Ridge Hikes Near Calgary to Try This Summer

There’s nothing quite like standing on a ridge and being able to see mountains for miles in all directions.

Hiking King Creek Ridge in Kananaskis in August 2020

Hiking season is here! While some people hike year-round, we trade our hiking boots for ski boots each winter. That means that May and June are always exciting months, as it’s typically when we start hiking once again.

I (Cailynn) headed out last weekend for my first hike of the season and my baby son’s first hike ever. My family enjoyed a gorgeous day on Baldy Pass Trail in Kananaskis (though someone slept through all the beautiful scenery). It’s definitely still early season hiking out there, meaning we encountered lots of snow on the trail as we climbed up.

If you’re heading out this month and hiking up, be prepared for snow. (It can take until mid-July for trails at higher elevations to be snow-free). Early season is also a good time to get refreshed on hiking basics. Here’s a great guide from Banff National Park on safety, trail etiquette and what to pack, and Friends of Kananaskis has this detailed guide on what to know before you go. Remember, too, that bears and ticks are both out already.

With hiking season now here, we’re starting to think about what trails we want to visit this summer. Ridge hikes are a favourite, because of the incredible views they offer. There’s nothing quite like standing on a ridge and being able to see mountains for miles in all directions.

Ridge hikes, however, often require steep and challenging climbs up, and the trails on the ridge may be narrow and feature considerable drops off the sides. Going down can also be challenging. If you’ve never hiked before, don’t start with ridge hikes. They’re best suited for more intermediate to advanced hikers.

Remember to research your route and rely on sources including Parks Canada and Alberta Parks, Gem Trek Maps and hiking guidebooks, rather than just on AllTrails or Instagram. While you should always pack for variable weather conditions, this is particularly important on ridge hikes when you’re very exposed to the elements.

Below are a few ridge hikes close to Calgary that we’ve hiked in previous years and hope to return to later this summer when they’re snow-free. Do you have a favourite ridge hike? Where are you excited to hike this summer? Let us know in the comments below.

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King Creek Ridge

Views from King Creek Ridge Trail in Kananaskis in August 2020

King Creek Ridge is a challenging and steep hike in Kananaskis with stunning views. Check out this Play Outside Guide post for more, or pick up a copy of Where Locals Hike In The Canadian Rockies for detailed instructions.

Opal Ridge

Hiking Opal Ridge in Kananaskis in June 2020

Opal Ridge is another Kananaskis hike featuring a steep climb and expansive views. This Hike Bike Travel post provides more details.

Wasootch Ridge

Annalise and her dog on the Wasootch Ridge trail in May 2020

Also located in Kananaskis, Wasootch Ridge offers a climb right from the parking lot. Once you emerge from the trees, the views are amazing, and the trail offers options. You can get good views without going all the way to the summit, or you can hit the summit and do a full loop.


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