Hike – Prairie Mountain Ridge

Had a chance to escape the city today with my hiking friend Taylor. She’s always game to go for a walk, especially when it is in the mountains.

We were out in Bragg Creek last week and in certain dark hollows the ground has snow already. The dog days of summer indeed.

Today, we took a trail that is right across the highway from the Elbow Falls parking area. I knew nothing about it. The pictures weren’t terribly inspiring but accounts said it was a good hike and worthwhile. I can’t imagine the days before the internet for seeking hiking routes. I remember distinctly the Gillean Daffern books about Kananaskis being bibles in our extended family for their background, completeness and accuracy.

I randomly chose a hike within close proximity for driving and a decent length that I could finish in an afternoon. Given that I’ve continued to be plagued with odd muscle spasms, joint pain and general lack of energy and malaise I haven’t been inspired to do a lot of physical activity this summer.

I found Prairie Mountain Ridge on a website called Hike Alberta. A trove of good information and even GPX files to download to my little Oregon 450 GPS unit. Totally slick. Quick download. Install the tracks/map and off we went.

The hike was indeed steep and rather challenging 726 metres in just 3.2 K. There’s a considerable amount of snow that increasingly got slick as you went to higher altitudes. It’s not particularly far, only 3.2 kilometres each way, but the view from the top was well worth it. My phone pics don’t do it any justice. It was breathtaking. Snow capped peaks in the Elbow Valley and the Kananaskis area with views all the way back towards Calgary. It’s a perfect panorama viewpoint.

It took about an hour and half on the way up and less than an hour on the way out – down, down, down….

Quite a few others out enjoying what was an absolutely beautiful day. I ran into one couple, French, that called it “pristine”. Indeed.

Hiking - Prairie Mountain Ridge

A wee bit of snow at the summit.

Panorama - Kananaskis and Elbow Valley

Panorama – Kananaskis and Elbow Valley

Details:

  • 3.2 kilometres each way
  • Approx. 3 hours return
  • Gain of altitude: 726 m (2,300 ft)
  • One happy Dalmatian – Taylor
  • One happy hiker – Mike