Hiking Mt. Lipsett Trail in Kananaskis Country

Hiking Mt. Lipsett Trail in Kananaskis Country

This is the first in what will be an ongoing series of Urban Poling/Nordic walking adventure stories.

I love being active in nature by self-propelled means, whether that be hiking (always with my Urban Poles), biking, kayaking, skiing or snowshoeing.  I am also a geocacher and I usually try to combine the fore-mentioned activities with finding some geocaches along the way.  Geocaching has taken me to some amazing places that I would not have known about otherwise. It often takes you were the locals know to go. Geocaching has proven to be a great incentive to make it to the end of a trail, or make it to the summit, or re-visit some favourite locations with a different perspective, or learn about the geology of a certain place. For more about geocaching visit: undefined

On July 6, I was looking for a hike to do in preparation for next week’s attempt to summit Mt. Allan, travelling along the Centennial Trail. I was looking for a hike that would involve a fair amount of elevation gain and distance to build up my strength without it being too strenuous that it would have the opposite effect.  After doing a little research on Geocaching.com, the Mt. Lipsett hike seemed perfect, with about 700 m of elevation gain over 14 km. Mt. Allan will be about 1400 m over roughly the same distance: stay tune for more about this formidable challenge.  Coincidentally, the geocaches I was planning to find belong to my friend through geocaching, “Mrs. GeoKs” who authors one of my favourite blogs about outdoor adventure (mainly in the Canadian Rockies), “Out and About with the Geoks.”

We started out from Canmore and the scenic drive to the trailhead was part of the adventure. We slowed to a crawl a total of 7 times to be careful not to hit the bighorn sheep which were licking away on the road. Then we pulled into Highwood Pass parking lot for a pit stop. While my husband was busy having an environmental break, I got out of the car to gaze up at the mountains across the road and noticed a brown blob high up on an avalanche path that seemed to be moving. Out came the binoculars and confirmation: yes – a grizzly mom and three energetic cubs!  It was neat to share our binoculars with a family of four who were delighted to see this grizzly and her babies.

It was a glorious day to do this hike! It was quite warm as we started out but much of the first 3 – 4 km where primarily in the shade. By the time we emerged from the forest, the wind had come up and it became partly cloudy and was very pleasant. We brought our mountain bikes along, as in reading about a “forest exploration road with a gentle grade” we thought this would make for an excellent bike ‘n hike. But the first 3 – 4 km were very overgrown and a “road” did not appear until we had almost emerged from the forest into the sub-alpine. Also, the lower 2 -3 km were very muddy, with a stream flowing down the trail in parts. So after about 1 km, we stashed the bikes in the forest and continued on foot.

On the lower sections of the trail, the wildflowers were spectacular and just coming to a peak. We passed large areas of buffalo berries and lots of blooming wild strawberry plants.  So in several weeks, this trail will be a virtual bear buffet!

This is my kind of trail: no exposure, no scree, just a steady climb with increasingly spectacular views in every direction.  We found a total of six geocaches. It was neat to see another favourite trail we have done, Pocaterra Ridge, off in the distance. Nearby Mist Mountain was great eye candy and we definitely come back to tackle that one on another day.  We spent a lot of time at the summit, soaking in the scenery and taking photos as well as looking for wildlife in the valley below (nothing out and about). We started at noon and got back to the trailhead at 7:00 pm.  Despite passing many busy trailheads on the drive down hwy 40 from the Trans Canada, on this trail we encountered not one other person the entire day!  This was definitely one of our favourite hikes.  For more photos of this spectacular adventure, please visit my Facebook page.

What to wear & bring (Spring, Summer, Fall):

  1. Wear comfy casual clothes.
  2. Bring a warm extra layer & rain jacket, just in case.
  3. Running shoes are fine while light trail or hiking shoes provide even more support and are ideal.
  4. Please no flip-flops or sandals.
  5. Leave purses at home. A small backpack is a great bring-along.
  6. Don't forget your water, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, insect repellent and your camera.

What to wear & bring (Winter):

  1. Wear a long sleeve t-shirt/thermal underwear top plus 1 or 2 layers (i.e.: light fleece top, heavier fleece top) & a wind/waterproof shell. Heavy winter parkas and snow pants are usually too warm.
  2. Wear winter boots or lined hiking boots. Icers, which go over your footwear to prevent slipping, are provided when necessary.
  3. Leave purses at home. A small backpack is a great bring-along.
  4. Bring water, gloves/mitts, a hat/headband, scarf/buff/neck warmer, tissues/handkerchief, sunglasses and don't forget your camera!

Reserve OnLine:

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 Waiver:

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.

Cancellation Policy:

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.

Malcolm Hotel

Canmore Public Parking

Parking:

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.

Malcolm Hotel - Onsite

Restrooms:

Restrooms are available at the Malcolm hotel in the lobby.

Canmore Public Restrooms

Restrooms:

Public restrooms are available within a short walk:

Canmore Public Restrooms - Trailheads

Restrooms:

Public pit toilets are available at all trailheads.

Canmore Various

Where to meet:

Starting locations will vary seasonally with instructions included in your booking confirmation.

Parking:

Parking options will vary by location with details included in your booking confirmation.

Tour Canmore

Various Canmore Trailheads

Canmore Walking Tour 1.5 Hour

Canmore Walking Tour 3 Sisters

Hikes Cognito Form

Winter Hikes Cognito Form

Chat Modal