Wandering at Porcupine Creek to Kananaskis River in Kananaskis Country, Alberta.
Porcupine Creek is a short drive south on Kananaskis Trail. Access is available from the Baldy Pass trail-head or from Wasootch Creek but most people just park well off roadside at the clearly signed bridge over Porcupine Creek.
Traditionally the Porcupine Creek trail heads east from the bridge for 1.2 KM (¾ miles) before splitting into North or South Porcupine Creek. Both branches have been hiked in the past but today the hike will proceed west along the expansive Porcupine Creek delta to the Kananaskis River under the impressive east faces of 2,487 m (8160 ft) Mount Lorette and adjacent Mary Barclay's Mountain.
'Hike' may be too strong a word. It is more 'wandering aimlessly in the sun with direction driven by impulsive visual curiosity combined with path of least resistance'.
The straight-line distance from the Porcupine Creek bridge to the Kananaskis River is approximately 1.5 KM (⅞ miles). There are no trails but navigation is easy and interesting.
Vistas from the broad, stony delta are overwhelmingly beautiful for such a short distance.
The short distance to the clear waters of the Porcupine Creek tributary at the junction with the Kananaskis River is short. On the other side of the Kananaskis River, Stoney Trail links Rafter Six Ranch Resort and Kananaskis Village.
The southern portion of Stoney Trail is closed over the winter from December 15 until June 14 to protect wildlife, so there are no hikers on the other side of the Kananaskis River this day.
Following the Kananaskis River off-trail until the forest becomes too dense, the next step is to branch out to the gravel road leading to the Porcupine Group Campground.
On the return walk to the car there is interesting detail surrounded by spectacular mountains.
There are a large number and variety of ancient tin cans that have been washed downstream from long gone mining or logging camps in the mountains.
One of many ant hills, common to this area, is alive with activity.
There is a final opportunity to enjoy the mountains to the east on the walk back to the car on this excellent hiking day that began with a hike on Mount Baldy and ends with a view of Mount Baldy from Porcupine Creek.
In hindsight, the return on the north side of the broad river delta of Porcupine Creek is the only regret. Another time, a short walk along the barren, east shoreline where multiple channels of Porcupine Creek feed the Kananaskis River might set up an interesting retreat along the south shoreline of Porcupine Creek.