Panorama from the Canyon Creek Ice Caves hike in Kananaskis near Canmore
Panorama from the Canyon Creek Ice Caves hike in Kananaskis near Canmore

Canyon Creek Ice Caves hike

Bragg Creek and Sheep River
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Trail of the Canyon Creek Ice Caves Hike from Bragg Creek, KananaskisInside the cave of the Canyon Creek Ice Caves Hike from Bragg Creek near CalgaryInside the cave of the Canyon Creek Ice Caves Hike from Bragg Creek, KananaskisBeautiful views around the Canyon Creek Ice Caves Hike from Bragg Creek, KananaskisLight in the cave on the Canyon Creek Ice Caves Hike from Bragg Creek, KananaskisRiver on the Canyon Creek Ice Caves Hike from Bragg Creek, KananaskisViews from the Canyon Creek Ice Caves Hike from Bragg Creek, KananaskisDogs on the Canyon Creek Ice Caves Hike from Bragg Creek, Kananaskis

Canyon Creek Ice Caves hike

Distance: 8.5mi
Elevation: 935ft
Time: 3-4.5h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
8.7 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

This hike is more about the destination than the journey. The first 3.7mi is more of a walk along a forestry road before things get good, with a steep 0.6mi hike before we reach the cave.

Canyon Creek Ice Caves hike Map

Getting there

Take Highway 66 from Calgary (about 35 minutes) and park along the old Canyon Creek Access Road across from the Elbow River Picnic Area.

I’ve done this 38 people have done this
I want to do this 96 want to do this route

About

When to do

Year Round

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

No

Family friendly

No

Route Signage

None

Crowd Levels

Moderate

Route Type

Out and back


Canyon Creek Ice Caves
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Canyon Creek Ice Caves

The Canyon Creek Ice Cave is a fairly deep cave sandwiched between Prairie and Moose Mountains. Its depths maintain a fairly cold temperature year round and as a result some pretty large and fascinating ice formations have developed. From the trail head you can see the cave as a black scar a few hundred meters below the ridge line.

The access road was closed in 2000 due to a large number of accidents with day-trippers not being prepared to enter the cave.

We’ll be honest, the first 3.7mi is nothing to write home about compared to our other hikes. We follow a road closed to motor vehicles through the forest before reaching the good stuff. In the summer the wild flowers and wild life are the highlights of this early stretch. Don’t be surprised if you come across mountain goats, marmot and pikas on route.

As you leave the road and join the trail to gain elevation you will note the trails seems to branch off in a number of different directions. We found after some exploring that almost all will link back up immediately before we reach the cave. Try to follow the most well defined path as we did and you should not have any issues. The walk up is relatively steep, and depending on your path you may find some scree, but we gauge it more difficult physically than technically.

As you reach the entrance take a few minutes and put on your safety gear and turn on your headlamp. It is going to get dark! While there are close to 0.3mi of tunnels in this cave, we recommend novices stick to the first 0.0mi of the main cavern.

http://www.caving.ab.ca

Insider Hints

  • To safely navigate the cave we strongly recommend you bring headlamps, rock helmets, warm clothing, and backup lighting. Consider bring a two-way radio.

  • The caves can be slippery, consider traction devices.

  • Do not be tempted to drop down the steep rock slope down to the access road.

  • Consider bringing a bike to shorten the time necessary to travel the access road and get straight to the good stuff.

Comments

franimal 9 months ago

Mild weather around zero degrees with light flurries during our time on the trail. First 10km or so along gravel road. Mild incline Once you enter the forest an area and begin to climb. Once you get out of the forested area mild scree that can be slippery. Beautiful view once you reach the cave. The cave itself was dark. Bring flashlights and head lamps. Possible to explore cave if you are not adverse to confined spaces. Beautiful cave regardless. Enjoy!

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
6h 45m Time Taken
franimal 9 months ago

Mild weather hovering around zero with light flurries during our time on the trail. First 10km or so along gravel road. Mild incline Once you enter the forest an area and begin to climb. Once you get out of the forested area mild scree that can be slippery. Beautiful view once you reach the cave. The cave itself was dark. Bring flashlights and head lamps. Possible to explore cave if you are not adverse to confined spaces. Beautiful cave regardless. Enjoy!

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
6h 45m Time Taken
kristinoutdoors 1 year ago

Hiked this route covered in snow! The scenery was spectacular with the snow, even though most of the trail is down the forestry road. We saw a couple of XC skiers, so that's an idea in the winter to cut down the trail time. Poles would be helpful for the last part of the trail as it's a bit steep and slippery near the cave, especially with snow/slush. Well worth the trip! The cave is super cool.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Richy_travels 1 year ago

I hope they could add more route signage here.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
6h 00m Time Taken
Allanhoward 1 year ago

Canyon Creek Ice Caves are interesting. The caves are somehow slippery, so take extra care.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
6h 25m Time Taken
DesireeD. 1 year ago

The forestry road is somehow a long walk. But when you reached the cave, it is interesting and awesome.

8.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
6h 30m Time Taken
havedogwillhike 1 year ago

had no idea this existed, bless random website scrolls i guess. honestly pretty dull until right about near the end, but the cave is really cool!

Willow F. 1 year ago

This hike has a pretty large and fascinating ice formations. Don’t be surprised if you come across mountain goats, marmot and pikas along the way. Overall, the hike was fantastic.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Coll A. 1 year ago

Spectacular view of the snow. You can also bring a bike there. Don't forget your trekking poles as the trail is a bit slippery.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
LyleM 1 year ago

The correct gear is very important. The cave is awesome. Bring a headlamp. Conditions in the cave are good with a few slippery areas and the occasional bit of groundwater. There are many side passages and squeezes to explore.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
18 Comments Show all

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