Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country - Hiking Alberta

 

Ford Knolls occupy the east flank of Nihahi Ridge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

 

The hike around and over the first Ford Knoll is a very popular 5 KM (3⅛ mile) loop hike near the end of Hwy 66, and across the road from beautiful Forget-Me-Not Pond.  Elevation gain is estimated at 230 m (755 ft).

 

Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Michael leads on the 5 KM loop hike in a counterclockwise direction.

 

Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada There is quite a bit of dead fall to negotiate on the ascent.

 

At the trail-head the decision is made to tackle the trail in a counterclockwise direction which will make the ascent predominately through forest.

The descent, on the other side of the knoll is very scenic on more open ground, with fabulous views of surrounding mountains.  Along the trail, up to and over the top of the first Ford Knoll, there are a series of cairns.

 

Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Michael stands beside one of the cairns on the Ford Knoll # 1 loop trail.

 

 

Ford Knolls, Elbow Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

There are at least nine Ford Knolls stretched along the Ford Creek Trail wedged between Powderface Trail (the road) and 12 KM long (7½ mile) Nihahi Ridge. 

The Ford Creek Trail is moderately strenuous with major undulating elevation and will be saved for the future.  Passing over the top of the knoll begins the descent of the other side of the knoll and views begin to substantially expand.

 

Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A view of Forget-Me-Not Ridge and Mountain above Forget-Me-Not Pond on the other side of the road.

 

Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Forget-Me-Not Pond near Ford Knoll # 1. Little Elbow River backs the pond.

 

Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A dramatic view of Nihahi Ridge from an open area on Ford Knoll # 1 in Kananaskis Country.

 

Nihahi Ridge is an excellent hike/scramble.  There are several options for a broad range of distance, elevation and degree of difficulty varying from low-moderate to very difficult.

 

Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Nihahi Ridge makes a bold statement and offers a wide variety of potential hiking experiences.

 

Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The first summit is achieved by a ledge hike from photo left to a short moderate scramble to the scree slope to the summit.

 

Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A tighter view of the ledge hike on Nihahi Ridge. The wet scramble is in the notch at base of the scree slope. Not for the faint of heart.

 

Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mountain views from Ford Knoll on the descent into the valley.

 

Good fortune notices a prairie chicken off to the side of the trail and several minutes are taken to watch her and her nearly adult brood of chicks scurrying about nearby in the underbrush.

She seems very comfortable and allows us to get very close for photographs.

 

Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

There are a labyrinth of trails and junctions in this very popular area so it is important to examine markers at each trail junction.

 

Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Descent into the valley provides plenty of lush shrubbery and berry bushes and the opportunity to practice bear awareness skills by making plenty of noise before blind corners.

Any bear in the area will move on long before we arrive.  Berry bushes are a major food source for bears, so when we see berries, we automatically think 'bears', and employ bear awareness skills.

 

Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Shrubbery and berries on bushes mean we should practice bear awareness.

 

Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A view of Forget-Me-Not Ridge and the mountain summit peeking out behind.

 

Arrival at a creek reveals an old wooden culvert.  These have not been used for decades.

Crossing the easy way by stepping on logs and over the culvert the hike proceeds off-trail upstream to find a spot to jump over the creek.

 

Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Arriving at a small stream with an old wooden culvert surprisingly intact.

 

Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Looking back at the old wooden culvert after we cross the stream.

 

Final mountain views are enjoyed before making the traverse parallel to the road and back to the trail-head where we began.

 

Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Ford Knoll - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

This great hiking day has demonstrated excellent route finding and hiking skills, and a true appreciation for the beauty of nature.  Michael has done an excellent job.

The return to Calgary is accompanied by good feelings after plenty of exercise and fresh mountain air.

 

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