Powderface Ridge is a popular early or late season hike at the end of Highway 66. There are several variations of the trail, all with decent views, making it suitable for a variety of fitness levels.
The trail starts at the end of Highway 66 (about 40 minutes from Calgary). Do not be confused by the signed trailhead with a similar name further to the east on Highway 66. Park on the shoulder of the road immediately before pavement gives way to the unpaved Powderface Trail (a road; currently closed).
|When to do|
May 15 - October
Moderate to High
The trail to Powderface Ridge begins here as we head north (to the right) away from the highway, ascending the small gravel hill by the road and continuing north up the ridge. The ascent is moderately steep and unrelenting, climbing 0.4km over two kilometres before the first open views are obtained.
A further 0.7km (80m vertical) brings you to a small col between Powderface Ridge (west) and an eastern outlier, just 0.1km higher to the east. Many people ascend this outlier and call it day; the views are excellent and the hike is short enough to be completed after work in the spring.
The official trail to Powderface Ridge decends into the trees at this point, undulating up and down for about 2.3km before ascending to the northern end of the ridge.
From the northern end of the ridge after passing the summit descend west to another low point. Where the trail turns to the north into the trees, you can follow, or we recommend continued to the west to gain another great view point. You will shortly ascending a small hill, when you peak, descend NNW towards an obvious clearing and trail junction.
At the junction you can head east down Powderface Creek, reaching, in about 8.0km, Highway 66 several kilometers to the northeast of where you started, or head west and connect up with Powderface Trail (the road). We did the later and hiked 6.0km along gravel Powderface Trail to our car. This was pleasant, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it when the road is open as the dust thrown up by passing cars would be terrible.
Oddly, as we pass the col, the trail dips back into the treeline and avoides 80% of the ridge! A far better approach for the adventurious would be to ascend to the ridge at or near the col, then follow the ridge until you link back up with the trail.
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