Sibbald Viewpoint offers sweeping vistas in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.
For the very young, the elderly, or anyone wishing to find an easy first hike with picnic facilities, Sibbald Viewpoint off the TransCanada Highway west of Calgary, with a turn onto Sibbald Creek Trail South, provides an excellent solution.
The Sibbald Viewpoint turnoff is clearly marked on Sibbald Creek Trail after a short drive on mixed pavement and gravel road. The location offers an outstanding view west over beautiful and historical Sibbald Flats. There are picnic tables and toilet facilities. The labyrinth of trail offers two main components.
One option is the formal 1.0 KM (⅝ mile) interpretive trail partway along the ridge over Sibbald Flats. The interpretive trail crosses Sibbald Creek Trail (Hwy 68) so be cautious for occasional traffic. Alternatively, or additionally, a flat trail continues west along the top of Sibbald Flats to a historical exhibit with a clear view south to Moose Mountain commanding the horizon.
Although this site is very familiar and offers outstanding views, there is always one intriguing feature which will finally be explored today. Just below the east viewpoint over Sibbald Flats there is an old road. Although its historical use or significance is not known a hike down the short road will lead directly to Sibbald Flats.
There is evidence deer roam in the area.
The recent wet weather has created marshy bog at the bottom on the trail. Careful off-trail navigation and a bit of hopping from one high spot to another creates passage to dry ground which is clearly a cow pasture adjacent to fully flowing creeks running past the east end of Sibbald Flats.
A stroll upstream encounters several spring runoff junctions. Many of these water courses are dry throughout the summer and fall. Creek banks are undercut. Sibbald Flats is a very relaxing and beautiful place where an entire day could be spent wandering around in the natural surroundings.
The well-graded hike back to the top at Sibbald Viewpoint provides a bit of exercise.
This short hike is a walk, stroll, wander in a good variety of terrain which requires no special gear. A running shoe or hiking boots would be a better choice than sandals or flip-flops. and long pants might be more sensible.
A hike from the east end of Sibbald Viewpoint along flat trail at the top of the ridge to the next viewpoint reveals another picnic ground and placards which reveal some of the longstanding and fascinating history of this very interesting location.
The Sibbald area is a short drive from Calgary and provides several light walking options, without any need for special gear, into beautiful surroundings which provide the opportunity for a brief, relaxing, inexpensive retreat from the city to a place less well-known and less frequented than popular spots in mainstream Kananaskis Country and Banff National Park. There are a wide variety of excellent and interesting trails in the immediate area which can be experienced in a series of outdoor adventures. Some of these include Ole Buck Trail, Eagle Hill Trail and Deer Ridge Trail.
For the new hiker, Sibbald Viewpoint is an excellent place to begin. It is important to keep a close eye on the little people, particularly if they are inexperienced around water or forest but, closely supervised, there is a huge opportunity for them to learn and, potentially, for parents to share and initiate lifelong, rewarding passions for adventure in the outdoors.