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Barrier Lake Lookout Hike


  • Barrier Lake Lookout Hike



  • October 25, 2019



  • Ed, Jace, Craig, Geoff, Lynn, Dave, Lorna



  • 10 minutes south of the Trans Canada Highway on Highway 40
  • the parking lot is on the right-hand side at the start of Barrier Lake
  • park in the further parking lot from the highway
  • the trailhead starts at the far (west) end of the parking lot by the ‘john’
  • follow the road along the lake into the trees to where it intersects the Stoney Trail and at this point take the Prairie View trail



Degree of difficulty:

  • 600 meters elevation to the Fire Lookout
  • 15 km round trip to the Lookout and taking the counterclockwise loop back through Jewel Pass and along the west side of Barrier Lake
  • the hike took us four and a half hours
  • the trail starts gently until you get onto the Prairie View trail where the switchbacks start although they are not super steep until just below the Prairie View Viewpoint where you get a bit more of a lung buster workout (5 km to this point)
  • from the Prairie View Lookout to the Barrier Lake Fire Lookout (1 km) the trail is not maintained and is quite a bit steeper although the views are well worth this extra effort
  • the second half of the loop down thru the forest into Jewel Pass and back along Barrier Lake is very gentle but longer than the ascent as it is just under 9 km



Interesting notes:

  • the Barrier Lake Fire Lookout is located on McConnell Ridge and provides some great views of the surrounding area
  • these views include Barrier Lake, Mount Baldy, Mount McDougall (named after Craig?), Kananaskis Valley, Heart Mountain, Mount Yamnuska, Loder Peak, Grotto Mountain, and the Bow Valley Corridor
  • the Lookout was once the site of Guard Tower #8 during WW2, and the Tower now resides across Barrier Lake at the U of C Kananaskis Field Station where it remains as a historic exhibit (the Guard Tower overlooked the Prisoner of War Camp on the site that it now sits on)
  • there are a series of very cool rock fissures on the south side of the Prairie View Viewpoint where you can walk down into some of them but be careful not to fall in or drop anything into them as you would not likely be able to retrieve it
  • the Lookout could also be accessed from the Trans Canada Highway via the Quaite Creek trail