A Bow Vally Classic for hikers and climbers. Its sheer 500' face can be seen from the TransCanada and the peak is often in the clouds. It gets an A for accessability.
There are many routes for both up this limestone mountain to the 2240m summit. Even hikers (who can do a 900m elevation change in 4.5-6km) can make it to the summit without special equipment. The first 3km is through mixed forest with a wide variety of wild life and birds to see. Above the trees is a fair amount of skree and careful footing is required.
A loop can be made around the mountain and if so, do it CCW. To make the loop (or get to the summit from the E), there is a narrow ledge 30m long that must be traversed about 300m from the summit. There is a cable to hang on to but it isn't for the faint of heart as you can see in the picture.
Editor's Note: This is a scramble. Be aware that scrambling can injure or kill you. Be prepared, know your limits and make sure somebody knows where you're going.
Calgary, west on TC1 ~60km to Seebe turnoff. Go N on 1X to 1A, then E 2km to Yamnuska parking lot on N side of highway. Go to N end of lot and follow well used trail.
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Posted By: rozalita
- Mon Jul 17 20:35:32 UTC 2017
UpsideViews views views. DownsideScree. I was definitely not prepared for the amount of loose and scree there was on the trail. CommentThis is a beautiful hike that I need to seek redemption on. The scree was not hard physically, but mentally. We got to the parking lot quite early and had the trail mostly to ourselves on the way up which meant that when we got to the scree we did not have anyone to follow or imitate.
Noped out at the chain which probably would have been much easier than descending scree switchbacks but hindsight is 20/20. This was still incredible and I look forward to completing this hike.
Posted By: alexawik
- Thu Jun 01 15:15:00 UTC 2017
UpsideVery easily accessible, quick trip from Calgary and easy to find the parking lot/trail head not far off the Trans Canada. Beautiful views. Fairly easy to navigate trail (thanks to the blue squares on rocks majority of the way up, and arrows made from rocks). DownsideThe caterpillars. Haha. I know, such a girly comment to make... but you will be covered in these things hanging from the trees for the majority of your trek through the forested area. I suggest bug spray as at the top of the summit there are a ton of bugs that basically blanketed our bodies. The markings aren't great on your way down if you're doing the loop. We got a little lost, instead of 'screeing' directly down, we traversed directly under the mountain all the way to the other side on what looked like a trail, but definitely wasn't. Luckily we heard someone on the trail below us and followed their voices to meet back up with the trail through the trees. CommentI have to admit, I've always wanted to do this hike since moving to Calgary in 2008, but I've been terrified of this 'chain' everyone speaks of. I've never considered myself to be afraid of heights, until reaching the summit of Ha Ling Peak on an extremely windy day... I was shaking like a leaf. So I was super skeptical about the chain on Yam. To be honest, the chain was the least of my worries! Once you get to the ledge, you realize it is actually quite wide, I guess dependent on your size, it may be a little sketchy (I'm 5'3 and 114lbs), I almost could've gotten across without the use of the chain. So if you are worried about that part, don't be! It really isn't as bad as most people makes it seem. My only other recommendation would be to wear HIKING BOOTS, not runners/sneakers. I saw quite a few people in runners, and some complained about losing their grip, their ankles hurting and rocks in their boots.
Awesome hike!! Will definitely do again.
Posted By: trufflepigg
- Sun Feb 19 22:50:24 UTC 2017
UpsideYou absolutely must try this hike if you are an avid and semi-experienced hiker. It's about 4.5 hours for the full loop. You get a lot of different terrain - scrambling, forest, rock climbing, and then the two best; skiing down a rock slope in your boots, and navigating a ledge while holding a chain.
The chain part is where a lot of inexperienced people will turn back, and it's still a nice hike up until this point. However, the best part of the hike is all after this. I personally love the chain / ledge part, I wish there was more of it.
This is by far my favorite intermediate hike in the area. It's the perfect length for me, I've done it 3 times now (summer).
Posted By: teeny_trees
- Mon Sep 19 16:01:56 UTC 2016
UpsideGreat hike to get into summit hiking. The hike is a nice balance to steep sections and then plateaus to give some reprieve. Overall this trail has beautiful views from start to finish. Very rewarding hike.
SCREE - this mountain has one of the best scree paths in my opinion so if you like scree runs, this mountain is for you. DownsideVery popular hike where the trail and parking lot get equally busy. I recommend that you do this hike early to beat the rush. This hike can be steep and has some scrambling involved with a section that you traverse using a chain. Not for the faint of heart and the elevation can be a challenge for those that are inexperienced to summits. Due to how popular this hike is, there are numerous paths to take...but follow the cairns and spray painted markers and you'll be fine. CommentThis one has been a particular favorite of mine as it's a nicely laid out trail and great hike for those wanting to get into doing more summit hikes. Great for training and overall fantastic views the whole way around. Once you get out of the treeline and onto the base of the mountain, that's where the true fun starts as you get some elements of scrambling and traversing over scree. It's a great hike for most hikers but those who are afraid of heights or inexperienced to hiking may find it challenging.
