Raven's End is the prominent northeast abutment of Mount Yamnuska in the Bow Valley, Alberta, Canada.
The drive west from Calgary exits the TransCanada Highway at Hwy 1X past Seebe, then right on Hwy 1A to the popular main parking area for Yamnuska. The hike to Raven's End on the NE end of Yamnuska (Mount Laurie) begins at the main trail-head, then crosses the quarry road beyond the climber's log book and into aspen forest.
Initial incline is reasonable and relatively consistent as good trail meanders through forest and the occasional draw. The first objective is to climb around and past the end of a rocky ridge. Past a steeper ascent angle near the end, the climber's trail proceeds straight. The hiker's trail is clearly marked, heads right and ascends at a decent angle through forest, then beside a drainage.
The effects of the June 2013 flood are still evident at the sides of the drainage as weakened banks remain insufficient to anchor nearest trees which create a tunnel to hike beneath. In open areas there are views above and back to Raven's End. Spectacular and expansive views of mountains to the west, and features of the Yamnuska Natural Area, unfold below.
From an obvious large viewpoint in an open area on smooth rock slab, there are amazing views for many kilometers. The viewpoint is a place to rest for a moment to enjoy a drink while warm sun tempers cool mountain breeze flirting with the skin. The spring-fed lakes, knobs and kettles created eons ago by glacial retreat are surrounded by snow-tipped peaks of surrounding mountains. There is time to capture a brief video.
This is wilderness bliss and the target is clearly within range. The next objective is to find the correct turn for a direction reversal and the final approach to Raven's End at the NE end of Yamnuska. There is a significant clue.
Trail near the top is badly braided but direction is dictated by the monolith in plain sight straight ahead. At a major trail junction it might be noticed there may be a small sign, on a large evergreen tree, indicating the junction is for a right turn to the CMC (Calgary Mountain Club) Trail into the spectacular CMC Valley north of Yamnuska and south of dramatic Wendell Mountain.
At the base of Raven's End there are dramatic views near the painted markers which define the beginning of the scramble route up and over the summit of Yamnuska. At mid May, surrounding trail is dry but there is snow in the chimney. The traverse over Mount Yamnuska is a popular and amazing scramble which leaves indelible memories. Prerequisite experience and accompaniment are important factors as well as a mandatory rock helmet for hiking beneath climbing walls on the retreat. Excellent life goal experience.
There are periodic trail markers on the occasional tree but common sense is a better approach on best and most used rocky trail along the top of the ridge approach.
The return is a repeat of the access on this excellent hiking day and there are many hiking options to expand the day as required.
Photographs for this hike to Raven's End at the northeast end of Yamnuska were taken in the Bow Valley west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada on May 12, 2015.