Leather, ankle-covering, stiff-soled hiking boots are highly recommended for this one. Rubber palmed gloves and a rock helmet would also be a good idea. Stoneworks Canyon is wedged between Mount Lady MacDonald and Squaw’s Tit. The canyon can be accessed several ways and all of them lead to the foot-pounding hike up the rocky bed of Stoneworks Creek. On the map Stoneworks Canyon is at photo bottom right. My access this day will be via the Meander Trail and across a very well established but unmarked trail to Johnny’s Trail, bypassing the Cross Zee Horseback Riding Ranch. Another alternative is up Stoneworks Creek which requires navigating fences near the beginning.
The route on Stoneworks Creek is rugged but straightforward. Elevation gain is gradual and consistent. There are trails, periodically, along one side of the creek bed, or the other, to reduce the impact of the ankle-pounding hike over uneven rock.
The entrance to Stoneworks Canyon appears suddenly. The route finding and rock hopping begins between steep canyon walls worn smooth by centuries of powerful water and tumbling boulders. Navigation through the second narrow section reveals a shallow cave to the left.
The third narrow canyon section opens into a more open area passing Weird Wall on the left. It begins to rain so instead of continuing on to the steeper scramble on wet rock to the right I make my retreat. Stoneworks Canyon is a cool alternative on a hot day and provides a stark alternative to typical trail. There is always that sense of discovery around the next corner. Although I am hiking solo, I recommend at least two persons would be a better choice. Three is ideal. In the event of injury, there is one to stay and one to go for help.
As I exit Stoneworks Canyon, the rain ends and I work my way down Stoneworks Creek using shoreline trails, when and where available, and hopping over rocks as required. Further down, the trail is flagged on creek bed for part of the distance until Johnny’s Trail takes me past the junctions with the Montane Traverse. I request and receive permission to hike through the Cross Zee Ranch to return to Palliser Trail then hike the bicycle path back to the parking area under sunny skies with fabulous mountain views of both sides of the Bow Valley Corridor at Canmore, Alberta.