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.
A long day hike from the Elbow Pass Day Use area on Highway 40 in Kanananskis Country, the route to Piper Pass skirts picturesque Elbow Lake, crosses expansive meadows where abundant and colourful wildflowers bloom, includes the option for a short side trip to Edworthy Falls, requires fording the Elbow River, passes many waterfalls in Piper Creek Canyon, leads to an expansive alpine meadow and ultimately to a challenging, steep scree climb to a pass with amazing views both north and south.