Prairie Mountain is a popular hike that many use to start off their season in the spring. Aside from a cornice that will stay for most of the spring, the mountain is usually bare.
It's a grueling hike about 3km in length to the top of the mountain. For it's length, the elevation gain is high and fast.
The trail starts right off with steep switchbacks and levels off at the top of a forested ridge.
At the top of the ridge a few clearings will give you a nice view of the valley. After the relatively low slope of the ridge, be prepared for more switchbacks until you clear the treeline.
Once you clear the treeline its a gradual slope with a cliff on the east side up to the summit which is marked by a cairn with a large stick.
There are some small trees near the summit for a windbreak as you have lunch or a snack and enjoy the 360 degree panorama view. Looking North you'll see Moose Mountain Fire lookout. To the east you'll see Calgary on a sunny day, and to the south the MacLean Creek area with it's multitude of OHV trails.
It's a great hike I've done three times now, but it is a leg burner. Bring poles if you have any knee problems as it is steep. Kids would have no problems with this hike and there is very little exposure with the only hazard being the cliffs at the summit.
22 km west of Bragg Creek, you can turn off highway 66 at the Elbow Falls Parking lot. Park on the North side of the road on the shoulder at the winter closure gates. The trail is well-defined and heads straight up (North) from the highway.
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Posted By: thomasgrant72
- Fri Apr 03 21:42:09 UTC 2015
UpsideAmazing panoramic views reward you at the top. DownsidePretty steep climb in some parts. Glad I had a pole and good hiking shoes. CommentWe hit all four seasons in one hike, it was great! Started off a bit cool, the steep climb had us sweating so we had to peel off some layers. Then when we hit the summit we were welcomed to winter -- a light layer of snow and a chilling wind, but the view was well worth it. A few members of our group to some light falls on the way down. If you have a pole and some good shoes you'll have no problem. It was 3.44 km to the summit (from the highway trailhead) and took us 2.5 hrs of pure hiking (+ stops and snacks).
Posted By: dconstantine
- Mon Mar 23 15:19:58 UTC 2015
UpsideGreat hike that is usually clear of snow. Great views and an awesome trail to run. DownsideAre you kidding! There is never a down side to hiking Prairie. Comment Always carry extra coat and gloves as the top can be windy and cold. Travel north and follow the cairns down the west side and come back on Prairie Creek trail. Great loop!
Posted By: ChrisMarry
- Wed Nov 19 02:12:26 UTC 2014
UpsideShort and quite an easy hike, but still a good training. All seasons hike, great views of the prairies and the mountains. Perfect when you don't have much time. DownsideLots of people, no challenges other than being steeper sometimes. CommentI did this twice in the last two years, in spring and winter conditions. It's definitely not a scramble, but it's beautiful and you get great views most of the time. There are a lot of people, but at least you don't need your snowshoes in winter and can make it in about 2-3 hours at a good and steady pace.
Elevation of 695 m NET, 709 m TOT and max 2211 m
Posted By: Manisa
- Tue Sep 16 12:41:42 UTC 2014
CommentAnyone found gold necklace on the prairie creek trail, i lost it on sep 14 2014. Please call me +15878940031. It was from Mom.
Posted By: mchagel
- Sun May 18 02:07:52 UTC 2014
QuestionWhat is a good short hike to a peak to watch a sunrise?ANSWERS are in this forum: sunrise
Posted By: euro7066
- Mon Feb 06 02:44:29 UTC 2012
CommentDid it on February 5, 2012. Nice hike, nice view, a few steep hills...
Posted By: SuperElf
- Mon Jan 02 01:08:35 UTC 2012
UpsideNice views, pleasant woods DownsideLots and lots of up in a short distance. CommentWonderful New Years walk on a glorious sunny day. Icer's required, but no snowshoes. Found a pair of ladies prescription glasses by the side of the trail, if anyone lost them please contact me.
Posted By: Canockbock
- Thu May 05 02:20:28 UTC 2011
UpsideWorth the effort.One of the best 360 degree veiws I've seen.You won't be disappointed when you reach this summit! DownsideGets slippery at the higher elevations in the spring time making going up tricky but going down even trickier.Bring some type of snow gripper for your boots or prepare for hiking boot skiing on the way down. CommentTakes about 1.5 hrs to reach the summit if in good shape.
Posted By: DanOCan
- Thu Sep 03 19:06:09 UTC 2009
UpsideA good shoulder season hike. Strenuous but short. DownsideNo time for warmup, you start gaining elevation right away. CommentI've done it three times now. It holds a special place in my heart because it was the first mountain I ever hiked to the top of.
Posted By: xtremepeaks
- Mon Apr 13 17:46:50 UTC 2009
Commenttrail starts at 11U 655519 5637200 as described here, if the gates are open after the winter, there are more trails in the area for reaching the top. it is icy and snowy up there in the spring, hiking is not always easy.
Posted By: mavenh
- Sun Apr 05 21:37:19 UTC 2009
New to this forum, so sorry if i post this in the wrong place.
Recently moved to Calgary fro England and enjoy the great outdoor experience (one of the reasons for coming here of course).
The wife & I had a great walk around Barrier Lake and up to the Look out - well, we didn't actually get all the way up there.... the snow made it a harder walk !!
We were looking for other walks and came across your site and we really like the look of this one ...
But i cant understand where the start point is, nothing other than Bragg Creek shows on my online maps ... is there on online way to search NTS maps?
Thanks in advance for any help and guidance.
StuartANSWERS are in this forum: Prairie Mountain