Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis - Hiking Alberta

 

Mist Creek is a grand hike beneath Mist Mountain in Highwood, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

 

 


Part 1 of 2


 

The Mist Creek Recreation Area in the Highwood Region of South Kananaskis Country is the launch point for hiking the Mist Creek Trail, then dropping over Rickert's Pass for a tour of Burns Mine and Denning's Cabin, prior to returning over the top of Mist Ridge to the starting point.  That is the plan

On the drive west from Calgary and south on Kananaskis Trail (Hwy 40), a brief stop at a roadside exhibit provides information about one of Western Canada's most fascinating stories and unsolved mysteries.  Where is the cache of gold hidden? Where is the infamous Lost Lemon Mine?

 

 

 

 

Perhaps the Lost Lemon Mine is located in these mountains behind the sign.  Some claim it may be located near the Crowsnest Pass.  Many people have been chasing the legend for decades in search of notoriety and wealth.

 

Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The Mist Creek Trail meanders north from the parking area and across Kananaskis Trail where the summit of massive 3,138 m (10,297 ft) Mist Mountain peaks over the densely forested Nameless Ridge.  The hike north will track east of Mist Creek through the valley between the east side of Mist Mountain on the left, and the west side of Mist Ridge on the right.

 

Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The summits of massive Mist Mountain peak over the top of Nameless Ridge looking north across Kananaskis Trail.

 

The trail proceeds into cool, dense and beautifully shaded forest for the 10.2 KM (6⅜ mile) hike to Rickert's Pass.  Throughout most of this phase of the hike, the route is enclosed in dense forest on beautifully shaded trail with cascading creeks to hike beside or across.  Occasionally, the forest opens into densely flowered meadows which provide views of Mist Ridge gauging our progress under the length of mighty Mist Mountain.

 

Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The left branch continues on the Mist Creek Trail although Mist Creek is never seen from the valley floor but certainly the creek is over there, on the left, being fed by springs and melting snow from the east side of Mist Mountain.  There is also significant water running from Mist Ridge and it is periodically necessary to navigate off trail through marsh land.  The hike continues straight when a trail junction provides a branch to the right that would deliver us up onto Mist Ridge.

 

Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Passing Nameless Ridge on left and west as a prelude to hiking beneath Mist Mountain.

 

The following photos will provide glimpses of trail conditions and features as the hike proceeds for about 9.0 KM (5⅝ miles) through the valley between Mist Mountain and Mist Ridge.  Elevation gain is predominantly gentle, gradual and periodically interrupted by the occasional foray through a drainage.

 

Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada  A lot of standing water is negotiated to get to this little bridge.

 

Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

When the forest thins, the rate of elevation gain increases and views of the objective begin to appear.  The final approach to Rickert's Pass breaks the tree line and climbs a rigorous and consistent grade on long, sweeping switchbacks, first on grassy slope, then for a short distance over good rocky trail past the north junction to Mist Ridge.

 

Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The notch containing Rickert's Pass at 2,341 m (7,680 ft) comes into view and the surrounding view is stunning. 

 


 

Click on this link for a video view of surroundings on Mist Ridge.

 


 

Awesome!  The drop over the other side is severe.

 

 Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The junction of the Mist Creek trail with the Mist Ridge trail occurs just below Rickert's Pass

 

Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The trail off Rickert's Pass which links to Storm Ridge leading to 3,095 m (10,153 ft) Storm Mountain north of Mist Mountain.

 

Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The steep drop into the valley below the top of Rickert's Pass on Mist Ridge in Kananaskis Highwood, Alberta, Canada

 

Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Rickert's Pass over Mist Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The steep drop, off the far side of Rickert's Pass, is daunting.  While enjoying lunch in the sun accompanied by a refreshing breeze at Rickert's Pass, a plan is discussed.  In the distance, Burns Mine and the Sheep River beckon from the valley bottom.

 

Mist Creek - Highwood - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Standing at the top of 2,341 m (7,680 ft) Rickert's Pass in Kananaskis Highwood, Alberta, Canada.

 

Based on time and the length of daylight available, the hike will continue south along the top of Mist Ridge.

 

 

 

 

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