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Enchanting Forest Walks To Discover In Kananaskis Country, Alberta

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 by in Canada | 0 comments

Kananaskis Country is a parks system sitting west of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, located by the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. It is named after the Kananaskis River, which was then named in 1858 by John Palliser. The parks system is known as a popular tourist and recreation spot, with facilities like campgrounds, a hotel, a golf course, a holiday ranch, two alpine ski areas (Fortress Mountain and Nakiska) and a competitive cross-country skiing area for public use.



More importantly, a park system has a lot of greens and a lot of greens means forest walks abound. Some of the forest walks you can check out in Kananaskis Country are the following:

  • Barrier Lake Forestry hiking trails is one of the easiest trails around at just 2.3 kilometers in length, the hike will familiarize you with plant layers, soils, and various procedures on forest management. Its also interesting to note that this trail used to be the site for a camp for prisoners of war during the Second World War.

Photos of Barrier Lake




  • Karst Spring hiking trail is an easy trail that spans 9.5 kilometers with an elevation gain of 200 meters, this hiking trail leads to Karst Spring, an area with a lot of driftwood and boulders with moss. Since the trail has a gentle enough elevation gain, it is a favorite among families and is highly appreciated during the summer for the cool air that blows near the spring. The first 3.6 kilometers of the trail is accessible also to bicycles but the rest has to be done on foot in order to reach the Mount Shark trail system and through the forest on top of Watridge Lake, a spot known for its trout. Just follow the boardwalk and head up to the trail passing through the creek and youll reach Karst Spring. The water from the spring came from the limestone layers in Shark Ridge, dissolved rain water and snow that have seeped into the cracks and carved tunnels from where the streams begin.


Some Photos Of Karst Spring


Karst Springs by plind, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by plind 


Karst Springs by plind, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by plind 


  • Eau Claire hiking trail loop is easily completed in just 30 minutes, this trail loops around the river and the valley bottom. No elevation gain is measured for this trail so that means youll be pretty much walking on level ground.
  • Wedge Pond hiking trail loop – Not all trails have to make you break a sweat and this trail is one great example, stretching just a kilometer along the lakeshore with wonderful views all around. About 30 minutes of leisure walking should be enough to cover this trail.

Wedge Pond Photos


Wedge Pond by Hschuyt, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by Hschuyt 



  • Graassi Lakes hiking trail is a hike snaking through 3.8 kilometers of forest to end in two beautiful ponds, this trail also features a lot of wildflowers and a waterfall along the way, as well as an exquisite view of Canmore and the surrounding area.


  • Grotto Canyon hiking trail, a four-kilometer trail that goes all the way to a creek bed sitting in a narrow canyon made up of limestone walls. Starting from the trailhead, you are to head west, following the powerlines past Baymag Plant. When you reach the woods, follow the creek until you reach a fork. The right branch of the fork will lead to a small waterfall, while the left will continue along the creek, opening up to a wide valley.

Grotto Canyon Winter Hike

2010-01-03 Grotto Canyon by dmjarvey, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by dmjarvey 

  • Heart Creek hiking trail is also a four-kilometer trail, this trail is a favorite because it leads to a hidden waterfall. The trail will cross a slope with trees and a footbridge, headed for a gravel path that leads to the creek. In crossing the creek, Heart Mountain will be on your left and Mount McGillivray will be on your right. Further up the canyon is the hidden waterfall that lures trail lovers from all over.
  • Quaite Creek Valley overnight hike – If youre looking for a short hike before settling down to camp, this trail is ideal because it is easy enough, even when you have all your camp gear with you. The hike will cover 4.5 kilometers of trail and lead to a camp site sheltered by trees. From the trailhead, just go straight until you reach the footbridge then turn right. When the trail joins on the left, just follow the trail and before long youll reach the camp site.


  • Bow Valley Provincial Park hiking trails are easily accessible from the highway, a total of six trailheads are available, ranging between 1.9 kilometers to 2.5 kilometers in length. Whichever trail is chosen, springs, birds, and beaver ponds can be seen, completing the short relaxing walk that everyone is expecting.

Bow Valley Provincial Park

Canada Day 2005 - Bow Valley Provincial by finis terrae, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by finis terrae

  • Prairie View Lookout hiking trail is for those looking for a more challenging trail, this is a good option because it comes with great views of the area, snaking through 10 kilometers of dams and trees and ridges. When you reach the Barrier Dam, cross and go uphill past the powerlines and towards McConnell Ridge. Just continue climbing and youll soon reach the ridge. Until you reach the top, do watch out because the trail will narrow and become considerably steeper. The trail, after all, has an elevation gain of 500 meters.
  • Baldy Pass South Approach hiking trail – This 7.4-kilometer climb may pose a bit more of a challenge with 570 meters of elevation gain but the views of foothills once you get to the pass make it all worth it. Expect to log in about 4.5 hours with this hike from the trailhead.


  • Ribbon Falls mountain biking and hiking trail – While elevation gain is just at 300 meters, considerably low compared to what other hiking trails have, this trail does go on for 16.5 kilometers so the length accounts for the challenge this one offers. The first four kilometers of this trail is open to bikes and several waterfalls along the way have made this trail a great choice for families. Before you reach Ribbon Lake, camping grounds will greet you, although there are also camping sites in the area of the lake. Some cliff climbing may be required so exercise caution before venturing on this trail.

Ribbon Falls

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