Prairie Mountain hike
While this is not the most scenic of hikes until you reach the summit, it can be done year-round (no avalanche risk) and is one heck of a workout.
Take Highway 66 to elbow falls. 656ft past the falls just before the winter gates there is a small parking lot on the south side of the highway.
|When to do|
Out and back
Route Description for Prairie Mountain
Leaving the parking lot, the hike starts on the right (north) side of highway 66 just past the winter gate. There are several routes up the steep hillside from the road and the first you come to is the steepest; if you’d like something more gradual just continue along the road another 30 seconds or so and you’ll see another trail.
From there the trail climbs steeply, becomes relatively level, and then becomes very steep for quite a distance before emerging from the trees near the top. From here simply turn right (north), follow the ridge for another 10 minutes to head for the summit. While the views on the way up were limited, you will now be treated to great views of the prairies, the City of Calgary to the east. To the west you are treated to great views of Kananaskis including Moose Mountain, Powderface Ridge, and Banded Peak.
Outside of summer, you'll need some sort of traction device for your boots as most of the ascent is icy or compacted snow. We used Kahtoola Microspikes from Mountain Equipment Co-op and they were fantastic, and many of the others we passed were using them too.
It will likely be windy as you break the treeline, be sure to pack an extra layer.
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