Leather, ankle-covering, stiff-soled hiking boots are highly recommended for this hike.
Rubber palmed gloves, gaiters and a rock helmet would also be a good idea.
Stoneworks Canyon is wedged between Mount Lady Macdonald and Squaw's Tit. The canyon can be accessed several ways and all of them lead to the foot-pounding hike up the rocky bed of Stoneworks Creek.
On the map, Stoneworks Canyon is at photo bottom right. The access this day will be via the Meander Trail and across a very well-established but unmarked trail to Johnny's Trail, bypassing the Cross Zee Horseback Riding Ranch.
Another alternative is ascent of Stoneworks Creek which requires navigating fences near the beginning.
The route on Stoneworks Creek is rugged but straightforward. Elevation gain is gradual and consistent.
There are snippets of trail, periodically, along one side of the creek bed, or the other, to reduce the impact of the ankle-pounding hike over uneven rock.
Note: It is very likely June 2013 floods have changed these trail descriptions.
The entrance to Stoneworks Canyon appears suddenly. Route finding and rock hopping begins between steep canyon walls worn smooth by centuries of powerful water and tumbling boulders.
Navigation through the second narrow section reveals a shallow cave to the left.
Passing the third narrow canyon section enters a more open area past Weird Wall on the left. A light rain begins, so instead of continuing on to the steeper scramble on wet rock to the right, a retreat seems more sensible.
Rainfall into a tight canyon can become compromising fairly quickly. It is the wrong end of a funnel.
Stoneworks Canyon is a cool alternative on a hot day and provides a stark alternative to typical trail. There is always that sense of discovery around the next corner.
At least two persons would be a good choice. Three is ideal. In the unlikely but always possible event of injury, there is one to stay and one to go for help.
Exiting Stoneworks Canyon, the rain ends and the retreat continues down Stoneworks Creek using shoreline trails, when and where available, and hopping over rocks as required.
Further down, the trail is flagged on creek bed for part of the distance until Johnny's Trail passes the junction with the Montane Traverse.
Permission is requested and received to hike through the Cross Zee Ranch to return to Palliser Trail then hike the bicycle path back to the parking area under sunny skies with fabulous mountain views of both sides of the Bow Valley Corridor at Canmore, Alberta.