Highline Trail is a hard-packed trail with multiple route options. Well-used by fat-bike riders, mountain bikers and trail runners, it's also a an easy-to-reach conditioning trail well-suited for winter hiking. Mostly in the woods, there are a few peek-a-boo views into the Bow Valley, including the flood-hardened Cougar Creek.
While not the most scenic hike, there is definitely a fun factor to this half-day outing - creek crossings, rock-hopping, pictographs, waterfalls and rock climbers are all appealing. Natural turnaround points are at the waterfall (approx. 2 km return) and at the hoodoos (approx. 6 km return). The steep canyon walls and creek can be a cool respite on hot summer days. In the winter, ice cleats should be considered essential for this trail.
Wind Ridge is a moderately challenging half-day hike just a few minutes east of Canmore in the Bow Valley. There's minimal noise from the TransCanada highway, a good variety of wildflowers and some fantastic views from the ridgeline - including the less familiar "back side" of the Three Sisters. Return distance = 13.6 km (8.5 miles) with total elevation gain of 945 meters (3100 ft). There is one short rock band to navigate.
This short and relatively easy walk near Canmore is a family favourite any time of year. Waterfalls, ice formations, wildflowers, mountain bikers and an old concrete dam add multiple points of interest.
Generally speaking, we're fair-weather hikers. But when Environment Canada's forecast shows nothing but rain, chance of showers and/or risk of thunderstorms for the next seven days, we become a lot more receptive to the idea of a half-day hike where we might encounter some precipitation on the way back down. All of which is a …