Eau Claire Trail - Kananaskis Country - Hiking Alberta

 

Eau Claire Trail explores river channels in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Eau Claire Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Parking is an issue for this trail.

Hiking is planned this day in the area of 2,958 m (9,704 ft) Mount Kidd, named in 1907, for Fred Kidd, by geologist Dr. D. Bogart Dowling of the Geological Survey of CanadaFred's love for the mountains persuaded him to move, from his homestead near Nose Hill, to Morley, where he operated the Scott and Leeson Trading Post and served as Justice of the Peace.  Part of his endeavor was outfitting survey parties working in the Kananaskis Valley. 

One of these was led by a geologist, D. Bogart Dowling.  Mount Bogart is nearby.  The drive south on Kananaskis Trail exits towards Nakiska Ski Resort with a brief stop near the bridge over Kananaskis River to take photographs of Mount Kidd in early daylight.  The Kananaskis River is running high in late spring runoff.

 

Eau Claire Interpretive Trail - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Kananaskis River is running high with 2,958 m (9,704 ft) Mount Kidd in the background.

 

Eau Claire Interpretive Trail - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mount Kidd - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

A few kilometers further south, another stop along Kananaskis Trail nets photos of Mount Kidd across from the legendary and historical Boundary Ranch.

 

Eau Claire Interpretive Trail - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mount Kidd - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Eau Claire Interpretive Trail - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mount Kidd with the north ridge on photo right

 

Further south on Kananaskis Trail, past the Mount Kidd R.V. Park, a stop at Wedge Pond obtains a photograph of 'The Wedge' before continuing south past the Galatea Day Use Area where trail-heads branch out to Lillian Lake, Upper and Lower Galatea Lakes, as well as Guinn's Pass and beyond.

 

Eau Claire Interpretive Trail - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge soaring high above and behind Wedge Pond - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

A turn right off Kananaskis Trail into Eau Claire Campground is followed by a drive 3/4 of the way around the one-way road past secluded campsites.  The trail-head for the Eau Claire Interpretive Loop is obvious but there is no dedicated parking.  An unobtrusive spot between empty Campsites # 48 and 49 is chosen to park the car in early season, during the week, when the campground is nearly vacant.  Parking is an issue.  The parking alternative on a busy day might mean parking near the entrance to the campground and hiking to the trail head.  Check with the campground administrator.

 

Eau Claire Interpretive Trail - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Eau Claire Interpretive Trailhead - Eau Claire Campground in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The trail begins past the front of the marquee providing insight into the historical legacy of the flat, 1.5 KM (⅞ mile) Eau Claire Trail, south of Mount Kidd and adjacent to former and current routes of the Kananaskis River.

 

 

There are no trail brochures at the trail-head for each of the 11 markers along the trail.    An Eau Claire Interpretive Trail Brochure may be available online.   The following photos, taken on the short, easy path, will illustrate the lush, mossy forest beside the Kananskis River and views of surrounding mountains.

 

Eau Claire Interpretive Trail - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Kananaskis River - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Eau Claire Interpretive Trail - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Eau Claire Interpretive Trail

 

Eau Claire Interpretive Trail - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The forest trail is cool and lush.  Surrounding ground cover is rich with moss and damp wood which gives the short hike an intoxicating, natural aroma in a full sensory experience where relaxation comes easily.

 

Eau Claire Interpretive Trail - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A view of Mount Kidd's south face across the Kananaskis River from the Eau Claire Interpretive Loop

 

Eau Claire Interpretive Trail - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Eau Claire Interpretive Trail - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Eau Claire Interpretive Trail - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

A solitary bench, about halfway around the loop, is a place to pause and enjoy the water flow and mountain scenery.  The river is high and erosion against river banks is undercutting the edge.  A short distance past the bench, the trail loop migrates away from the Kananaskis River.

 

Eau Claire Interpretive Trail - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bridges over the damp areas of the old river path make navigation easy and comfortable.

 

Eau Claire Interpretive Trail - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Eau Claire Interpretive Trail - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The historical river path is evident, easy to see, and difficult to effectively photograph.

 

Eau Claire Interpretive Trail - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The old Kananaskis River Channel

 

As the short trail completes, a large unnamed mountain provides a dramatic exit from the forest.

 

Eau Claire Interpretive Trail - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The Eau Claire Trail is shown on the Gem Trek map as wheel chair accessible.  There are a couple of spots where this might be open to debate.  Checking in at the Eau Claire Campground Manager's site for clarification might be wise. 

Otherwise, this is a beautiful, short, easy hike nearly anyone can do and a pleasant way to begin the day prior to my primary, planned event which will be hiking from Kananaskis Village to the abandoned Mount Kidd Fire Lookout.

 

 

 

 

Categories: 

Tags: 

Comments

I was there on a non-prime season day. Agreed, parking is at a premium in summer. It is just a matter of finding a small space reasonably close to the trailhead. It is a short easy hike. Possibly check with the Parks Visitor Centre at Barrier Lake or with the local camp administrator.

Thanks for the great suggestions of trails near calgary. How did you find parking at eau Claire? I went yesterday and it seems like only campers can park there.

Thank you for your kind words, Leigh. Kananaskis Trail is open end to end and worth the drive just to see the amount of water running. Hundreds of waterfalls from spring runoff. It is a wet start this year and there is still significant snow pack at higher elevations.

We shall look forward to your next visit. Enjoying your posts from Germany. Best wishes for your upcoming trip and adventure. Thanks for your comment, Laurel.

Haven't had time to hike Kananaskis Country yet this year. Looking forward to getting out and exploring many of the trails you've written about. There are some lovely mountain photos on this blog.

Great pictures as always, makes me a little bit homesick.

I'm a senior and I love being in the mountains exploring - but - I have to use a mobility scooter to go any distance at all. I'm looking for hiking trails where I could go with my scooter and enjoy the beauty of Alberta. I would love it if you knew of some nice trails to try - and maybe give me some idea of what I would need to bring for safety. My cell phone does not work in the mountains - so I know I need to find a way to call for help if needed. I really appreciate all your postings about hikes - they are great - especially the pictures. I want to try a few for sure - can't wait to get out there. Thanks so much, Shirlene

All I can do here, Shirlene is refer you to Alberta Parks.  Their website lists trails which are wheelchair friendly.  These should adapt well to a mobility scooter.  You need flat, well-groomed commonly used trails with minimal elevation differential.  If you are near Calgary, there is a wealth of opportunity on City Pathway Systems.

For emergency contact you could consider something like a SPOT emergency device or maintain a discipline of contact with an individual for departure, location and return.  From my blog you could select easy hikes and a few of those may be appropriate but it is best to check with Alberta Parks staff so they can assess the situation before you head out on any trail.  It is always a dynamic environment.  There may be organizations specific to your needs as mobilized devices are becoming more commonly available and used.

Good luck and I hope you can find an opportunity to enjoy the mountains and the outdoors.  Check with the folks at William Watson Lodge in Kananaskis Country.  I am fairly certain they may be able to help.

Add new comment