Raven's End - Bow Valley - Hiking Alberta

 

Raven's End is the prominent northeast abutment of Mount Yamnuska in the Bow Valley, Alberta, Canada.

 

Raven's End, Yamnuska, Bow Valley, Alberta, Canada

 

The drive west from Calgary exits the TransCanada Highway at Hwy 1X past Seebe, then right on Hwy 1A to the popular main parking area for Yamnuska.  The hike to Raven's End on the NE end of Yamnuska (Mount Laurie) begins at the main trail-head, then crosses the quarry road beyond the climber's log book and into aspen forest. 

Initial incline is reasonable and relatively consistent as good trail meanders through forest and the occasional draw.  The first objective is to climb around and past the end of a rocky ridge.  Past a steeper ascent angle near the end, the climber's trail proceeds straight.  The hiker's trail is clearly marked, heads right and ascends at a decent angle through forest, then beside a drainage.

   

Raven's End, Yamnuska, Bow Valley, Alberta, CanadaRaven's End, Yamnuska, Bow Valley, Alberta, CanadaRaven's End, Yamnuska, Bow Valley, Alberta, CanadaRaven's End, Yamnuska, Bow Valley, Alberta, Canada

 

The effects of the June 2013 flood are still evident at the sides of the drainage as weakened banks remain insufficient to anchor nearest trees which create a tunnel to hike beneath.  In open areas there are views above and back to Raven's End.  Spectacular and expansive views of mountains to the west, and features of the Yamnuska Natural Area, unfold below.

 

Raven's End, Yamnuska, Bow Valley, Alberta, CanadaRaven's End, Yamnuska, Bow Valley, Alberta, CanadaRaven's End, Yamnuska, Bow Valley, Alberta, Canada

 

From an obvious large viewpoint in an open area on smooth rock slab, there are amazing views for many kilometers.  The viewpoint is a place to rest for a moment to enjoy a drink while warm sun tempers cool mountain breeze flirting with the skin.  The spring-fed lakes, knobs and kettles created eons ago by glacial retreat are surrounded by snow-tipped peaks of surrounding mountains.  There is time to capture a brief video.

 

Click here to enjoy a brief video of the lookout view over Yamnuska Natural Area west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

This is wilderness bliss and the target is clearly within range.  The next objective is to find the correct turn for a direction reversal and the final approach to Raven's End at the NE end of Yamnuska.  There is a significant clue.

Trail near the top is badly braided but direction is dictated by the monolith in plain sight straight ahead.  At a major trail junction it might be noticed there may be a small sign, on a large evergreen tree, indicating the junction is for a right turn to the CMC (Calgary Mountain Club) Trail into the spectacular CMC Valley north of Yamnuska and south of dramatic Wendell Mountain.

 

Raven's End, Yamnuska, Bow Valley, Alberta, CanadaRaven's End, Yamnuska, Bow Valley, Alberta, CanadaRaven's End, Yamnuska, Bow Valley, Alberta, Canada

 

At the base of Raven's End there are dramatic views near the painted markers which define the beginning of the scramble route up and over the summit of Yamnuska.  At mid May, surrounding trail is dry but there is snow in the chimney.  The traverse over Mount Yamnuska is a popular and amazing scramble which leaves indelible memories.  Prerequisite experience and accompaniment are important factors as well as a rock helmet for hiking beneath climbing walls on the retreat.  Excellent life goal experience.

 

Raven's End, Yamnuska, Bow Valley, Alberta, CanadaRaven's End, Yamnuska, Bow Valley, Alberta, CanadaRaven's End, Yamnuska, Bow Valley, Alberta, CanadaRaven's End, Yamnuska, Bow Valley, Alberta, CanadaRaven's End, Yamnuska, Bow Valley, Alberta, Canada

 

There are periodic trail markers on the occasional tree but common sense is a better approach on best and most used rocky trail along the top of the ridge approach.

 

Raven's End, Yamnuska, Bow Valley, Alberta, Canada

The return is a repeat of the access on this excellent hiking day and there are many hiking options to expand the day as required. 

Photographs for this hike to Raven's End at the northeast end of Yamnuska were taken in the Bow Valley west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada on May 12, 2015.

 

 

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Comments

Thank you very much for this description of Raven's End. It is also the title of a fantastic story by Ben Gadd, otherwise known as the author of the Handbook of the Canadian Rockies. I highly recommend reading this beautiful story, specially after enjoying the hike.

Thank you for your comment, Alfredo.  And for the value added.  Ben Gadd's Book Raven's End was reprinted in 2013.  He is a local icon although I have never had the opportunity to meet him.  I believe I will take you up on your suggestion.

Your descriptions and pictures are great and very helpful, but could you moving forward provide the specs of the trail itself? (i.e., Round trip approx time, distance, and elevation gain). At the point, when just searching online, your information is considered secondary because it doesn't provide the basics of what I want to know about a trail or hike and I have hiked quite extensively in k-country, Banff and Yoho National Parks.

Thank you for your comment, Ada.  This blog is created as a personal diary of my hikes for me to enjoy in later years.  If the journals help others to choose an adventure, that is fine.  This blog is not, and never will be a substitute for each person to perform due diligence through checking weather, determining trail conditions from park websites and the important use of a Hiking Guide and a Map.  The round trip approx time will be quite different for a broad range of hikers, fast, slow, old, young or differently motivated.  Occasionally, I add round trip distance and gross elevation gains.  Happy trails and stay safe.  There may be other Internet blogs or websites that will provide all the information you need.

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