After a super quiet 2021, I am very keen to present to you my guided hiking plans for 2022. With a number of my usual hiking trails closed for the season for trailhead enhancements, I have some new hikes to introduce this season.
Bow Valley Provincial Park
Bow Valley Provincial Park is located just off the Trans Canada Highway, 20 minutes east of Canmore. This provincial park is often overlooked as people drive on by for the more popular mountain national parks, but it has a lot to offer: wildlife, wildflowers and some pretty nice mountain scenery. This will be a spring hiking option, one that is doable in May and June when some of the mountain hikes like Chester and Burstall Pass are still not available. It will be an easy hike on gentle terrain and a combination of three trails: Many Springs, Middle Lake and Elk Flats. In the spring, the wildflowers are spectacular and bloom weeks ahead of the show in the alpine meadows. There are two options for this hike. The short version is a hike around Many Springs & a drive to the Middle Lake trailhead to hike it. Total distance is 3.5 Total time: approximately 1.5 hours. The longer version is to hike around both and hike the Elk Flats trail which connects the two. Total distance is 7.5 km. total time: approximately 3 hours.
This is the hike I am most excited about, as it has some spectacular scenery and is not one that is super busy. It has largely stayed off the popular social media sites, so far. I still have to pre-hike it as I have only done it part way and that was several years ago. The trailhead for this hike is 5 minutes from Mt. Engadine Lodge. At 14 km in distance and an elevation gain of 670 metres, this is good moderate hike that will take us 5 - 6 hours to complete. The rewards are well worth the effort to get to the stunning views from the pass. Look one way and you can see Mt. Assiniboine, the highest peak in the southern continental ranges of the Rockies. Look the other way and you can see Ribbon Lake, where you can back country camp.
I have done this hike only once, in the winter time, several years ago. So this is another one I still have to pre-hike this spring. Visiting a big lake, a small lake, a waterfall, alpine meadows and soaring mountain views, this hike packs it all into an 8km hike with 300 metres of elevation gain (a long, slow, steady climb), which we will spend 3 - 4 hours to complete. This hike starts from the beautiful day use area in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park where you may want to linger after your hike is over.
This is an easy hike on cross-country ski trails and logging roads, gentle terrain that takes you to pretty Watridge Lake after a hike of about 3.7 km. From here, the trail steepens for a further kilometer following a scenic cascading creek to where this creek gushes out of the side of Mt. Shark with great force at Karst Springs. Total length of the hike: aproximately 10 km. This is also a trail that does not see as much traffic as other Kananaskis Country trails.
I never tire of taking people to the series of waterfalls along the Troll Falls Trail. There is Lower Troll Falls, then Marmot Falls (the one you can walk behind), then some small cascades followed by Upper Troll Falls. This is one of a few good spring hikes, in addition to a variety of walks on around Canmore. Once the ice melts away, the falls are at full force with peak flow usually happening in June. It is a very busy one though, so I only lead this hike early in the morning, preferably on weekdays, to avoid busy times. So far, this has always rewarded my guests with having the falls all to themselves.
Mountain Vistas is the trail I don't actually specifiy by its actual name. It is one of the Canmore areas best kept secrets and it would be best to keep it that way, especially this season with Lady MacDonald, Ha Ling, Goat Creek Trail and Grassi Lakes trails all closed. The turn around point is a spectacular lookout that doesn't have room for too many people, so once again, early starts are strongly recommended for this hike so we can have the lookout while it is quiet. This trail is closed for wildlife until June 15th but then hikeable up until the end of November when the wildlife closure kicks in again to protect valuable wintering land for elk and big horn sheep.
Chester Lake and Burstall Pass are good to go at some point in July. Both of these trails have spectacular alpine flowers in late July/early August and the colourful larch show in late September. I haven't hiked Burstall pass yet in larch season but plan to do so this year. Why don't you join me?
Please remember that a Kananaskis Conservation Pass, either a $15 day pass or a $90 annual pass is required to park at the trailheads for these hikes. When you go to the Summer Experiences page of the Active by Nature website, the hikes are listed in order of difficulty from easiest to more difficult.
Guided hikes with Active by Nature are conducted at a leisurely pace. We make multiple stops to admire the scenery, using the senses of sight, sound and smell plus we stop often to take photos. I tell lots of stories. Including breaks, we will average about 2 - 3 km per hour. If your idea of a hike is to get a great fitness workout and perhaps set a personal best time, an Active by Nature hike is not for you. We go at the pace of the slowest in the group and we always stick together. Presently, the maximum group size is limited to six, unless there is a large cohort that wishes to hike together. Rest assured that I have travelled these trails many times and none of them involve scrambling (using your hands and feet to scale steep, rocky terrain) or exposure to steep drop-offs. The trails are considered easy to moderate. In additon to hikes, Active by Nature provides a variety of walks and Nordic walks from 1.5 to 3 hours in length in Canmore.
Happy trails and happy hiking!
What to wear & bring (Spring, Summer, Fall):
What to wear & bring (Winter):
It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Simply click the "Book Now" button, select your preferred date to check availability, fill in your personal details and then make a secure payment via credit card. The system will automatically send you a confirmation of your session with the relevant details.
Liability waivers are a necessary part of any commercial activity experience. I recommend that you take the time now to review this legal document that you will be required to sign before we start our clinic or walk together:View the Waiver
Your Health & Physical Activity Readiness:
We ask guests who are experiencing cold symptoms and symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home and practice self-isolation under the direction of the appropriate governing body. For almost everyone, the benefits of physical activity far outweigh any risks. For some individuals, special advice from a Qualified Exercise or health care provider is advisable before becoming more active. This questionnaire is intended for all ages – to help move you along the path to becoming more physically active.
Please review this Questionnaire if you have concerns about your health or fitness level for participating in Nordic walking.
Full refunds are given if a cancellation is received 24 hours or more prior to the clinic or tour date. No refunds are given with less than 24 hours notice. Clinics/tours go rain or shine. If the weather is extreme, then it may be cancelled with a full refund given.
Parking is available on-street or in public lots throughout Canmore. It is a good idea to arrive early on busy days to locate suitable parking.
Restrooms are available at the Malcolm hotel in the lobby.
Public restrooms are available within a short walk:
Public pit toilets are available at all trailheads.
Where to meet:
Starting locations will vary seasonally with instructions included in your booking confirmation.
Parking options will vary by location with details included in your booking confirmation.