Tent Ridge Horseshoe hike

Kananaskis – Smith Dorrien
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Tent Ridge Horseshoe hike

Distance: 10.4km
Elevation: 747m
Time: 4-6h

Difficulty Rating:

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The Tent Ridge hike is spectacular. Tent Ridge is the location for many of the incredible photos you regularly see on social media, showing stunning peaks over the Spray Lakes. Tent Ridge is a wonderful hike, though there is a bit of a scramble on the way up Tent Ridge that some hikers don’t like, which is why we rate this as a 4/5 instead of a 3/5.

Tent Ridge Horseshoe hike Map

Getting there

From the Canmore Nordic Centre, continue west on the Smith-Dorrien (Hwy 742) as it winds up into the Spray Valley for 35.5km. You’ll notice a turn-off to your right for Mount Engadine Lodge. Take this turnoff, and follow this road for 1.8km, past the lodge, on a road that is headed for Mount Shark. You’ll see a parking lot on your right.

I’ve done this 6 people have done this
I want to do this 18 want to do this route


When to do

June - October

Backcountry Campsites




Family friendly


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Tent Ridge Horseshoe
Elevation Graph

Route Description for Tent Ridge Horseshoe hike

From the parking lot, cross the road and walk to your left, looking for a trailhead that goes up through the trees. You’ll be hiking along this trail, through the trees, for about 45 minutes. This is a pleasant walk, though the highlights start once you pop out of the forest, as you get a beautiful panorama as you cross a stream.

Soon after crossing the stream you’ll come to a basin from where you’ll be able to see the entire Tent Ridge Horseshoe towering above you. The path goes to the left and then up through the forest.

Coming out of the forest you get to a steep trail up some scree. Follow this up.

You soon come to a rock band where you can navigate around to the left on a narrow path or scramble straight up. Both options have some exposure, so caution should be taken regardless of your choice. Some people really don’t like this part of the path, and if the path is wet or icy, it can be challenging and consider choosing a different hike.

Continue to follow the ridge up. It can feel exposed at times and there are places where you may need to use your hand to steady yourself. Remember to stop to look behind you, as the views of the Spray Lakes Reservoir are incredible, while the expanse of peaks visible in all directions is outstanding.

After more ascent you’ll reach a weather station. The station is a great stop for lunch and a welcome break from the wind. You can see your path along the ridge for the rest of the day.

From the weather station, take the path that goes down and then back up the other side on a scree trail. If you look back, you can see the phenomenal Buller Pass hike.

The path that heads up to the highest peak on Tent Ridge is steep, but once you’re on top there are wonderful views. Come down the other side on a steep trail and take care to remain on the path, it’s easy to get off path. As you look ahead you’ll see the wide valley that leads to the Assiniboine region. Assiniboine Provincial Park offers some of the best hiking in the Canadian Rockies.

The ridge walk at the end of this hike is spectacular. Look in any direction and your jaw will drop! The views are sublime. You also start to see people who hike up from the parking lot in reverse just to get these views, and don’t do the entire Horseshoe along the ridge.

As you come down, you head into an avalanche path above a forest. Don’t be tempted to go too far right. When you see a crossing path go down and meet up with a trail that is visible. This trail takes you through the forest following the path.

Eventually you hit a large 4×4 trail. Go right here back towards your car.

Insider Hints

  • If you don’t want to do the entire hike, or you want to avoid the scrambly bit on the route described here, you can do the hike in reverse, getting some great views on the hike up.

  • Hiking up Tent Ridge is a rocky trail and is very tough in icy or wet conditions. Take microspikes if it is icy and consider a different trail if it is wet.

  • Poles are really helpful for this trail.

  • Consider stopping in at the delightful Mount Engadine Lodge for a snack on the way back. They have a variety of options for hikers, and their weekend brunch is great.


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vpaigert 3 days ago

These comments are not about the guide description written here (we read several different guides before we hiked this trail). It is just about our family's experience of this hike. It was spectacularly beautiful. However, we would not do it again. This is because the exposure and risk of the hike seemed not worth it. We had our teenagers with us, and we are all moderately to very fit. When we talked to others about the trail or read the descriptions, we thought it might be somewhat challenging, but not scary. We found it nerve-racking, particularly the part at the beginning of the trail that involved scrambling. Once we started up, we felt it was more dangerous going down, so we were kind of committed. We felt bad for bringing our kids on the trail. That may be because we are not used to hiking in the Rockies, but I thought I would share our experience it case it helps someone. We were decently fit, up for a challenge, but only a little familiar with what hiking with a little scrambling might be like. People we met said to go ahead and try it, and even seemed to think it would be no big deal. It did not seem from anything we had read that it would have been too nerve-wracking, but we found out we were wrong. It's always good to be humbled and find your limits, I suppose, and we will learn from our experience.I did appreciate this trail description, particularly at the end-- it, along with our other guidebook, helped us stay on the right trail. It is gorgeous up there. I could not begin to count the peaks or describe the beauty of the lakes. But we would not do it again, since there are so very many beautiful hikes to choose from in the Canadian Rockies.

Connie Singer 4 weeks ago

One of my most favorite hikes! So beautiful in the fall. Able to enjoy the 360 views of the Rocky Mountains ,the Spray Lakes and the golden yellows of the larches! The small scramble was both fun and a little challenging. Would easily return to this memorable hike!

Lisa B 3 months ago

I enjoyed the little scramble up Tent Ridge - it added a bit of extra fun to an already great day hiking.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
PMahesh 3 months ago

The hike itself is not very hard, just the scrambling part was annoying. But the view from the top was worth it.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
4h 00m Time Taken

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