The chain section can be a bit dicey and definitely not for the faint of heart. The rock is a bit greasy due to the large amount of wear from all the hikers so when wet, it can be very slippery. Obviously use caution and common sense. Some people I've seen has used climbing harnesses and clipped into the chain as extra peace of mind.
Summit is beautiful - but I recommend for anyone to go early so you can enjoy the summit with not too many large crowds. There can be a lot of exposure at the top so ensure you bring a jacket or thermal layers for the ascent. Yamnuska has a beautiful scree path which I look forward to more than the summit itself and the best part of the hike in my opinion as its a blast to run down on and cuts down your descent time.
Hiking boots highly recommended for this hike - although you can do in sneakers/runners, you'll have better footing and stability as the mountain is on loose/large scree.
Posted By: Gayan Sampath
- Mon May 23 00:12:13 UTC 2016
CommentAwesome View on the top of the mountain. It is little bit difficult but you will be energized by the view at the top 10%. We went on Toyota Camry but SUV is highly recommended.
Posted By: jackiiieeexo
- Tue May 26 23:56:07 UTC 2015
QuestionThis is my first time using this site as well as going on Mount Yamnuska. I am a little nervous seeing the difficulty can anyone give me some feed back as to first time goers? I have no special equipment for rock climbing and I have no experience towards it either. Aslo where can I find out if the mountain is available to climb safe and free of wilflife? Thanks so much guys ;) ANSWERS are in this forum: first time on Yamnuska
Posted By: pantonysr
- Wed Jun 25 02:24:55 UTC 2014
Question2014/06/23Once you r down from peak, down the scree and on the south side, the trail apparently goes along the rock wall. Much washed out but you can pick the trail out, close to +/-75 metres below rockwall BUT THE TRAIL VANISHES AS YOU APPROACH THE CREEL GULLEY. Takes a lost of time scrambling on slippery, muddy gulley, cliifs on creek, until the trail re-appears.
Where did I miss? Also is there a GPS location for this "intersection". Sorry but my preferred device BlackBerry z30 only reads individual Gps, does not apparently download or upload GPXeasilyANSWERS are in this forum: Yamnuska East to West route finding
Posted By: ailosvay
- Tue Oct 15 22:03:04 UTC 2013
UpsideStunning views of the Prairies and Mountains - Best of both worlds. DownsideVery exposed, very steep, some tricky bits. not for the faint hearted. CommentA great hike. We made it to the second summit (not the true summit) it was getting on in the afternoon and we still had to come down. Plus I was feeling a little vertigoish just as we reached the chain (which is a shame) but at that point it was best to turn back. Great hike though, would do it again in a heartbeat.
Posted By: ChrisMarry
- Mon Sep 16 04:34:19 UTC 2013
UpsideSuperb views, great technical scrambling challenge, the chain is an interesting part of it. DownsideLots of scree, sometimes it's nice and a great slide down, sometimes it's a bit risky, hidden slabs, be careful. CommentThat was my first "real" scramble in July and I stopped at the chain the first time. 2 weeks later, back there and doing all the loop, I loved it! I think that's where I started to love scrambling! Since this one, I did many more difficult scrambles and I am enjoying exposure, technical difficulty and down climbing more than I ever did. It was a great initiation to more challenging scrambles.
Posted By: 1footinfrontofother
- Mon Jul 22 00:24:57 UTC 2013
UpsideAmazing views from various spots! A lot of UP! But worth the reward at the top. CommentWe were really moving and it took about 3 hrs with a short rest at the top. Again... This was a great hike, challenging and rewarding :)</br></br>
Posted By: vpathak
- Mon Jul 23 03:43:29 UTC 2012
UpsideGreat hike/scramble. Did this in early July and the weather was perfect. Don't think I could have done it in rainy conditions. The views from false as well as the true summit are incredible. The rock is loose so dont lose heart if you slip a few times. If you reach the true summit, you can follow the west side of the mountain to go down where you go right below the Yamnuska south face which you just summited. You can choose to scree down which will save considerable time. We chickened out so we had to go all the way across the face into the trees and then continue till we met the trail which we had taken earlier in the morning. Dont take any false trails when you are back in trees. Continue till the end where you have the actual trail. DownsideBeing a popular trail, it can be crowded. Although not everyone ventures past the trail onto the scrambling section. The "trail" can be difficult to follow when on the rock slopes. So just follow the easiest way. CommentThe hike is good for scrambling beginners like me, involves some use of hand and crossing a narrow section with the help of an installed chain.. But not good if you are not comfortable with heights and also requires reasonable fitness to cross some sections. My advice is to judge your ability in the first few minutes of scramble and then decide if you want to continue..
