Heart Mountain – Bow Valley Corridor – Hiking Alberta

 

Heart Mountain in the Bow Valley is identified by the shape of it's 6,747 ft. summit.

 

 

Following several days of rainy, cool weather, there is an opportunity to get out to the mountains on a beautiful, warm and sunny day.  Significant snow pack lingers at higher elevations on the drive west from Calgary, Alberta, Canada via the TransCanada Highway to Heart Mountain across the highway from Lac des Arcs.  The mountain looks reasonably clear so there is commitment to the hike.

 

Heart Mountain – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada The Heart Creek and Heart Mountain trailhead

 

Heart Mountain – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada The Heart Mountain trailhead at the junction

 

The Heart Mountain trailhead is accessed by hiking east from the main parking area to the Heart Mountain Valley trail then continuing on short jogs north, east and south to the clearly signed trailhead.  Dangerous attempts to the summit should be avoided from further into Heart Valley between Mount McGillivray and Heart Mountain.

The trail is steep and rocky with an ascent of 853 m (2,800 vertical feet)  over a distance of 3 kilometers (1⅞ miles).  Fresh, multi-colored, spring foliage is aromatic and bright.  The ascent is a workout, occasionally over rolling rock surfaces which require careful attention.  

 

Heart Mountain – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada View of Lac des Arcs and Grotto Mountain

 

Heart Mountain – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada Lac des Arcs and Grotto Mountain from higher elevation

 

Following about an hour of moderate ascent the Crux, which is a short, easy, vertical scramble leads to an easy scramble up a rock clogged gully where there is an opportunity to bask in the sun and enjoy lunch surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery.

 

Heart Mountain – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada Heart Creek in the valley bottom between Heart Mountain and Mount McGillivray

 

Heart Mountain – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada Lunch near the summit of Heart Mountain

 

Heart Mountain – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada Butterfly in the sun

 

There are dramatic 457 m (1,500 foot) seasonal waterfalls on neighboring and immense 2,450 m (8,038 ft) Mount McGillivray as the snow pack melts in the warm day.  The sound of waterfalls echo in the valley through calm air under bright sun. 

Heart Mountain has been a frequent companion over many years and this day offers the best weather on Heart Mountain ever experienced.  There is a perfect balance between sun, breeze and temperature.  Following the break for lunch the descent begins via the same route for ascent.  Any down scramble is always more challenging and risky than the ascent.

 

Heart Mountain – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada Heart Creek and Heart Mountain with its distinctive summit

 

Heart Mountain – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada Heart Creek Waterfall and Heart Mountain

 

The decision to drive a short distance further further west to Canmore provides the opportunity enjoy good conversation and refreshment at the Rose and Crown before returning to Calgary.

 

 

Heart Mountain – Bow Valley Corridor, Alberta, Canada Day end at the Canmore Rose and Crown for refreshment

 

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