Another selection of great hikes in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.
Here are ten more great hikes along Kananaskis Trail (Hwy 40) within easy access of Calgary, Alberta. Kananaskis Trail, west of Calgary, and south from the TransCanada Highway, provides quick and easy access to Kananaskis Country.
Check in at a Visitor Centre for current trail conditions and the most recent weather forecast. The south section of Kananaskis Trail, past the turn onto Kananaskis Lakes Trail, is closed from December 1 to June 14 to protect wildlife corridors, to reduce the need to clear mountain roads and to reduce public exposure to avalanche risk
Click on the title for a link to more detailed information about the hike in the original post.
1. Rae Glacier
The hike to Rae Glacier is an excellent experience involving a short, moderate ascent from the trailhead to Elbow Lake, then a right turn on good trail to the north side of Mount Rae.
This easily accessible glacier is the easternmost in the Rocky Mountains and is the primary source for the Elbow River which feeds the Bow River through Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Scenery is uniquely spectacular over diverse terrain and there are several discovery options worthy of pursuit. Rock Glacier is on the west flank of Mount Rae adjacent to Kananaskis Trail.
2. Guinn’s Pass
Guinn’s Pass is an offshoot of the Galatea Lakes Trail offering amazing views into the bowl beneath Mount Kidd which hosts Ribbon Lake feeding Ribbon Falls. It is above the site of a tragic 1986 aircraft disaster.
South Buller Pass and North Buller Pass are clearly visible on the far side and are accessible from Guinn’s Pass or the Smith-Dorrien Trail (Road 742) south from Canmore.
Mount Kidd can be ascended from Guinn’s Pass for clear views of Lillian Lake and both of the Galatea Lakes. Indelibly memorable scenery.
3. Lillian Lake
Lillian Lake is a hike available to a wide range of people who have the ability to climb the trails which bypass major waterfalls. Galatea Creek occupies the bottom of the valley and vistas are large and diverse. Truly a beautiful and very popular hike from the Galatea Trailhead on Kananaskis Trail (Hwy 40).
The campground with washroom facilities is a wonderful place for a picnic beside the still, emerald water. There is an option to continue higher to Lower Galatea Lake, Upper Galatea Lake and Guinn’s Pass for more robust, experienced hikers. A goldmine of opportunity on diverse terrain.
4. Mount Allan
Mount Allan hosts Nakiska Ski Resort on its east flank beneath Olympic Summit. The true summit above and behind can be achieved from Ribbon Creek parking on the Hidden Creek Trail past Coal Mine Scar, or from the north near Dead Man’s Flat along the TransCanada Hwy.
Two cars, combined with an abundance of time, energy and perpetual positive thinking, allow the traverse to be achieved with hours of ridge hiking at altitude with incredible extended vistas. Not for the faint of heart.
The summit via the south access would be a good initial hike. It is initially a steep climb from Coal Mine Scar but from Olympic Summit the hike passes the Mushroom Garden and the impressive Rock Garden.
Views from the summit are breathtaking over to adjacent Mount Collembola and across to the expansive walls of Mount Lougheed. Memorial Lakes glisten beneath Mount Bogart.
Guinn’s Pass, Lillian Lake and Galatea Lakes are all accessed by the same trail beginning at the Galatea Parking Area. It is possible to do all three in the same long day.
Galatea Lakes past Lillian Lake are worthy of pursuit. The beautiful lakes are rock and mountain bound with plenty of scree and many caves in surrounding rock walls.
Be aware the faint trail on the opposite side of Galatea Lake is more rustic and does not link back into the main trail, to the best of my knowledge. That trail returns to Lillian Lake on rugged trail. Galatea Lakes are a significant extension to the Lillian Lake hike. Incredibly beautiful scenery.
Coal Mine Scar is a relatively easy hike to a reclaimed coal mining pit on the flank of Mount Allan.
The hike begins from the Ribbon Creek parking area which was once the location of an old coal mining town known as Kovach. Careful investigation of nearby surrounding forest may reveal scant evidence of the historical infrastructure.
Hidden Trail near the far parking washrooms continues straight up gradual slope to trail left where the second junction on the right will reveal an old mining cabin and debris on the way to the massive grassy field with magnificent views of Mount Kidd.
All that remains of the old pit mine is a short section of coal rich cliff and remnants of the old mining roads. Return on the TransCanada Trail creates a loop on better trail.
Baldy Pass can be achieved via the marked trailhead with signed parking on the west side of Kananaskis Trail south from the exit to Nakiska. Be cautious crossing Hwy 40.
This trail has diverse features and although the views are compromised by tall trees at the pass, a quick jaunt to higher elevations on the south side of the pass opens the spectacular view.
Baldy Pass is a good season opener but it may be necessary to cross patches of sheltered snow.
The Cox Hill hike commonly begins from Dawson Trailhead along Powderface Trail south from Sibbald Creek Trail (Hwy 68). There is an option to drive further south to make the access via the TransCanada Trail to Jumpingpound Ridge.
The T-junction on the ridge will provide the option to hike left to Cox Hill summit, or right to the summit of Jumpingpound Mountain. There are sweeping panoramic views from the ridge with Moose Mountain prevalent nearby.
There are three Memorial Lakes. The most commonly seen, from higher surrounding elevations, is ‘The Emerald’, or Memorial Lake # 2.
Access is off Ribbon Creek Trail onto North Ribbon Creek Trail. The North Ribbon Creek Trail is rustic over a variety of beautiful terrain as several creek crossings lead to an impressive, multiple pitch waterfall. The steep hike up beside the waterfall is the final approach to Memorial Lake # 1.
Trail continues to a small waterfall on the right and ascent trail over scree leads to the Memorial Lake # 2. This is really worth the time and effort. The beauty of ‘The Emerald’ leaves many speechless.
Trail continues to an easy scramble and hike to Memorial Lake # 3, tucked around the other side of Bogart Tower. Mount Bogart looms behind. Memorial Cairn honors the heroes who gave their lives in air searches for a 1986 Kananaskis Country plane crash.
This challenging hike goes to a place of grandeur and retrospect.
Pocaterra Cirque is an easy and popular hike across Kananaskis Trail from the large parking area at Highwood Pass beginning June 15.
The hike leads to a beautiful bowl with ponds, running water and towering rock walls. Several trail extensions are possible.
Bonus # 11. Ribbon Falls
Ribbon Falls is an 11 kilometer (6.9 mile), one-way, hike with modest elevation, from the Ribbon Creek parking area.
Diverse and spectacular trail features between Mount Kidd and Mount Bogart lead to a tall, roaring waterfall where lunch tastes better in the presence of fresh, ionized air.
For any trail you choose to hike, it is important to carry a map, carry and consult a good hiking guide, and obtain current trail conditions and expected weather from the Visitor Center.
Tell someone where you are going and how long you expect to be there. On completion, let them know you have completed your day hike to avoid having potentially expensive search parties being sent to look for you. Stay safe.
Carry layers and pack everything you may need to enjoy a spectacular day.