Hidden Trail leads to Coal Mine Scar in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.
The Ribbon Creek area of Kananaskis Country, Alberta is a central reference point for a large variety of excellent hikes. This day's chosen hike is Hidden Trail from the Ribbon Creek parking area near the confluence of Ribbon Creek with Kananaskis River near Nakiska in the shadow of Mount Kidd and Mount Allan.
There are many options to choose from at the Hidden Trail trail-head.
Ribbon Creek in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada
Hidden Trail is an old coal mining road which begins at the kiosk near the Kananaskis Wilderness Hostel. Quite frankly, it is not all that well hidden.
The trek heads west and north up gentle, consistent grade road to the junction with the Centennial Trail heading left (west) to the Coal Mine Scar. The decision to continue straight on less used road includes a short off-trail foray into meadow, and a bushwhack back to the trail, prior to arrival at the location of an old mining cabin.
Nearby, trees host evidence wildlife has recently marked territory here. A short walk from the old, metal-clad cabin the sparse remnants of the water well remain, littered with debris from decades past.
The trail leads to Coal Mine Scar, a reclaimed coal strip mining operation. Although many hikes have culminated here, the lifespan markings on a smooth boulder near the top of Coal Mine Scar have previously remained unnoticed. From this vantage point, there are spectacular views of the Kananaskis Valley.
Coal Mine Scar is a grassy field created after the open-pit coal mine closed in 1952 and was filled in to create the large meadow which is a landmark on the southeast flank of Mount Allan. Coal Mine Scar is a welcome, homeward-bound marker on the descent from Olympus Summit on Mount Allan which hosts Nakiska and the incredible Centennial Ridge Trail in the shadow of 3,107 m (10,194 ft) Mount Lougheed.
Coal Mine Scar is a grand place to enjoy lunch in the sun. Scrambles to explore the face of the ridge and solo walks down the slope of the grassy plain wile relaxation time away in the presence of spectacular vistas across mountain-surrounded Kananaskis Valley and Mount Kidd.
This brief video will share the panoramic view of the Kananaskis Valley from Coal Mine Scar. The expansive panorama brings back fond memories of many hikes, over many years in this spectacular area of Kananaskis Country in Alberta, Canada. Following lunch, the decision to increase altitude on the Centennial Trail climbs aggressively on rocky trail through forest onto steep, grassy slopes. Time is taken to relax and absorb the incredible scenery.
From this day's high point on Mount Allan, the huge meadow of Coal Mine Scar is minimized below us. Rest and appreciation of the sun, the fresh breeze, good company and good fortune are easy to enjoy in close proximity to the natural wonders of Kananaskis Country in Alberta.
The return to Ribbon Creek parking is achieved via a similar route taken in for the return drive to Calgary after a grand day and a pleasant departure from the customary mode of hiking solo.