Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country - Hiking Alberta

 

Hay Meadow is a popular, scenic, family hike near Kananaskis River in Kananaskis Country, Alberta.

 

 

There is time remaining in the afternoon for an hour-long hike before returning to Calgary.  The late afternoon hike will need to be relatively flat, easy and short because the early day hike on the Wedge consumed substantial energy.  It is time to relax.  

A short distance north of Wedge Pond on Kananaskis Trail (Hwy 40), the turn west into Nakiska, quickly crosses the bridge over the Kananaskis River, to the first right turn into the Stoney Trail parking area.  On this weekend day, the parking area is very busy.

 

Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

From the parking area, the historic Stoney Trail is now a wide, straight gravel road which skirts the west side of Kananaskis River, the west shoreline of Barrier Lake beneath 2,487 m (8,160 ft) Mount Lorette, and Mary Barklay's Mountain, for 10+ KM (6⅜ miles), before swinging to the north-east past the Jewell Bay Backcountry and Equestrian Camp

Here, there is access to Jewell Pass Trail north to Heart Mountain towering above Lac des Arcs, or east beneath McConnell Ridge along Barrier Lake to Camp Chief Hector and the Rafter Six Resort Ranch.  Hiking opportunities, for a wide range of experience, are virtually endless.

 

Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The view, from the Stoney Trail parking area at Nakiska, north along Stoney Trail towards Mount Lorette in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

From the nearby trail map, a gentle, leisurely stroll in the forest on a loop north through Hay Meadow along the Kananaskis River is chosen with a gentle return through forest on a short section of the historic Skogan Pass Trail for a total of about 3.2 KM (2 miles) on a walk in the park.  The multitude of trails at this location makes this area ideal for families or beginning hikers.

 

 

 

The following photos illustrate the nature of the beginning of the Hay Meadow Trail.

 

Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A view of the Nakiska Ski Runs on Mount Allan, and Mount Collembola, from the Hay Meadows Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Arriving at the Kananaskis River near Hay Meadow

 

At the Kananaskis River there are excellent views of Mount Baldy to the east.  River erosion is high from spring runoff.  The last time here, around 15 years ago, a wooden viewing platform was located on the side of Kananaskis River where bird aficionados would sit each spring to monitor eagle migration.  The platform is no longer here, apparently washed away in flooding water.  This may have happened in the major floods of 2005 or 2008.
 

There is a substantial amount of electronic monitoring equipment in a nearby clearing and two equipment sheds.  The following photographs illustrate this segment of the Hay Meadow Trail.

 

Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada This lone bird is entertaining while paddling hard and sometimes swimming underwater upstream against the powerful current of the Kananaskis River.

 

Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mount Baldy from Hay Meadow across the Kananaskis River - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mount Kidd with the north ridge prominently in the foreground. The scientific measuring equipment is in the meadow in front of Mount Kidd

 

Past the research station, the Hay Meadow Trail swings west, crosses Stoney Trail and links up with the junction to Troll Falls and the Skogan Pass Trail.  The short trail to Troll Falls is reluctantly bypassed for the return hike south to the parking area on the wide, very picturesque, gravel Skogan Pass Trail

The light in the surrounding forest is magical and the fragrance of the forest is intoxicating.  Following photos show the peaceful serenity of this short trail segment with a bit of gentle, nearly imperceptible elevation.

 

Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A cluster of emerging mushrooms at the base of a tree near Stoney Pass Trail on the link between Hay Meadow Trail and Skogan Pass Trail.

 

Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Hay Meadow - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

This is a graceful way to end an exceptional hiking day in Kananaskis Country.  There is a maze of hiking trails in the area of Nakiska and Ribbon Creek.  There are multiple opportunities to enjoy a picnic, and/or a wide variety of hiking experiences, surrounded by majestic mountains and spectacular flora and fauna.  Hiking can be tailored to a comfortable distance and elevation. 

The area also offers a rich historical component, worthy of investigation , surrounding Alberta's early years of development.

 

 

 

 

Categories: 

Tags: 

Comments

Yes, thank you Helen. It was an excellent day balanced with energetic climbing and a casual stroll. The Nakiska and Ribbon Creek areas are a gold mine of opportunity for people who want a casual hike. Many of the trails are steeped in history. Park administration has created a mecca here for experienced hikers or for people who would like to learn to hike.

Wow, such fitness and so many trails to choose from!

Add new comment