Two Cirques in One Week – Ptarmigan and C-Level Cirques

We definitely didn’t make it out to the mountains much this summer but fall in Calgary often gives another chance to get out and enjoy the mountains. We haven’t been hiking anything particularly challenging but did make it out for two outings the other week.

Ptarmigan Cirque – 4.5 km

This was the perfect kid-friendly hike. We headed out with our friends, their two youngsters and our aging dogs and everyone had a good time – even when it snowed.

The beauty of this hike is that it already starts high up – the parking lot is at the top of Highwood Pass – so it doesn’t take much climbing to get above the trees. Going up is fairly steep and treed but once you get beyond that they are beautiful views behind and ahead.

The hike is a one-way loop (I guess because its so busy) but we were lucky that the long weekend Monday wasn’t super busy. We also opted to deviate from the loop and climb up the moraine to take a look.

We headed down for lunch near the main loop – where we bundled up to eat in a small snow squall – before finishing the loop. The sun came out and we ended up finishing with a lovely day.

We were down to the car just after 1 pm, which meant we were home in time for a nap.  Patches was suitably tired (but did fine), the kiddos seemed to enjoy it and the adults had fun.

C-Level Cirque – 8 km

It’s very rare that we make it out to mountains two weekends in a row, so two hikes in one week was pretty impressive for us. We’ve been to C-level Cirque before but not in a long time so it was sort of like exploring a new place. It isn’t one of my favourite hikes – most of it is in the trees – but having the old mining buildings and works to explore breaks up the hike a little.

We went with our friends and their little ones so were all able to carpool in their mini-van. We sort of have minivan envy – you can sure fit a lot into one of those – and it was nice to be able to visit the way there and back.

It was raining when we pulled into the parking lot but it cleared fairly quickly and we headed out. The cooler weather was perfect for climbing and luckily we didn’t get any more rain.

We made it to the cirque for lunch where we had to fend off some very aggressive chipmunks (but also spotted some adorable Pikas).

Then it was back down to the trailhead and home. While not the most exciting hike, it was a lovely chance to catch up with friends.

We have lots of home repairs that are time sensitive (I’m not cutting a hole in my roof in the winter time!) so I’m not sure when our next mountain adventure will be but I’m happy we managed to fit in a few fall hikes!


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