We’ve never just gone for a drive along Highway 40 in Kananaskis Country. But that changed the first Friday in June, when we ended up enjoying a leisurely drive from Canmore to the Interlakes parking lot. We stopped several times along the way, cameras in hands, with the aim of sharing some of the scenic highlights: lakes, mountains, wildlife and other points of interest.
Barrier Lake – The water level in Barrier Lake was very low, revealing layers of silt and other sediment, along with trees and other post-flood debris. The lower water level was particularly noticeable at the inlet end, where the Kananaskis River meanders through what currently looks like a mudflat.
Wildlife Sightings – It was a good day for wildlife spotting. We saw several small groups of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, rams and ewes but no lambs (yet). They were all on the highway, licking salt from the road. Twice we saw White-tailed Deer. And we also saw an Osprey at Barrier Lake. On our return trip, K spotted a moose in the trees. His outdoor education class also spotted a grizzly bear while hiking out from Elk Lakes campground that morning.
The Unexpected – We certainly didn’t expect to come across a traffic light in the middle of K-Country! But with post-flood repairs underway in several locations along Highway 40, it was needed to give traffic alternating right-of-way on the single lane that was open to visitors. As for the bridge at the side of the creek? Well, no one planned it that way!! The creek opted to settle into a different channel after last June’s flood, leaving Alberta Parks with a bridge to no-where, at least for now.
Kananaskis Lakes – The water level was really low for both Lower and Upper Kananaskis Lakes. At Upper Kananaskis Lake, the boat ramp pretty much ended at the water’s edge. As at Barrier Lake, a fair bit of silt and sediment was visible. But the surrounding mountains still provide a magnificent backdrop.
We took unexpected pleasure in enjoying the scenery without putting in a lot of physical effort. For those who don’t (yet) have the stamina and equipment for the hiking and biking adventures we usually post, a scenic drive like this one provides plenty of opportunity to enjoy a smaller dose of fresh air, some closer contact with nature and plenty of beautiful scenery. You may even want to bring along a picnic lunch and take advantage of the short walking trails and picnic tables at Barrier Lake, Wedge Pond, Upper Kananaskis Lake or Lower Kananaskis Lake.