within this pioneer town.  My objective today is to hike easy trails above Harvie Heights in the Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park.  The parking area is obvious on the Palliser Parkway and a metal trail map on a post is accompanied by the traditional trailhead sign.  The route I will take is comprised of four trails in the relative configuration of a rectangle.  They are the Ridge Traverse Trail, the Tibits Quarry Trail, the Montane Traverse Trail and the Meander Trail.  The combined distance is 7.2 KM (4.5 miles) on easy, excellent quality trail which is predominantly flat with minor, gentle  elevation on the Tibits Quarry and Meander trails.

Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada

The trailhead at the base of Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park with Princess Margaret Mountain in the background

The short 0.7 KM (0.4 mile) access leads to a left turn onto the 1.0 KM (0.625 mile) Ridge Traverse trail, on good surface, through forest with the occasional view to mountains on either side of Bow Valley.  Wildflowers are prolific with orange lilies stealing the show.  The Ridge Traverse trail travels through an old area of forest fire and skeletons of charred trees and stumps coexist with new growth forest.

Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada

The Ridge Traverse trail along the bottom between Meander and Tibits Quarry Trails

Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada

Wildflowers are prolific in the area but these orange lilies are plentiful and steal the show

Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada

Trail characteristics vary from one section to another. Wetlands nearby have affected this surface.

Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada

Wetland bog supports this fascinating carpet resembling green clouds with ‘floating’ logs

Along the Ridge Traverse trail there are open areas which provide mountain views.  At the trail T-junction a kilometre later, a right turn transfers me to the Tibits Quarry trail, predominantly in forest with a gradual and consistent uphill grade.  The single lane trail has small berms on either side which are overgrown with smaller trees, shrubbery and wildflowers so it is obvious that many years ago this was a road access to Tibits Quarry.  At the old, overgrown, rundle stone quarry site there are a myriad of side trails.  One short excursion to the left gains access to an open ridge with outstanding views into Banff National Park and the mountains on the other side of the Bow Valley.

Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada

A view from the Ridge Traverse trail to Princess Margaret Mountain and Squaws Tit

Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada

Gradually gaining elevation on the trail centred on the old road to Tibits Quarry

Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada

The remains of Tibits Quarry where rundle stone was extracted for building purposes

Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada

The remains of Tibits Quarry where rundle stone was extracted for building purposes

Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada

To the left of the quarry an open ridge provides an excellent view of Mount Rundle

Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada

To the left of the quarry an open ridge provides an excellent view of the Three Sisters

The Tibits Quarry trail turns right to cross the wide, dry, stony creek bed which originates from the draw between Princess Margaret Mountain and Squaw’s Tit which is really an outlier of Mount Charles Stewart.

Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada

A downstream view from the stony creek bed near Tibits Quarry across the Bow Valley Corridor to Mount Rundle

Caution must be exercised here.  The metal trail marker on the post shows the Tibits Quarry Trail turns right and becomes the Montane Traverse trail on the other side of the stony creek bed.  There are many trail starts on the other side.  This confusing situation forces me to head upstream until I find a credible trail which should be named, the Trail of Lost Souls.  It is rustic and overgrown.  I know it is not the Montane Traverse trail but I make an assumption this primitive trail will lead me there.  Wrong!  The trail eventually leaves the ridge and plummets the wrong direction into a valley, then into a very beautiful, wetland bog which tests my mettle.  Hopping over streams is involved.

Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada

My trail choice drops steeply into a valley which leads to a wetland bog and challenging terrain

The correct Montane Traverse trail must be further up the other side of the stony creek bed near Tibits Quarry, so be advised to search carefully for a very good quality trail and avoid my mistake.  Eventually I pop out onto an excellent trail and hike to the left.  A few minutes later I arrive at a trail junction and discover I am on the Meander Trail.  I have partially bisected the ‘rectangle with an angular route from Tibits Quarry to about half way up the Meander Trail.  There is an unmarked trail at the three-way junction.  I should mention there are a lot of unmarked trails but metal trail signs make the correct trail clear.

Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada

On the Meander Trail I continue left to hike the aptly named trail up to the Montane Traverse trail

The Meander Trail is aptly named.  The good path twists and turns its way upwards on a gentle grade.  Some of the turns are so tight I can see my fanny without turning my head.  I do intersect with the Montane Traverse trail and hike a short distance of it but resist the urge to hike the 1.5 KM (0.9 miles) back to Tibits Quarry to discover where the trail begins on the far side of the stony creek.  Instead I drop back down the Meander Trail to my car.  It is an excellent easy hike on very good trail which is predominantly through forest with the occasional view of mountains.  It is worth the time for fresh air, exercise and the wildflowers, especially those beautiful orange lilies.  Trust me.

Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park - Canmore ,Alberta, Canada

 

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4 Responses to Tibits Quarry – Canmore – Hiking Alberta

  1. Pingback: Stoneworks - Canmore - Hiking Alberta

  2. Sandra says:

    I am returning to Alberta for a holiday next year. I am Albertan but have lived in Oxford for 43 years. In the 1960′s my family bought slate from a quarry owner in Canmore, Alberta. He lived by the river where it bends and it flanked one side and the back of his property by a bridge. The quarry he took us to was not far. There was a stream which was fed by a step-waterfall so that it was possible to climb and then there would be a flat bit and then one would climb again. There were many fossils in the rocks. My brother and I climbed the waterfall whilest the parents were selecting the slate. I would dearly love to visit this site again. Is there a chance you know of it?
    Is it a bit of Mount Rundle? The back of the chap’s home faced towering cliffs. I would appreciate your help.

    • Thank you for your comment, Dr. Sandra. The quarries near Canmore, Alberta which I mention in two of my posts do not match the terrain you describe. I would like to tell you precisely where your quarry is located but the truth is, I do not know. I ask for assistance from my readers regarding the location of the quarry you mention. Here is the situation. Your description is reminiscent of several locations near Mount Rundle. The slate you mention is called ‘Rundlestone’ because great quantities of it are found near the base of Mount Rundle. Mount Rundle is a long mountain stretching many kilometres between Canmore and Banff Townsite. It has two sides; on the northeast in the Bow Valley and on the southwest in Goat Creek Valley. The detail you provide of the terrain is excellent. If you can remember and share more global information about location, that could be helpful. Also names of people could provide links and clues. You may provide the information in this forum if you wish. All comments are moderated and I edit for anonymity before the comments are published. Email addresses are kept private.

      And, BTW, we welcome you back to Canada and hope your visit will be hugely successful, amazingly productive and pleasant, and forever memorable. A lot has changed in 40 years but Alberta remains as spectacular as you remember.

    • To Sandra,

      In further review of your comment, I believe you are speaking of the Policeman’s Bridge, on what is currently 8 Ave. in Canmore, crossing the Bow River. I believe there is a good chance you are referring to climbing up Whiteman’s Creek, around and past the waterfalls to a flat plain area backed by the cliffs which are the sheer faces on Mount Lawrence Grassi and Chinaman’s Peak (now known as Ha Ling Peak). The only unknown is the site of the stone quarry. On the flat plain there is a recreational area containing Quarry Lake. My understanding is that Quarry Lake was originally part of an open pit coal mining operation. I am not aware of it ever being a stone quarry. If you examine the photographs on my Canmore’s Coal Mine # 1 post there may be some images there which appear familiar. Hope this helps.

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