Prairie Mountain

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
3-4.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
6.9 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
699 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.5
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Panorama of the Prairie Mountain hike near Kananaskis and Canmore

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.

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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.

Insider Hints for Prairie Mountain

  • 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.

Getting to the Prairie Mountain Trailhead

Take Highway 66 to elbow falls. 200 m past the falls just before the winter gates there is a small parking lot on the south side of the highway.

Route Information

  • When to do

    Year Round

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Toilets

    No

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Poor

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Prairie Mountain Elevation Graph

Weather Forecast

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Prairie Mountain Reviews

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