One of the premier ridge walks in Kananaskis and a rare trip that can be done as a one way jaunt that doesn't require you to retrace your steps. Best done with two vehicles though. Start from the Highwood Pass parking lot unless as you will finish nealy 300 m lower this way.
Start at the north end of the parking lot and follow the gravelled interpretive trail across the foot bridge and immediately find the ridge trail branching on the left at a sign asking that hikers keep to the established trails to protect the environment. Walk single file to avoid trail braiding.
The trail will soon turn to the left and begin a gentle ascent though the forest. A creek will often run down the trail making for a sloppy ascent. After a short descent you will eventually reach a small tairn. From here the trail is obvious. Stay to the right crossing a small creek the valley will open up and you'll be at the base ridge.
Follow the trail to the summit. The first peak is the hardest. From the top you can see the next two peaks. The trail may not always be obivous but it's well established and shouldn't be difficult to find as you progress. You'll have great views of Highway 40 to the east and Elbow Lake to the north east.
After the third peak there will be a fork with a branch to the right leading down to Highway 40. Continue straight and up a short ascent to the fourth and final peak on the ridge. As you begin your final descent the Little Highwood Pass parking lot will be visible. The descent is steep and long. You have one last creek to cross before emerging onto the Highway. If you left a vehicle at the Little Highwood Pass parking lot your hike is done. Enjoy.
From the TransCanada highway follow Highway 40 south. Highway 40 will be closed beyond the Kananaskis Lakes Road turnoff from December until June 15 each year as it is a critical wildlife corridor. From the Kananaskis Lakes Road turnoff continue along Highway 40 until you reach Little Highwood Pass parking lot. If you have two vehicles leave one here. If you only have one vehicle leave it here and try hitch hiking the last few kilometers to the Highwood Pass Parking lot.
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Posted By: Nicole.Robins
- Sun Sep 24 23:19:57 UTC 2017
CommentDid this hike South to North at the end of September. We started at 9:45am and finished just after 3pm. The morning was tough because the snow had compacted into ice along much of the trail through the woods - I would highly recommend studs for your boots. View was absolutely spectacular from the ridge and we even saw a bighorn sheep on the way down.
Posted By: ChrisMarry
- Wed Aug 09 04:03:00 UTC 2017
UpsideTremendous views on a long ridge walk with several high points. The forest is beautiful and the trail well established. DownsideIt seems like a very popular hike, summit was crowded. For a complete traverse, 2 cars parked at each end are required to avoid an extra 7 km on the highway. CommentWe might have been asking to much of our friend who was doing his first hike ever in the Rockies. Many high points to visit along that absolutely stunning traverse with beautiful views of Mount Rae, Elpoca and Gap mountain amongst others. We did it south-north but would consider it the other way around if we come back to do the traverse first and finish with the summit for a quick descent to Pocaterra Cirque instead. We saw a grizzly bear feeding in the valley about 1 km away from us and a bighorn waiting for us on the ridge at a high point before it ran straight down toward a cliff after a few minutes leading the way on the trail. The vegetation there is beautiful and looks like a new-growth forest at the north end.
Posted By: KochG
- Thu Aug 18 16:19:44 UTC 2016
UpsideOutstanding views all the way along the trail, waterfalls, creeks, seen Mountain Sheep and other animals Downsideat the end of the hike, just before you get to the parking lot, the trail just ended at the creek, no sure way to cross it, possibly damaged after flood, not a hard crossing by any means but got my feet wet Commentdid this hike with my 15 yr old Daughter in 5 1/2 hours, both absolutely loved this hike, totally worth it, will do again, as stated above that late fall would give nice colors on the larch trees. Very rewarding hike.
Posted By: calatravacross
- Sat Jul 28 12:34:04 UTC 2012
UpsideIt is a lovely hike with great views of Rockbound Lake DownsidePlease note that once you gain the ridge,you can hear the traffic from HWY 40 for the rest of the hike. CommentWould suggest you do it later in the season so that the change of colour of the larches add to the beauty as well the traffic on HWY 40 would be lighter
Posted By: Goneways
- Mon Jul 19 21:03:57 UTC 2010
UpsideBeautiful colors in September. DownsideIt is a difficult trail!