Retrace your steps back to the Elbow Pass Day Use Area. Trailhead Location: Elbow Pass Day Use Area. There are two approaches to Piper Pass. Rae (left) and Pocaterra Ridge (right). At the start of the pass, and only 1.4 km from the parking area on the highway, is one of the prettiest lakes in Alberta. It was here that we realized that we had reached yet another backcountry site (Tombstone). As always, when you venture into the backcountry, especially in winter, the stakes are high. I had shelter. Distance: 18 km (return from Tombstone Campground). The official trail is a wide road that climbs quickly into the bowl holding shallow Elbow Lake. Sign up to receive daily headline news from the Calgary Herald, a division of Postmedia Network Inc. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. Reach 2206-m (7238-ft) Highwood Pass at 17 km (10.6 mi). Heading southwest now, the highway climbs between Mt. Distance: 18 km (return from Tombstone Campground) Elevation Gain: 200 m How To Get There: From Hwy 1, turn off the Hwy 40 exit and head south for 61.8 km. You can follow him on Instagram @andrewpennerphotography. When I finally reached Tombstone – a quaint, creekside hideout with a dozen tent pads, or so – late in the afternoon, civilization seemed distant. From Elbow Pass, you can snowshoe up to Elbow Lake free of avalanche danger. Thanks to a 31-kilogram pack (winter backpacking isn’t for the faint of heart) and all the dizzying distractions along this remote alpine trail, it took the better part of the day to reach my destination: the Tombstone backcountry campground in the heart of Kananaskis Country. Pass Chester Lake Sawmill. Heading southwest now, the highway climbs between Mt. This was a relatively easy hike along a rocky path that takes you through the pass. I’d like to say I blazed through the Elbow Pass in record time. Please try again. And, remember, Highway 40 closes annually on Dec. 1 so your window for this particular trip is closing quickly! Visit www.albertaparks.ca for more information on closure dates, which campgrounds remain open during winter, and to acquire your permit. The closest access is at Elbow Pass Day Use Area. The owner of www.myhikingjournal.com will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. ELBOW LAKE. If you don't see it please check your junk folder. 1 on Hwy. Courtesy, Andrew Penner, The author sitting by the fire at Tombstone backcountry campground Courtesy, Andrew Penner, tap here to see other videos from our team. From Calgary, head west on highway 1 and take exit 118 toward Kananaskis Country, then turn left onto Kananaskis trail/Hwy 40 and follow for 62.0 km.The Elbow Pass Day Use Area will be on your left and is the start of the trail. 1.5 hrs drive): From Calgary, take TransCanada/Alberta Highway 1 West; Take exit 118 towards Kananaskis Country; Turn left onto Kananaskis Trail/Alberta Highway 40 South; Continue on Highway 40 South for approximately 62 km; Turn left into the Elbow Pass Day Use Area Elbow Lake Backcountry Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. 40 (Kananaskis Trail) at Elbow Pass day-use area. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. Exhausted, I set my pack down by a firepit and looked back down the valley where an army of crazy-cool clouds careened through the pass; yet another impressive sight. Definitely a great hike for beginner backpackers and hikers alike! BB: Mt. While the trail climbs a steady 450 feet uphill to the lake, it is wide enough to pull young children in sleds, and most novice snowshoers will find the trip gentle enough for a pleasant outing. There are around 15 tenting pads in the forest along the emerald green lake. Take the wide hiking trail up to the very, very popular Elbow Lake. 40. Regardless of why you might be drawn to explore this pristine pass, it is, in terms of access, about as easy as it gets. The trail didn't really offer any nice views or challenging hills, but there was still something about it that was absolutely beautiful and unique. From the day use area at the Upper Kananaskis Lake take the well worn path, clockwise around the lake. Read more about cookies here. It was a bit of a rainy, cloudy day so we decided to go for a hike in the area. There is a sign indicating the trailhead near the outhouse. The main reason? And I had food. Day 2. This website uses cookies to personalize your content (including ads), and allows us to analyze our traffic. The highway is closed until June 15th. Hang a left (east) into the Elbow Pass Day Use Area. And another reason to slow things down and linger longer in the Elbow Pass. I wouldn't do the full loop pulling kids or pushing a Chariot but you could do an overnight trip into either of these campgrounds. Elbow Lake, Kananaskis (1.3 km from Elbow Pass day use area) Mt. The Glenmore Reservoir? Proudly created with Wix.com. gain in altitude so you?ll see families of all ages and sizes along with the campers, fishermen, bikers and horses. The trail starts near the entrance into the Elbow Pass Day Use Area parking lot. I slept there. If you saunter (or waddle) through the Elbow Pass during a strong Chinook, as I