Day Hiking: Mount Yamnuska

Going hiking two weekends in a row is something that hasn’t happened here in a long time so I was pretty excited to be out in Kananaskis again this weekend. We met up with a group of friends to tackle the easy part of Mount Yamnuska on Saturday morning and it was a pretty nice way to spend a day.

The trailhead is only about an hour from Calgary and was already starting to fill up when we arrived just after 10 am. We quickly got under way – following the wide trail past the sign in the parking lot, across the gravel road and into the trees. We followed the trail to the fork and took the right-hand path marked “hikers”. The trail climbs gradually until you start to get views across the valley and to the west.

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From there we kept climbing until the trail opened up onto a scree slope. Here you have to climb through a narrow passage, and then up a clearly marked path to a relatively flat rocky ledge.

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Our group stopped here although it is possible to continue along and do the scramble portion of the trail. We ate lunch, fought off some very eager small rodents and took in the view. It was that strange mountain weather where a cold wind was blowing, the sun was shining and it was raining so I was happy I’d packed in my fleece jacket. Jon and I took a few photos and then we all headed back down the trail.

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No one was really paying attention to where we were headed and just after the trail enters the forest we took a wrong turn and ended up on a steep trail headed down. It took a few minutes for the group to realize this wasn’t the way we’d come up, but luckily we managed to work our way down the trail to where it connect to the main trail. Our wrong turn meant we had a steep, slippery descent and missed out on any of the views from the way up.

Our total hiking time was about 4 hours – including lunch and our unfortunate hike down on the wrong trail. While the hike itself wasn’t my favorite, I enjoy any chance to be out in the mountains and our hiking group was a ton of fun. I’m hopeful that we’ll have a few more weekends before the snow arrives to tackle some other hikes now that we seem to have gotten back into it!

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