Posted By: jmoore
- Tue Aug 16 07:32:19 UTC 2011
CommentDid this one mid-Aug. 2011, started the hike at about 1:45 pm and got off the mountain at about 7:00. We travelled east to west, used the chain to get around ledge which was amazing fun! From the chain, we climbed to one of the false summits, and from here decided to aim for the true summit. We could see several trails that headed towards the summit however they were not super easy to follow. We were informed by other hikers (also aiming for the summit) to look for inookshook's (sp?) and aim for them as that is where the trail is. These were not always easy to see, however we did manage to make it to the summit.
On our descent, we continue to the west of the mountain, and you end up walking along huge rock face of Yamnuska that you have just come down off of. From here, we travelled almost all the way across the face and descended in one of the final run-offs of scree as opposed to continuing all the way across back into the trees. There was a trail at the bottom of the scree which links up with the trail you hike up on at the start.
I'm not an experienced climber, and found this hike challenging yet do-able, and it was definitely worth it!!
Posted By: mark3107
- Mon Jun 28 04:20:10 UTC 2010
Upsidewell signed and maintained trail with an exciting cable walk. The scree running was superb. DownsideNot dog friendly due to the cable walk and the scree if coming down the west side CommentFantastic hike with outstanding views and serious exposure when looking over the edge. The cable walk was exciting and the scree running awesome but not suited to less experienced hikers or people afraid of heights.
Posted By: slickster
- Sun Apr 18 04:04:22 UTC 2010
Upsidegreat hike with some scrambling. fantastic views. Downsidedid this in april with others on the trail, and i suppose it could get busy in summer. CommentI enjoyed this hike a lot. CCW loop. the crux in the rockband was quite manageable and similarly with the cable and the ledge.
on the descend, i would recommend considering gaitors to keep the rocks out of the boots. there is a lot of scree on the descend.
i took 6 hrs to go around and that includes time for pictures, lunch, and some breaks.
Posted By: Omeljaniuk
- Thu Jan 15 18:43:34 UTC 2009
1. I've taken the route up Yamnuska from the east and summitted from the west.
2. From the east, the cable-protected ledge is straightforward but I haven't figured out what to do after I unclip and try to reaccess the route to the summit. I've scrambled down a few meters after the cable-protected ledge and tried to have a look but I wouldn't commit after the wall on the left because I couldn't see. So, which way to get down and resume the summit track?
3. Thanks in advance. When I take my kids up I tend to be very, very cautious. They on the other hand are fearless.
RobertANSWERS are in this forum: YAMNUSKA TRAVERSE CRUX SOLUTION
Posted By: Bud Stokes
- Mon Oct 27 05:29:23 UTC 2008
UpsideGreat variety, loved the alpine section. Fairly high exposure in a few places (along the cable) but not diffucult at all..... just very cool!!! Many possibe lines so its a good one to do multiple times.... also fairly short (1/2 day) and close to Calgary DownsideOverpopulated CommentSix hours is a generous estimation of time. Five of us did it in four hours and we are fairly average hikers in my opinion, we did not stop for lunch however so that would add a bit more time.
Posted By: Sarabiner
- Mon Oct 13 17:42:10 UTC 2008
UpsideGreat exposure. Climbing, bouldering and a waterfall to cool off on after a scree ski down. DownsideOverpopulated. CommentA strong hiker can bomb it up, around, and back to the car park in less than 4 hours though a great number of people take the full day. Give yourself extra time if you've never hiked Yam before.
Posted By: pduncan
- Sun Mar 23 17:38:08 UTC 2008
QuestionI was looking for information on the Ghost-Spectral Creek/Lakes area, thinking of a backpack this summer. I am aware of the closure on the Aylmer side during "berry season" and thru the autumn. Apparently this was formerly a popular backpacking trip, but it seems few have traveled there in recent years. If anyone has hiked in the past few years, I would appreciate info on condition of the route up Spectral Creek from the Ghost. Also would be curious if anyone has hiked Paradise Pass from the Ghost, that seems to be a valley very rarely traveled.
Paula DuncanANSWERS are in this forum: Spectral Creek/Ghost
Posted By: fered
- Tue Sep 25 15:05:02 UTC 2007
UpsideThe view and the scenery is spectacular. DownsideThere was a lot of snow on the scramble to the peak because it is on the north eastern side and the sun disappears behind the mountain fairly early, a good reason to start early in the morning. We tried to make it yesterday (September 24) and there was about a foot of snow. CommentBE WARNED, if there is snow don't attempt the summit unless you are experienced.