King Creek Ridge

Kananaskis Trail
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King Creek Ridge

Distance: 7.3km
Elevation: 740m
Time: 4-5.5h

Difficulty Rating:

The hike up King Creek Ridge is spectacular – offering the chance to get up close with the spectacular Opal Range, views of Mount Wintour and the valley of the Kananaskis Lakes. Although this is a very steep hike in Canmore, it’s absolutely worth it for adventurous, fit hikers.

Getting there

To access the trail, park at the King Creek Day Use Area, located at the winter gate on Highway 40, which is just before the turn-off to Kananaskis Lakes Trail.

About

When to do

June through October

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

Trailhead

Family friendly

No

Route Signage

None

Crowd Levels

Moderate

Route Type

Out and back


Elevation


Detailed Description

This exciting, yet challenging hike seems easy on paper, but the steepness of the early ascent is deceptive. From the parking lot, walk out to Highway 40, and cross the bridge over King Creek. Immediately turn right and continue up on a well-marked path.

The path feels like it is going straight up, with only the slightest of switchbacks. Many braids have been created by various animals and people at certain junctures, but alas, the ascent is ever-continuous. Luckily, frequent breaks give you the chance to look behind at the wonderful views unfolding below.

Eventually, you’ll come to a T-intersection. Remember this location, as you may get confused on the return. Turn left and continue through the light forest, making sure to look out for the sporadic views to your right. As you emerge from this forest, however, prepare to be amazed. Early season wildflowers will dot the open areas as you wander up. Just make sure to frequently stop to look back at the ice-cream-cone-shaped Mt. Wintour.

A final mild scramble (though with some major exposure to your right) takes you to the pinnacle – a great place to break for lunch. Enjoy the variety in the rock color, the greens of the meadows in the Opal Range and the views of Kananaskis Lakes to the South. If you look north up the valley, you can even see the former Fortress Ski Resort as well.

The descent on the way down is tricky, and poles help. Keep in mind that the ground is easier to grip after rain, and it can be quite challenging when it is dry and hard.

Insider Hints

  • This hike is much easier with two poles and good hiking boots for grips on the way down.

  • Head down to Boulder Creek Trading Post on the Kananaskis for an ice cream and to explore the lakes once you’ve finished.

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