Mt. Burke to Cameron Fire Lookout is located in the Highwood Region and can be easily accessed from TransCanada Highway #1 or Highway 40 (Kananaskis Trail). It is an excellent hike that leads to what was once the the highest fire lookout in Canada and was built during the early 1900's. The initial stretch follows an old drainage along Salter Creek for about 2.5 km followed by an intensive 2 hour (5.5 km) hike to the summit. From the parking lot at Cataract Creek follow a tread worn trail till you hit rock filled drainage. Keep left along this drainage and continue to follow a faint trail crossing up along a grassy knoll on the left side of Salter Creek. Be patient as it will seem to take a bit to reach the start of the trailhead. At around 2.5 km (a brisk 30 minute walk), keep your eyes peeled for a cairn along the left side of the main trail (also marked with a steel pipe sticking out of the ground). Make a hard left and climb a short section of hill (1 minute) till you intersect with the main trail. Upon reaching the main trail turn left and begin climbing along a series of switchbacks. The trail is now easy to follow and within 1 - 1.5 hours you should reach the lower windswept ridge. From here the trail becomes a little less pronounced but still fairly easy to follow. The key is keep going up following a series of white pipe markers. Beyond the lower ridge you'll come to a long rib that extends up to the summit of Mt. Burke, terminating at the Cameron Fire Lookout. There are two routes to attain the summit. The first is to simply follow the rib that extends straight up the centre. The other and more common is to follow the lower trail as it climbs up to the left side of the lookout. Either will get you to the summit and either can be used on both ascent and descent.
From TransCanada Highway (#1) head south on Kananaskis Trail Highway (#40) to Highwood Junction #940 (Note: From Dec. 1 - Jun. 15 the highway south of Grizzly Creek is closed).
Head south on 940 (gravel road) to Cataract Creek Campground (13 km). Until early October you can access the campground directly and park right at the start of the trailhead. Later in the fall there is parking and washrooms provided on the east side of 940 right at the start of the Cataract Creek Campground Road. This will add approximately another 1.2 km and about 30 minutes to your day.
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Posted By: adomater
- Fri Aug 25 04:41:21 UTC 2017
UpsideA great hike to take in the prairies to the east and ranks of mountain ranges to the west. Also the variety of hiking terrain from freebies to forested slope to tundra slope to rocky ridges is wonderful. To finish with being able to see a piece of history in the can more fire lookout is just awesome! This hike was great for me and my adolescent children. DownsideThe trail can be difficult to follow at times. Having a downloaded GPS track provided peace of mind. CommentThis has been my second scent of mt.Burke. Both times have been memorable. The view from the top is wonderful even with all of the smoke haze that was present for our hike. This was a good first hike for my older children, beautiful and challenging enough to instill a sense of accomplishment.
Posted By: Mahone
- Mon Nov 03 16:24:29 UTC 2008
UpsideGreat views of the area while taking in a little history of the place DownsideBeware the Winds! CommentA great hike to take while preparing for bigger climbs in the season.