Located in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park is the highest hiking trail in the Canadian Rockies. At the summit of Mount Allen the trail is 2840 meters above sea level. The trail to Olympic Pass, Centennial Pass and Mount Allen was built by the Rocky Mountain Ramblers over three years starting in 1966. There is a plaque in the rock garden commemorating this groups effort. See the post for the Centennial Pass to Mount Allen Trail for directions to the trail and some details of the route. The hike starts near the Nakiska Ski area. For some reason I had it in my mind that I would spend half the day hiking up a ski run and were it not for the fact that this trail is reputed to be the highest in the Canadian Rockies I would have convinced the others in my group to find a different trail.
After walking approximately 1.7 kilometers and crossing Coal Mine Trail for the second time you will be on Centennial Pass Trail. The trail goes through the forest to the tree line breaking into a couple of openings with views of Mount Bogart to the west.
Once the forest is behind you the trail climbs aggressively, 700 meters in elevation over approximately 2 kilometers, that is close to a 30% grade. The trail switchbacks on the grassy hillside. It is every bit as steep as it appears in this photo.
I have been testing out a new camera, the Nikon P5000. I have been impressed so far with the quality of the photos. The video quality is also decent. Something like a waterfall can be difficult to video. Here is a short video I shot of Elbow Falls. The Elbow and the falls are impressive right now with the runoff. I was disappointed to see how much garbage there was near the picnic tables.
With the odd exception the winter gates open by May 15, 2007. I know the gates are important. They protect the wildlife during the time when food supplies are not plentiful at higher altitudes. With the decreased traffic, the wildlife is not driven into the hills. While this is important, the gates block many fantastic hiking trails unless you feel like walking or cycling to the trail heads. For those that put in the effort to hike past the gates you usually get to see more wildlife than you might once the RVs hit the roads and the hikers and bikers the trails. Starting the 15th you should not see this when you try to approach most parts of K-country. Maybe I will take the day off.
Here is the status of the gates in Kananaskis Country from the south to the north.
Highway #940: The gates opened on May 1.
Highway #541: Closed until June 15.
Highway #546: Open on May 15.
Maclean Creek Trail Road: The gates opened May 1.
Highway #66: Open May 15.
Highway #68: Open May 15.
Powderface Road: Open May 15.
Highway #40: Closed until June 15.