Nihahi Ridge - Kananaskis Country - Hiking Alberta

 

Spectacular vistas from Nihahi Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Nihahi Ridge, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Nihahi Ridge is a popular hike in Kananaskis Country which begins at the Little Elbow Campground past the end of Hwy 66 west of Bragg Creek, Alberta.  There is parking beyond the campground entrance near the suspension bridge over the Little Elbow River.  Access continues by walking the road straight through the campground or on the scenic path above the north side of the Little Elbow River.  The official hike is about 4.1 KM (2⅝ miles) one-way from the trail-head kiosk west of the campground, to the scramble near ridge top, with elevation gain of 415 m (1,349 ft) to maximum elevation of 2,012 m (6,601 ft).  Add a kilometer for the walk from parking to the trail-head kiosk.

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada View west along the Little Elbow River from the suspension bridge to Nihahi Ridge in the distance on photo right in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The hike heads west along the road beside and past the campground with commanding views of 2,935 m (9,629 ft) Mount Glasgow and Nihahi Ridge framing the Little Elbow River.  The road continues past the gate to the trail-head kiosk, then continues along road to a trail sign clearly marking the turn right on good path through forest to the specific trail marker for the hike to Nihahi Ridge.  It is important to check trail signs carefully.  Many trail options are available in this area.  A trail guide-book and Gem Trek Map to resolve issues as required.

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The trail into the trailhead for Nihahi Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The trail-head sign for the hike to Nihahi Ridge west of Bragg Creek in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

After a brief climb on twisting path with minor elevation through forest, the trail levels into an open grassland meadow bordered by stands of evergreen trees.  Spectacular mountain views command the west horizon and Nihahi Ridge draws closer as the hike traverses this amazing meadow in sunlight and a slight breeze.  There are signs of repair for minor damage done by heavy rains in the June flooding.

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The meadow approach to Nihahi Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mount Glasgow consumes the view west across the meadow on the approach to Nihahi Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada An unusual mushroom at trailside on the hike to Nihahi Ridge.

 

The expanding views are powerful on the hike across the meadow.  It is a grand landscape passing through large fields of green grass and wildflowers accentuated by evergreen tree borders on one side and tall mountains on the other.  Nihahi Ridge progressively fills more of the field of vision and the south summit of the 9.5 KM (6 mile) long ridge looms large in front as a minor descent heads back into forest.  The south summit of Nihahi Ridge peeks above the upper horizon before a sweeping turn to the left begins the more demanding ascent towards the south summit of Nihahi Ridge.  The trail gains elevation aggressively over a variety of rocky terrain with occasional sections on large rock outcroppings.  Periodically there are spectacular views east towards the familiar profile of Forget-Me-Not Ridge and Mountain, another popular and memorable hike in Kananaskis Country.

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The west end of Nihahi Ridge begins to cover Mount Glasgow on the approach in West Bragg, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The south summit of Nihahi Ridge begins to appear above the west end of Nihahi Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The trail sweeps left through forest to begin the ascent of Nihahi Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada One brief section guards a steep overhang on the ascent of rocky trail on the west end of Nihahi Ridge in Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The first major viewpoint west gives a commanding view of Mount Glasgow from Nihahi Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

As elevation increases aggressively, spectacular westerly views into the Little Elbow River Valley unfold.

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada View into the Little Elbow River Valley from Nihahi Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada View east back towards Forget-Me-Not Mountain from Nihahi Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Interesting trail feature on Nihahi Ridge, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Expanding views into the Little Elbow River Valley from Nihahi Ridge, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mount Romulus and Mount Remus tower over the Little Elbow River Valley in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The hike continues along the top of Nihahi Ridge and spectacular views expand as the hike ascends along large steps toward the south summit which peaks out above us at about 2,362 m (7,750 ft).  On this day we will be content to avoid the easy scramble and additional elevation in favor of savoring lunch at the high point on the ridge surrounded by incredible mountain scenery.

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The south summit of Nihahi Ridge rises above the approach steps along Nihahi Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The view from Nihahi Ridge into the Little Elbow River Valley in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Gaining elevation along the top of Nihahi Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The view back to Forget-Me-Not Ridge and Mountain from Nihahi Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada From Nihahi Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The return hike by the same route is swift under skies with accumulating cloud which never threatens.

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Another view across the meadow to Mount Glasgow in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Rock feature on the meadow on the hike to Nihahi Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Relaxing, aromatic forest on the return hike from Nihahi Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The return hike will investigate the status of flood damage along Elbow Falls Trail (Hwy 66) on the return drive to Bragg Creek.  Back at the Village of Bragg Creek, significant evidence remains of the devastating June flood which caused major damage.  Repair is well underway and continues.  A section of the paved road 758 which skirts the Elbow River near Bragg Creek Provincial Park was washed out and is waiting for repair.  The interpretive sign, a short distance north of Bragg Creek, on Hwy 22 stands stalwart and emphasizes the reality that Bragg Creek will continue to grow and prosper.

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Flood repair continues in Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

 

Nihahi Ridge, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

 

An excellent reference guide for this hike, among others in Kananaskis Country, is Gillean Daffern's Kananaskis Country Trail Guide, Volume 2, 4th Edition.

Gem Trek Map # 8 is also an excellent resource for these trails and many others in the Bragg Creek and Sheep River components of Kananaskis Country, Alberta.

Photographs for this post were taken in Kananaskis Country west of Bragg Creek on August 25, 2013.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

Not much chance at present with our record breaking summer temperatures. Tasmania and the Snowy Mts (1500 k's away) can often have summer snow.

The views from Nihahi Ridge are amazing and from the summit even grander but that is a more aggressive day than we chose to tackle. The top of the 9.5 KM ridge can be navigated but it is a moderate scramble for the experienced who are willing to commit an entire day to the challenge. Thanks for your comment, Helen. I wish you luck down under finding snow.

Spectacular views!

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