Highlights from our paddle around Upper Kananaskis Lake include beautiful reflections, an island stop and a chat with another kayaker. We paddled 15 km (9 miles) in four hours, with a boost from whitecapped waves pushing at our stern as we returned to the boat launch.
The summit stretch of HIghwood Pass is closed to vehicle traffic from Dec 15 through June 14 each year. Depending on snow pack and spring temperatures, that means there's a short window each spring when it's possible to ride from the locked winter gates to the summit of HIghwood Pass. We made our first attempt in 2016 (successful) on mountain bikes and have returned each spring since, usually on our cyclocross wheels which make for an easier ride. Highlights from our 2020 ride include spotting a couple of white-tailed deer, riding into strong and gusting headwinds on the descent and seeing a grizzly bear on the drive out. At the date of publication, there are two more weekends to ride Highwood Pass before it re-opens to vehicle traffic on June 15, 2020.
An awesome wildflower season hike, the Helen Lake trail is also a good option for early fall. It offers great views of Crowfoot Glacier across the valley, has a relatively modest elevation gain of just under 600 meters from trailhead to lake shore, and includes a long stretch of trail with expansive views of Dolomite Peak and several unnamed ridges and peaks. Upon reaching the scenic highlight that is Helen Lake, there are a few options to extend the day, including hiking to the Cirque Peak or a nice ridge walk above the lake.