Rundle Canal is in the Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada.
Rundle Canal is a generally quiet and peaceful thin stretch of water beneath Ha Ling Peak. Along the winding road up Canmore Hill, and across the road from the entrance to the Canmore Nordic Centre, there is a small space, on the east side of Rundle Canal, where 2 or 3 cars can edge park without blocking the gate to top of the dam. On the other side of the canal, past the two control towers, a small beach is an increasingly popular staging area for paddle boarding. The top of the dam also provides spectacular views of surrounding mountains.
There is public access to the top of the dam which contains the Rundle Canal holding basin, as an extension of hydroelectric generation further upstream. A path around the gate begins an easy, flat and short hike as long as one wishes to make it.
Paddle boarders are cruising gracefully over the surface of the reflective, emerald water. Cyclists share the wide top of the earth dam with hikers and the occasional fly fisher person. Ha Ling Peak consumes forward vision as the dam curls around the canal.
A long lens, hazy view of the penstock which feeds water to the hydro electric power station and the waterfalls from Whiteman's Pond taken from the dam at Rundle Canal in the Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada
The hike along the top of the dam passes the parking area for Grassi Lakes on the other side of Rundle Canal, then homes for workers at the hydroelectric generation station at the base of Ha Ling Peak. Towards the end of the canal there is a beautiful pond off to the left, on the approach to the dam between Rundle Canal and the dry overflow channel. There are many subsidiary trails and a road beneath the top of the dam which are also busy with hikers. A faint-odor sulphur spring can be observed near the road closer to the beginning of this Rundle Canal hike. Consult Kananaskis Country Trail Guide, 4th Edition, Volume 3 for more detailed information. There are many options in this area with Quarry Lake and Grassi Lakes nearby on either side.
Past the dam to the dry overflow channel, there is a small gentle climb to the T-junction beneath power lines. Turning left will lead past the trail head for the historic and challenging Riders of Rohan Trail and on to routes into and around very popular Quarry Lake. This is a goldmine of hiking opportunity due to popularity and ease of accessibility. Turning right leads to the interesting features of the TransAlta Spray Hydroelectric Power Generation Station and a loop around to the Grassi Lakes parking area. A small undocumented trail, off to the left beneath an Osprey nest high atop a pole above me captures the curiosity. The trail quickly degrades to nearly impassable but a viewpoint over the top of the power station provides an interesting perspective before admitting defeat and returning via the same route taken in.
An end view of the Rundle Canal over the top of the Spray Hydroelectric Generation Station in the Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada. Note the wildlife corridor bridge and the pedestrian bridge over Rundle Canal.
The return hike over the top of the dam along Rundle Canal provides excellent views of mountains on the far side of Bow Valley.
This is an excellent, easy, short scenic hike with many options available for the more adventuresome hiker.
Note: It is only a good approach to the Riders of Rohan trail if the intent is to hike the trail in both directions. The Riders of Rohan trail has been designated an expert downhill mountain biking trail. There may be good logic in hiking it one way and using another option to create a loop.
Photographs for this post at Rundle Canal in Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada were taken on August 10, 2014.