New editions of our Popular Day Hikes book have just been released in time for the hiking season. Gillean’s Popular Day Hikes in Kananaskis Country has been substantially revised and updated, while;Tony’s Popular Day Hikes in the Canadian Rockies has seen few changes.
On our way down from one of the peaks of the Hunchback Hills Gill found a debris patch that could possibly be an old crash site. There were small pieces of sheet metal and a few larger pieces containing what looked like fuel lines embedded in chunks of metal that were obviously fused together by very high temperatures.
We hiked the Mustang Hills to see how the logging has affected the trails. The good news—very little. The summit trail where it leaves the old highway has a cutblock on the right and you cross a logging road halfway up the steep bit, but after this it’s the same as it ever was to east hill. It is only on the summit of this hill that one sees the logging in the shallow valley below.
There’s now a well thought out network of snowshoe/winter walking trails in lower Peter Lougheed Provincial Park that enables snowshoers to create their own short and long loops starting from parking lots at Elk Pass, Boulton Bridge, Boulton Creek, Elkwood, William Watson Lodge, Canyon, the Discovery Centre and Pocaterra.
Torpor is a new snowshoe/winter biking trail in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. The 6.3 km loop is easy with a few long hills and three very short steep ones out of Boulton Bridge parking lot.
Fortress Mountain Ski Resort hopes to be back in business by December 2020. A new owner, Fortress Mountain Holdings, is taking another kick at the can. The company has been operating KPOW!, a Cat Skiing operation since 2011 and has some ambitious plans for the area.
The new snowshoe trail on the terraces above Kananaskis Village is a welcome addition to the original short loops. It makes a 4.4 km loop and allows for a 6 km snowshoe if combined with the original loops. It loops around Terrace and Terrace Link trails, briefly criss-crossing Aspen.
Bens Hill, east of Prairie Mountain and only 1000 feet lower with an open summit and a stone circle on top, is an ideal winter walking destination. The area is laced with bike trails, both Downhill Speciific and multi use, built by the MMBTS (Moose Mountain Bike Trail Society), that are well on their way to being government approved.
Recent changes that affect both summer and winter use start from Hidden trail which leaves the Ribbon Creek parking lot behind the kiosk. Before you go take a gander at the up-to-date map displayed at the trailhead.
Highwood Pass is a popular venue for larch viewing. While there are a few larches at the pass for the driving tourist, the nearby cirques — Pocaterra and Arethusa — contain one of the highest concentrations of larches in Kananaskis Country. We headed out to photograph the larches in Pocaterra Cirque and climb Pocaterra Ridge.
There is a new approach to the two routes up Holy Cross Mountain that is much better than the approach in Volume 5 of the Kananaskis Country Trail Guide and in More Scrambles. A good trail is developing that leaves the Gunnery Passs trail shortly before the pass.
Recently we stumbled upon what is possibly a memorial on the east end of Mount Quirk ridge just below a bulldozed fire break. There was a post off in the middle of the bush nowhere near a trail with two names and a date carved on it.
The High Rockies Trail heads south from Goat Creek above Canmore to Elk Pass at the BC border. The newly constructed section from Goat Creek to Pocaterra Dam was built as a multi-use trail for hiking, mountain biking and snowshoeing. South of Three Sisters Dam it is mostly a narrow, winding trail through mossy forest and old burns with increasingly better views as you head south.
This is a question that many hikers using GPS devices ask when they obtain summit heights that are different from information online. Gérard Lachapelle, Professor Emeritus, Department of Geomatics Engineering, University of Calgary is trying to get some answers. Thank you Gérard for the following blog.
There is a new section of trail in Wind Valley that gives easy access to the Wind Ridge trail. It has 4 new bridges if you count the replacement of the 2015 bridge over Pigeon Creek that was recently demolished by a falling tree.