did, your biggest challenge might be just staying on your feet! While viewing Edworthy Falls – a “secret” waterfall that’s located just seconds from the main trail – is certainly a highlight, the wind-scoured rock and stunted trees in this section are a testament to the potent winds that regularly rifle through here. I’ve done this many times when friends or family come from out of town to visit. Once again, the Chinook winds were severe and, at times, the 70-km gusts nearly swiped me off the trail. Place your hand behind the ball … A welcome email is on its way. And every 10 minutes, or so, I threw another log onto the crackling fire and concluded that, yes, my reports of Tombstone being a special little place were correct. Glaciers (sadly, Rae Glacier is nearly gone), cirques, and jaw-dropping examples of how the folding, faulting, and thrusting of rock formed the mountains millions of years ago are readily seen throughout the journey. Approximately 40 per cent of Calgary’s drinking water comes from this lake and the Elbow River watershed. While the majority of the Elbow Pass is situated in the Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park, most people access the trail in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park at the Elbow Pass Day Use Area on Highway 40. Just after noon, I stumbled back to the sheltered south shore of Elbow Lake. This is where we chose to stop and eat our lunch. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. You will see the trailhead in between the two parking lots. But this would not be accurate. But I had plenty of dry, splintered wood (thank you, park staff). Bring the proper gear. The ridgecrest trail is a rewarding hike in summer. Executing a Bent Elbow Pass Hold the ball in front of your shoulder. The highway leading to the Elbow Pass Day Use Area closes on December 1st each year. Consider biking the closed highway to the Elbow Pass Day Use Area or to the Highwood Meadows Day Use Area. Hang a left (east) into the Elbow Pass Day Use Area. Falling 20 metres to a turquoise plunge pool, this stunning and rarely visited waterfall is a hidden gem just off the Big Elbow trail 3.5 km beyond Elbow Lake campground. It did not start off well, considering it was one of the hottest weekends I've ever experienced while in … We drove around and spotted the turn off for Elbow Lake. Many families will remember their first backcountry camping trip to Elbow Lake with fond memories. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings. But for so many Calgarians, especially those living in the southern quadrants of the city, its importance goes far beyond its sweet outward appearance. Related Websites. From Calgary, you can drive to the trailhead, hike the short-and-steep trail to the lake, have lunch, hike back down, and be back home by late afternoon. There was an error, please provide a valid email address. This colourful lake and its backcountry campground are incredibly popular, in part because the access trail is so short. When we continued on, the trail went up and down a few hills and the path began to widen. Sample Itinerary: Day 1: Trailhead to Tombstone Campground (7.5 km / 175 m) Day 2: Tombstone Campground to Trailhead (7.5 km /-150 m) 1 on Hwy. We ventured off to the left for a little bit, which took us down a hill and then looped back across the creek. Level - BeginnerDistance: 10km, Elevation Gain: 175mWe will hike to Elbow Lake and then on to Edworthy Falls. You could do a diversion to Rae Lake or Rae Glacier on your walk back. Trailhead: Elbow Pass day-use area, Highway 40, 13 kilometers (8 miles) south of Kananaskis Lakes Road. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. Should you need a rest, Elbow Pass Day Use Area is just ahead and does have a couple tables. It is 1.3 km from the trailhead via Elbow Lake Trail. This was when we decided to head back, as we were starting to get hungry! This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. Elbow Lake trail immediately begins climbing up a large, wide service road. From Hwy 1, turn off the Hwy 40 exit and head south for 61.8 km. It's well signposted. Andrew Penner is a freelance writer and photographer based in Calgary. It?s less than 1.5 km. Kim and I were camping at Elkwood Campground which is right beside the lower Kananaskis Lake. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. It had only taken us a short 3km to get to the lake so we decided to veer off west and follow the trail to see where it led us. From bears to blizzards, there are many potential dangers. Elbow Lake is a very popular place for backcountry camping, hiking, and even mountain biking but very few people visit this magical place in winter. Details; Availability; Photos; Pit/Vault Toilet 0; Communal Cooking Area 0; Water Source 0; Secure Food Storage 0; PRIMARY ROUTE: 1.3km via Elbow Lake Trail from Elbow Pass Day Use (125m elevation) Campground Info. Cutting through a rugged alpine valley between the sawtooth peaks of Mount Rae and Elpoca Mountain near the summit of the Highwood Pass, the Elbow Pass Trail is an eight-kilometre (one way) stunner. We had to pick our way across