Terrace Trail - Kananaskis Country - Hiking Alberta

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail past Mount Kidd from Galatea in Kananaskis Country, Alberta.

 

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail along a plateau beneath Mount Kidd, from the Galatea trail-head on Kananaskis Trail (Hwy 40),  is a beautiful, partial-day hike on good, undulating path, predominantly through forest, to Kananaskis Village in Kananaskis Country west of CalgaryAlberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Galatea trail-head, beneath the south end of Mount Kidd, for the Terrace Trail in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The suspension bridge over the Kananaskis River beneath the south peak of Mount Kidd in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Long morning shadows over the confluence of Galatea Creek with the Kananaskis River from the Galatea suspension bridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The first wooden footbridge over Galatea Creek near the trail junction for the Terrace Trail and the Galatea Creek Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The suspension bridge over the Kananaskis River from the Galatea trailhead in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Terrace trail is about 8.0 KM (5.0 miles) one-way over a variety of terrain with occasional breathtaking views of surrounding mountains.  Net elevation gain is small at 40 m (130 ft.) to a maximum elevation near 1,590 m (5,217 ft.).  Gross elevation is significantly higher, with multiple dips in the trail, but within the range of the newer or average hiker. 

At the trail junction for Galatea Creek Trail and the Terrace Trail, access to Lillian Lake and Galatea Lakes is unavailable until June 30 each year to protect waterlogged trail from damage, and hikers from potential avalanche risk near Galatea Lakes.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Terrace Trail from Galatea to Kananaskis Village in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The south end of the Terrace Trail tracks close to the Kananaskis River in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Predominantly forest trail is interrupted by temporary runoff streams from snow melt off Mount Kidd on the south Terrace Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A view from a runoff drainage along the Terrace Trail to the Wedge on the far side of Kananaskis Valley in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Terrace Trail from Galatea to Kananaskis Village in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Terrace Trail from Galatea to Kananaskis Village in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Terrace trail is mainly through forest but crossings over stony drainages break up the monotony and periodically provide spectacular mountain views to the east, as well as views of Mount Kidd looming over Terrace Trail to the west.  Forest aroma is rich from sustained spring runoff and recent, copious rain.  Wildflowers are beginning their annual display.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mount Kidd above the Terrace Trail from Galatea to Kananaskis Village in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The north slopes of Mount Kidd host the abandoned Fire Lookout in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

About midway, the Terrace Trail assumes close proximity to the edge of the plateau above the world-class Kananaskis Country Golf Course.  Sweeping, expansive, panoramas surround the groomed greens and ponds in the valley below.  This hike is worth doing to get to this location alone. WOW!

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The view across the Kananaskis Country Golf Course and The Kananaskis Valley to Mount Fisher west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The view over the Kananaskis Country Golf Course from the Terrace Trail to 'The Wedge' and Mount Fisher in the distance. Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mount Kidd north peak from the Terrace Trail in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Old Baldy across the ponds of Kananaskis Country Golf Course from the Terrace Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Looking back from the Terrace Trail across the Kananaskis Country Golf Course to Mount Fisher and 'The Wedge' in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada View north from the Terrace Trail to Mount Baldy in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Ponds beneath the Terrace Trail and adjacent to the Kananaskis Country Golf Course west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

The final stretch of trail is more isolated in forest, with dips through drainages, a left-bearing course at a major trail junction and the final approach on good, well graded trail to Kananaskis Village.  Exiting onto the broad lawns of the sports field opens dramatic, sweeping views of mountains to the south.  An isolated picnic table in the sun provides world-class while enjoying enjoying a well-deserved and excellent lunch.  Why does food always taste so much better in the outdoors?  Perhaps it is an accumulated sensory experience of some kind.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Terrace Trail from Galatea to Kananaskis Village in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Arrival at Kananaskis Village with Mount Baldy in the background, Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The view south to 'The Wedge' from Kananaskis Village in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

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Following a leisurely lunch and relaxation in fresh mountain air under sunny skies, I will enjoy a walk through Kananaskis Village and along the spectacular, scenic Village Rim Trail (covered in a separate post) prior to beginning the return hike to Galatea via the same route on the Terrace Trail.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The junction of Terrace Trail with Kovach Trail below Mount Kidd on the return hike to Galatea in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Terrace Trail from Kananaskis Village to Galatea in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The view over the Kananaskis Country Golf Course to Old Baldy in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The view south from the return hike on the Terrace Trail beneath Mount Kidd to Fisher Mountain and 'The Wedge' in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mount Kidd looms above the Terrace Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

There are several major sections of tumbled rock debris along the Terrace Trail.  These are formed and grow from enormous torrents of water generated by melting snow and ice, combined with the gradual and relentless deterioration of the east face of Mount Kidd.  These temporary courses of raging water naturally create and continually modify routes often used by scramblers and rock climbers to access the face of the mountain. 

