Donna's Rating - Moderate to Difficult Scramble/Ridgewalk
Moderate valley hike to a difficult scramble/ridge walk in Kananaskis, but so rewarding with views of Spray Lake, Shark Lake, Commonwealth Lake, creeks, valleys, etc. We loved it, albeit the scramble sections were pretty intense, especially if one is afraid of heights! Elevation is about 1000 metres, for a 10.8 km total loop from the parking lot. Recommend taking the trailhead about 100 m before the pull out/parking area. To go the other way would be super scary coming down the steep and narrow cliffside scramble past the weather station.
You have maybe 3 km in the forest before you start to see Spray Lake reservoir and some peaks. The flowers were fantastic! Then, you get to the ridge and scramble up a narrow, steep section to the first peak. Take very good care - a fall would be fatal. You'll then walk up to the weather station and up 'n down the ridge for most of the rest of the hike. It was wonderful with many stellar viewpoints all around!
Exposure on the ridge can be extreme -- we got caught in a summer storm (July 13, 2015) high winds and temperature dropped to 3C so be prepared. There is a little bit of scrambling on the horseshoe on the way down (heading north on the west side). Then, the trail switch backs down to the valley floor and more stellar wild flower displays on the way back to the parking area. Stay on the main trail keeping left down into the valley. When you get to the fire road, go right and follow back to the main road and parking area. Bring bear spray -- saw two clumps of fresh scat on the trail.
Took us 5 hours but we were slow over the scrambles and stopped for a lunch at the summit. Would recommend that trail to anyone who is a fairly experienced hiker, it's very accessible and so beautiful!!!
This hike is not easy, those in great shape and advid hikers may call it easy but there are sections of this hike that can be quite dangerous depending on your skill level.
If planning on traveling ridge east to west, the route coming down on the west has multiple trails -- keep to the well traveled path to get back to the road.
From Canmore, you take Spray Lake Rd (742) and go pass the reservoir, then, you have few km to do and there will be a road on you're right, where the Mt Engadine lodge is located, turn there and keep going about 1-2 km, until you see that roadside who's an improvised parking lot. Take the first trailhead was just before the parking It's about 50-60 minutes from Canmore.
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Posted By: ktszak
- Mon Jun 05 00:00:28 UTC 2017
UpsideGorgeous views from the ridge! DownsideHiked on June 3 with still a few feet of soft snow leading up to the ridge, sinking in close to waist deep at parts. No visible trail at the time due to the snow. Linked up with a few other groups lost in the forest and forged our way through. CommentWait a couple weeks for the snow to melt, we had an extremely difficult time finding the trail.
Posted By: k.macarthur
- Fri Jan 06 22:07:37 UTC 2017
UpsideBeautiful Views quick to get up and long ridge walk DownsideHad to try twice to find the trail, ended up in the bowl the first time looking up at where we should be. CommentReally beautiful Hike, our dog made it up easily as well
Posted By: gakamps
- Sun Aug 14 17:49:22 UTC 2016
UpsideGreat views in the valley and all along the ridge DownsideA little harder than expected, some scrambling on the way up, even scrambling/bouldering a bit on the top of the ridge. CommentAfter locating the two trail heads to do the hike, I would recommend starting at the southern trail head, or the one closer to the lodge. You go through the forest for 45mins until you enter the valley with some nice views. Then a bit of a scramble up to the ridge. Walking along the ridge is great, theres 360 views for the entire ridge walk, then it's some switchbacks down the other side and back into the forest. It seems like this way would be way more enjoyable to do than the other direction.
Posted By: canadacandy
- Wed Jun 22 18:22:22 UTC 2016
UpsideViews, Views, Views. Good for dogs. DownsideWe had difficulty finding the trail first go CommentI posted previously that we had a hard time finding the trail and gave up. About 3 days later I went again and it was the same parking spot but instead of going South towards the Trans Canada, go the opposite way and use that trail entrance. This is one of my favorite hikes I've done. The views are stunning, dogs of all sizes (well, Medium and Large) were on the trail. The description of time and difficulty is accurate. It's on the longer side but moderate at most. Would recommend!
Posted By: Kushan
- Mon Apr 18 18:07:26 UTC 2016
CommentWARNING: We attempted this hike April 17. As of this date, the trail is still filled with snow. We got stuck 2km along the trail and when trying to call it a failure and head back to parking lot, got stuck again 100m to the parking lot. The snow was a bit melted due to temperature rise which made it impossible to step on. We'd probably give it a month or so, to try it again. But consider it a summer hike perhaps.
Posted By: canadacandy
- Sat Oct 03 01:41:28 UTC 2015
CommentI attempted this trail a few days ago with a friend after seeing beautiful fall pictures of it. Firstly, the few kilometres on spray lakes road is 36 km on a dirt road. So just keep that in mind when planning your day and vehicle. I found the descriptions very accurate. We turned onto Mt Engaldine loadge area and kept driving 2-3 kilometers and found a make shift parking lot which we parked at. We saw an obvious trail entrance after the parking lot with a hiking sign so we took it. Walked 3 kilometers which took us to the lakeside. But we are both experienced hikers and saw absolutely no ridge to climb. We fallowed pink tags up a hill to an open area with lots of rocks and rock pools and fallowed it. Long story short 16 km later we called time of death on the hike and went back to the parking lots. Where along the way did we screw up? If anyone can help I'd greatly appreciate it. We obviously took some sort of trail as there were tags, but it definitely was not tent ridge.
Posted By: eyerise
- Wed Aug 12 00:04:05 UTC 2015
UpsideGreat views from a very long ridgeline shaped like a backwards "J" Works very well as a loop DownsideA bit scrambly in spots. Not a real downside more of a warning. CommentReally enjoyed this hike on a beautiful August day.