Prevailing wind patterns along the Kananaskis Valley mean Barrier Lake is usually windy with rolling waves and whitecaps. Layer on the fact that it's usually very busy and Barrier Lake was NOT on our list for our first season of kayaking adventures. But as a Plan B option on a cool and rainy day, it worked well.
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.
What makes the summit of Mount Allan an attractive goal for day hikers? Wildflowers! There's an extended ridge walk with great views of the surrounding landscape. The Rock Garden at the 5.5 km mark is unlike anything we've seen in the Canadian Rockies. While it's steep, there's no vertigo-inducing exposure. Centennial Ridge to Mount Allan …
A unique, horseshoe-shaped ridge walk in the Spray Valley, Tent Ridge includes some fairly technical sections and is not for those with any fear of heights/exposure. It's not an officially-sanctioned Alberta Parks' trail, so is not maintained. But it's popular and well-established. And while it took us three attempts to complete (and we don't plan on doing it again), there is satisfaction in crossing Tent Ridge off our list of "must do" hikes.
One of our favourite destinations during wildflower season, Grizzly Peak is also a solid option for larch season. Less well-known than the crowded trails around Lake Louise, it's a half-day hike that's easy to extend with a ridge walk or an exploration of Pocaterra Cirque.