One of these paths captures the attention along with an overwhelming urge to swing right and explore this rock-strewn tributary.  Common sense counters with the issues of time and risk of hiking solo so continuing along Terrace Trail about 50 m further proceeds until curiosity wins and the turn about begins hiking the off-trail on rocky surface towards the East face of Mount Kidd

Within half a kilometer the trail encounters running water above the surface and the rock debris field progressively transitions to a more defined creek bed which twists and turns toward the massive mountain looming above me.  On the face of Mount Kidd there are two very distinct waterfalls which are likely fed by another dozen from above.  Every fibre of my being wants to continue to the mountain face for the potential of finding hidden waterfalls and the power of fast running, cascading, white water.  

Hiking solo in rugged terrain, common sense eventually prevails.  Less than a kilometer in, with another kilometer to travel along the twisting, turning watercourse, the turnabout reluctantly begins to continue the return hike on the Terrace Trail.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Stone rubble in a draw across the Terrace Trail beneath Mount Kidd in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Hiking the stony drainage from the Terrace Trail towards the east face of Mount Kidd in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mount Kidd looms above the drainage in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The possible source of water flow from the east flank of Mount Kidd in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada. Massive stone walls.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The end of the hike on rough terrain in the drainage from Mount Kidd. Another day!

 

Further south on the Terrace Trail, another major drainage provides an opportunity to sit beside rushing water with a spectacular view of sun and cloud creating slow motion mosaics along the west flank of 'The Wedge' on the opposite side of Kananaskis Valley.  The images are incredibly peaceful and relaxing.

 


A brief video is taken as a reminder of the tranquility. Click to watch.


 

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Terrace Trail from Kananaskis Village to Galatea in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Another major drainage crossing the Terrace Trail beneath Mount Kidd in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A spectacular view of 'The Wedge' beside cascading water in the drainage across the Terrace Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Imagine 15 minutes of sitting on a comfortable, flat rock under warm sun tempered by a refreshing breeze, beside a stream of cascading, crystal-clear, white water while moving shadows from drifting clouds create changing shapes on a beautiful mountain consuming your field of vision framed by spring green forest and wildflowers.

 


Click to enjoy this brief video taken as a reminder of the tranquility.


 

Gentle descent leads back to the trail adjacent Kananaskis River which signals the encroaching end of the hike, past the Galatea Creek trail junction and across the suspension bridge to the final ascent on excellent trail from the river to the parking area.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Kananaskis River appears again towards the final approach to Galatea in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The suspension bridge across the Kananaskis River near the Galatea Trailhead in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Hiking the Terrace Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A final view of the south peak of Mount Kidd from the suspended bridge above the Kananaskis River near the confluence with Galatea Creek in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The Terrace Trail is a good day hike with several opportunities for exploration of diverse, interesting terrain and occasional spectacular views.  A couple of longer sections of view-free forest trail can become a bit tedious. 

Two cars would allow a one-way hike from Galatea with more opportunity to spend leisure time among impressive amenities in Kananaskis Village.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

Well, Sheryl, what a difference a few days can make. The damage in Kananaskis Country is significant. Perhaps my photos over the Kananaskis Country Golf Course are among the last captured before it was decimated by the 2013 flood. The golf course will be closed for the remainder of the season. As I write this comment, all roads into Kananaskis Country are closed. The damage is extensive and I wonder if the drainages from Mount Kidd on the Terrace Trail can be navigated safely prior to significant repair. It will be necessary to closely monitor trail reports on the Kananaskis Country Public Safety Section prior to hiking. I do not live in the flood zone but I was very close to it and assisting a friend brought the disaster up close and personal. I agree, it will take years and billions of dollars to recover from this 'perfect storm'. Although I am not particularly surprised, I am impressed by the way citizens of Canada and particularly Calgary and surrounding Southern Alberta communities, have responded to this crisis. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. Calgary and all those affected are functioning like a finely tuned machine in the face of adversity. Thank you for your comment, Sheryl.

Absolutely spectacular, another one to add to my ever-growing list. Will have to wait and see the extent of the damage in K-Country and area. You don't live within the flood zone in the city, do you? - I hope not. I can't believe the devastation, it will be some time before we can all recover from this.

It is too early to confirm or deny speculation about bridge closures. Access to Kananaskis is initially compromised by mud slides. No doubt the full story will emerge over the next couple of weeks. There will be a lot of cleanup and that is currently underway. I will be back out there as soon as I can. Thanks for your comment, Leigh. Enjoy your time in beautiful Nova Scotia.

I love the Lillian Lakes/Galatea area so know I'd like this hike but I now suspect all those bridges have been washed out and who knows how long they will take to rebuild. And I bet there have been some pretty wild debris flows of late too. I'm in Nova Scotia and listening to the news and really can't comprehend the level of destruction in so many areas.

Thank you for your comment, Helen. It sounds a lot better when you say it. I hope the short video inspires a few to get out there and experience the sensory saturation for themselves. A half hour of total relation is like a days vacations. The city looks better at the end of a day in the mountains. Stress is reduced. Everything seems more sensible. Congratulations for the work you are doing on your Australian blog. Good on you!

Definitely a WOW day. I most certainly can imagine 'sitting for 15 mins PLUS on a comfortable, flat rock under warm sun tempered by a refreshing breeze, beside a stream of cascading, crystal-clear, white water while moving shadows from drifting clouds create changing shapes on a beautiful mountain consuming your field of vision framed by spring green forest and wildflowers.'

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