Ten easily accessible great hikes, along Kananaskis Trail west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Following are ten 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.
It is always wise to stop at a Visitor Centre for current trail conditions. 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 roller coaster mountain roads and to reduce public exposure to avalanche risk.
Click on the red links for more detailed information about the hike.
1. Old Baldy
The hike to the top of Old Baldy offers a wide variety of scenic terrain and spectacular views over Kananaskis Country after a short, humbling aerobic section up the grassy hill above the lake. A loop is possible.
There is more minor up and down elevation than one might expect around a lake but this full day hike offers relentless and incredibly beautiful, stunning scenery.
The south shore, in forest, can become a bit tedious but there are several opportunities to get to lake shore.
3. The Wedge
Spectacular views of Mount Kidd and surrounding mountains unfold on this hike with extended sections of aggressive elevation. There is a popular and serious, moderate scramble with one short hard section, for those properly equipped and experienced, who choose to continue beyond the scenic ridge.
There is a bit of route-finding required to find the trail-head off Kovach Trail and a brutal ascent up the side of the hill which may cause loss of the will to live, but the incredible views across Kananaskis Valley make the effort more than worthwhile.
An excellent hike on great road and trail with historical significance. See the remains of the old fire lookout while it survives. Remember to take in the view from the ridge just beyond the old wooden lookout.
A popular day hike with a walk across the dam, great views of Barrier Lake, a concrete picnic table near the top and great views of surrounding mountains in the Bow Valley Corridor. It is polite to ask for permission to approach any inhabited Lookout.
7. Jewell Falls
The hike to Jewell Falls, best done earlier in the season, features a cascading white water creek and waterfall. There are several loop opportunities as well as continuing to Jewell Pass.
8. Rawson Lake
The hike to Rawson Lake branches off from the south shore of Upper Kananaskis Lake and leads up to another lakeshore hike with amazing views of Mount Sarrail, and over the Kananaskis Lakes when you climb to the the top of the ridge on the far side.
A creek crossing and a stiff climb from Little Highwood parking leads to a day of fascinating terrain and multiple WOW! moments as phenomenal views unfold on both sides along the entire length of Pocaterra Ridge. Can also be done from the Highwood Pass end as well, or as a more challenging loop through the Rockfall Valley.
10. Ptarmigan Cirque
This hike climbs from Highwood Pass, east along running white water, to a fabulous bowl with amazing views over Kananaskis Valley and beyond. If the Ptarmigan Cirque hike is closed, enjoy the Pocaterra Cirque hike on the west side of Highwood Pass.
Carry a map, consult and carry a good hiking guide, obtain current conditions from the Visitor Centre and tell someone where you are going and how long you expect to be there. On completion, call to tell them you have completed your day hike.
There is a huge assortment of hikes along Kananaskis Trail (Hwy. 40). Carry layers and pack everything you may need to enjoy a great day.
Happy trails and stay safe.