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Wind Ridge Hike

Where:

  • Wind Ridge

 

When:

  • August 22, 2020

 

Who:

  • Ed, Jace, Craig, Peter, Lisa, Oak, Dave, Lorna, Katie, Tomonori, Tanya, Stacey

 

Trailhead:

  • 11 km (ten-minute drive) from Canmore or 103 km (one hour drive) from Calgary
  • take the Dead Mans Flat turn off (exit 98) and head up George Biggy Sr. Road towards Banff Gate Mountain Resort where the parking lot is on the right-hand side before you turn left into the resort area
  • head out of the end of the parking lot and follow the signage as there are seven trails emanating from this parking lot
  • be careful not to take an early left-hand turn as this leads up to Skogan Pass and Pigeon Mountain
  • a little further along be careful not to turn left up the Centennial Ridge trail
  • a new trail was built through the forest with three bridges in 2018 due to the damage from the 2013 floods
  • after you cross the bridges and come to a wide road, turn left and continue for 1.2 km

 

 

Degree of difficulty:

  • 750 meters elevation
  • 13 km
  • 5 hours total time on the trail
  • moderate stroll through the trees for the first 4 km and then quite steep for the last 2.5 km up to the ridge
  • once you exit the trees the trail becomes very steep so gear down, take your time, and enjoy the views as your lungs start to explode
  • there is a short but tricky scramble through a rock face near the top that is not everyone’s cup of tea, but you can enjoy great views even if you stop at this point
  • I have to lift my dog up in two spots through this rock chute
  • you can go to the left around this rock face, but it is very tricky footing with a steep drop off
  • once you get through this chute there is another fifteen minute climb to get to the top of the ridge and then you can hike another 20 minutes or so beyond this to get to another rock outcropping

 

 

Interesting notes:

  • this trail is very spectacular and close to Calgary which was great during this time given the ridiculous amount of people on some of the other trails
  • this was Stacey’s first ever hike, but she did great with the elevation, tricky footing, and scrambling
  • the trail is closed December 1 through June 15 to protect the elk and bighorn sheep in the area
  • beautiful 360-degree views of Centennial Ridge, Pigeon Mountain, Windtower, Mount Lougheed, Three Sisters, Grotto, and Lady Macdonald
  • the trail is named for the wind tunnel effect coming through West Wind Pass which was in full force on this day
  • the Pigeon Mountain ski hill near the parking lot was only operational for a few years in the ’60s (it shut down in 1968) and reopened from 1979 through 1983 (when it closed permanently) as the west-facing slopes could not hold enough snow
  • do not get this trail confused with West Wind Pass which starts on the Spray Lakes Road