The Ribbon Creek area of Kananaskis Country, Alberta is a central reference point for a large variety of excellent hikes. On this day, I have been invited to join two workplace colleagues, Cheyenne and Justin. We shall hike 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 we can choose from the Hidden Trail trailhead. I am the first to arrive and enjoy a few minutes taking these photographs from the Ribbon Creek parking area.
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.
Our trek takes us west and north up gentle, consistent grade road to the junction with the Centennial Trail heading left (west) to the Coal Mine Scar. We decide to continue straight on less used road and after a short offtrail foray into meadow, and a bushwhack back to the trail, we arrive at the location of an old mining cabin.
Nearby, trees host evidence bears have recently marked territory here. A short walk from the old, metal-clad cabin we discover the remnants of the water well, littered with debris from decades past.
Our trail leads to Coal Mine Scar, a reclaimed coal strip mining operation. Although I have been here many times. I have not previously noticed the lifespan markings on a smooth boulder near the top of Coal Mine Scar. I am curious. 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. It 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 our place to enjoy lunch in the sun. Justin scrambles to explore the face of the ridge while Cheyenne and I enjoy solo walks down the slope of the grassy plain.
This brief video will share the panoramic view of the Kananaskis Valley we are enjoying 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, we decide to increase altitude on the Centennial Trail which climbs aggressively through forest onto steep, grassy slopes. There is time 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. I illustrate the Sherpa Step. We rest and appreciate the sun, the fresh breeze, good company and the good fortune we have to be in close proximity to the natural wonders of Kananaskis Country in Alberta.
We return to Ribbon Creek the way we came and make our separate ways back to Calgary. It has been a grand day and a pleasant departure from my customary mode of hiking solo.