Chris's blog

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Grizzly Bear Notice

From Alaska, a good sense of humour. Pay attention to the final line on the notice.

Alberta Hiking Trail Locator

There are now approximately 75 different hiking trails listed on Hike Alberta. Most of the hiking trails are within a two hour drive of Calgary. I would like to continue to expand this list. It is great to hear about other trails and explore them. The hiking guides cannot list them all and often they focus on the most popular or what will become, as a result of publication, trails that become more popular. If you have a favourite that is not listed please send me a description of the trail, a couple of photos, and if you have it, the GPS track and I will add them to the database. Trail descriptions can be sent to chris[at]hikealberta.com.

Here are a couple of suggestions to search for and find a trail from the database that interests you. Every time a hike is added to the database Google Maps adds a marker to the trailhead. By scanning the hike locations page and clicking on a marker you will be taken directly to the hike description. All trails on the database appear on this map.

Another option is to search by area. Immediately below are some of the more popular areas.

Banff and Lake Louise Hiking Trails
Jasper Hiking Trails
Kananaskis Hiking Trails

Given that Kananaskis Country is so large, it is broken into a few smaller areas. Again, the most popular are either in or near the following areas.

Highway #1
and Highway #1A west of Calgary
Canmore Hiking Trails
Bragg Creek and Elbow Valley
Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
Sheep Country, Sandy McNabb Recreation Area and Turner Valley

For a complete list check out the tags associated with the hike descriptions.

Finally, and this is a work in progress, the Alberta Hiking Trail Destinations Google Map. By clicking on a marker you should see the highlight of a hike whether it is the mountain view, waterfall or something else of interest. Not all of the destinations are represented because this has to be done manually.


View Larger Map

Larches but only for a Limited Time

On the weekend I went up with a group to Larch Valley and on to Sentinel Pass. The plan was to see the larches in all their glory. I had tried the hike on Thanksgiving weekend last year and the needles had fallen off of all but the odd larch. This weekend the larches were in varying stages of colour change. Here is a view over Larch Valley with some of the ten peaks in the background.

If you are interested in this hike and seeing the larches I would predict that the weekends of September 23 and 30th will be the prime time to view the larches. Here is a picture of a solitary larch that has almost completed the change to gold. Wait past the 30th and you may be disappointed.

Pacific Crest Trail

If you are looking for extreme hiking try the Pacific Crest Trail. According to Wikipedia the Pacific Crest Trail is attempted each year by about 300 people that attempt to hike the entire trail from end-to-end. The trip usually takes between four and six months. Around 180 complete the hike each year. Most hikers start from the Mexican border and reach the north end of the trail before the first hard snow. Picking up supplies along the way, usually packages sent to them via mail, most hikers cover about 20 miles (32 km) per day.

Here is a interesting two part video that was the winner of the California Independent Film Festival (Best Documentary) and Vancouver Mountain Film Fest (Jury Award) called "Walking the West." It is about a New Zealander and an Irishman who quit their jobs, cashed in their savings and walked 2626 miles from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Part I


Part II


Highest Hiking Trail in the Canadian Rockies

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.

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