Location: Kananaskis Country – Alberta, Canada
Destination: Highwood Ridge
Difficulty: Easy Day Hike | Class 1 and some Class 2. Brief periods of exposure
Highwood Ridge is located in the Kananaskis area which is about an hour from Calgary. We spent a good amount of time in Kananaskis country when we lived in Calgary because it was so much closer than Banff.
We attempted to hike the west end of Highwood Ridge a few years back, but right when we got to the ridge before the summit, we were chased back down the mountain by about 15 full-curl Big-Horn Sheep! Now, I know what you might be thinking – they’re just sheep right? but when they don’t want you on their ridge, they can get pretty aggressive. So… needless to say we missed the best part of the hike – the summit!
Over the last couple of years, Highwood Ridge kept coming up into conversation and we decided it was way past time to finally make it to the summit.
The trail starts off through a small flat before branching off to the left. We went in late September and all the wildflowers of summer had turned to red and gold.
Everywhere you look on this hike, it offers interesting and amazing views. There are plenty of mountains all around, a small pond along the way, and lots of wildflowers in the summer and later they become beautiful fall colors.
My favorite time of year to hike is when the larch trees are turning gold and the air is crisp and cool without being super cold.
The sun was coming and going throughout the day with blue skies one minute and grey cloudy skies the next. We were near the summit with no place for cover when be both heard a crack of thunder. It didn’t take very long before this adventure got a little more adventurous than we were planning! We decided to get out of there quickly because the mountains are so high in parts of Kananaskis that you can’t even see the storm before it arrives sometimes.
We were running off the top of the mountain when the lightening started cracking overhead, the rain started coming down, and things got serious. Luckily, we made it back to the treeline before most of the lightening hit. As hard as it was, we were really glad that we ran – backpacks, boots and everything. I haven’t went for a run in probably 6 months so I was incredibly sore the next day.
We were happy to make it back to the car safe. Maybe… the third time will be the charm and we’ll finally reach the summit some day!