Shoulder Season Hiking – Sibbald Lake Area

The Sibbald Area of Kananaskis is less than an hour drive from our central Calgary home, making it a great destination when you don’t want to be driving and instead want to be wandering in the early season sunshine. I’ve only been there once before to hike, but we always come into the area in the winter to cut down our Christmas tree. This time we were looking for an easy walk that wouldn’t be busy.

We left later than normal, around 10:45 am and arrived at the Sibbald Lake parking lot to find it empty except one other vehicle. Being the only people on a trail is such a nice treat when it happens!

We planned to hike to Eagle Hill and set off along the trail from the parking lot. There are signs at the junctions but we found the maps confusing and ended up going off trail at one junction where we should have gone left but instead headed right (the trail looks like it heads back the way you came and that is the correct path to follow!). Our detour took us up a hill, and then down a cutline where we joined up with the Eagle Hill trail not too far from where it meets up with the Deer Ridge Trail (marked by a fence line). From there the trail was easy to follow through the mixed forest towards Eagle Hill.

Easy Trails
Travelling along easy forest trails

Unfortunately we ran out of time before we made it up Eagle Hill – we only walked as far as the small bridge across Sibbald Creek (which I understand isn’t too far from the climb up the hill). Just past the creek we sat and enjoyed lunch before heading back the way we came.

Almost_Views
A glimpse of what you’d see if you made it to the top of Eagle Hill

We had no trouble following the path back to the parking lot (and even took a slightly different route near the end) and reached the Rover after just under 3.5 hours of walking. My Garmin tells me we covered about 7.5 miles (roughly 12 km). We had an uneventful drive home and made it back in the afternoon to grab a few groceries and relax before the weekend was over.

The hike to Eagle Hill is not a mountain hike. It is gentle terrain where most of it was in the trees and there isn’t a ton of elevation gain. Still, it was a quiet walk that was fairly sheltered from the wind but remained sunny since the trees hadn’t leafed out yet. We all agreed that what we needed was simply time spent outside and this hike was perfect for that. The wind trails make visiting easy, and the fact that were only saw 4 other people the whole time was fantastic. There was still some snow, but only a few scattered icy patches so cleats were not needed. Even with the low elevation gain I found myself pretty tired by the time we made it back to the city – there is something about being outside in the sunshine that makes you feel fantastic, but also brings on that satisfied tired feeling. Definitely a day well spent outside!

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