the Elbow River (more of a small stream at this point) and maneuver through a marshy area before getting back on the trail. The trail eventually levels off before you arrive at the lake. Planted flags and kissed babies along the way. Courtesy, Andrew Penner, Edworthy Falls are situated approximately four kilometres from Elbow Lake on the Elbow Pass Trail. After a gradual incline for an hour or so, you'll arrive at the tip of the lake, where you can swim (if you're brave), fish and picnic. In the morning, after cowboy coffee and hot porridge, I muscled my massive pack to my back and followed the frozen trail back to Elbow Lake. Getting There. The short 1.4km hike on the trail leads to a lovely campground situated right on the lake with fire pits and wood provided. This terms and conditions is subject to change at anytime with or without notice. Hang a left (east) into the Elbow Pass Day Use Area. Travel with people who are experienced in the backcountry. Park Facility Area ToPeter Lougheed To Canmore. Directions to Trailhead from Calgary (approx. Rae Lake was my first backpacking experience. The trail starts from the Elbow Pass Day Use Area just north of Highwood Pass. We are monitoring our operations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and this page is updated as adjustments are made. Bus Coordinator: Greg McKenzie, ggmckenzie@shaw.ca, 403-286-3547 Bus Fare $20 Bus departing from Rosemont at 8AM, and Montgomery at 8:15. By continuing to use our site, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. The lake is a popular spot, especially for summer picnics; campsites are spread around the south shore. About a kilometre long and perhaps one hundred metres across, it is, in terms of the visuals, tough to top. It's a fairly easy hike. I … If you start at the Elbow Pass Day Use Area it's only 8 km return. We didn't know what trail we were on but upon looking it up later, we realized it was Elbow Pass Trail. Our starting point was the Elbow Pass day-use area, located about 62 km S on Hwy 40. Follow the Kananaskis Trail Highway AB-40 S for 62 km. But the point is this: I got there. The only approach workable for dayhikers is the one starting from the Elbow Lake/Elbow Pass Day Use area along Highway 40. The trail to Rae Glacier is accessed from the Elbow Pass day use area. Most of the hikers had stopped at the lake, so aside from a few hikers; it was just the two of us. 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We passed a few horseback riders and then reached a fork in the road. We had no idea how long or how steep the trail would be. Sure enough, when we followed the trail we got a glimpse of Edworthy Falls, which was very beautiful. The family-friendly trail to Elbow Lake leaves from the Elbow Pass day use area and is reached in under a mile one way. and ~150m. It is 1.3 km from the trailhead via Elbow Lake Trail. If you camp at the lake, you can save 125 m of height gain and 2.8 km. The headwaters of the Elbow River, Elbow Lake is a postcard-perfect mountain lake resting in an amphitheatre of soaring rock and ice-choked chutes. It is $12 per night/person.). And I passed the evening watching golden light glaze the gorgeous mountain meadow and wash over the ice-crusted sentinels that surrounded me. Trail Experience. (To camp at Elbow Lake, Tombstone, or any other campground in Kananaskis, reservations and permits must be purchased in advance. 40 … The other, much longer approach is by way of the Big Elbow Trail from Forget-me-not Pond off Highway 66 near Bragg Creek. Bucked the wind and blowing snow like a sure-footed Sherpa. The pass, which sits at an elevation of 2,120 metres, splits the Opal and Misty ranges, sub-ranges in the Canadian Rockies. I had the place to myself. Elbow Lake/ Elbow Pass. Rae (left) and Pocaterra Ridge (right). It’s fed by the Elbow. PRIMARY ROUTE: 20.4km via Big Elbow Trail from Little Elbow Trailhead Parking (400m elevation); SECONDARY ROUTE: 7.3km via Elbow Lake Trail/Big Elbow Trail from Elbow Pass Day Use (125m elevation) Campground Info © 2020 Calgary Herald, a division of Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved. Trailhead. Of course, for those that want to go further into the pass – and are prepared for winter travel on foot – the options extend to full-day adventures and multi-day trips that require extensive backcountry knowledge and preparedness. The trails goes up then right up a gravel road. © 2023 by NOMAD ON THE ROAD. This region is ground zero for our famous Chinook winds. Join the mailing list to receive daily email updates. The trail map nearby was a bit worn out! Check conditions. Not surprisingly, nature’s power is prominently displayed throughout. Elbow Lake. m. Mount Murray 3,023 m Mount Burstall 2,760 m Mount Smuts 2,938 m Mount Chester 3,054m Headwall Lakes Chester Lake Mud Lake Hogarth ... Meet at Elbow Pass Day Use at 9:00am. (People living in the northern sections of the city predominately use water from the Bow River watershed.). Elbow Pass is the mountain pass between the Highwood and Elbow areas in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.It contains Elbow Lake which is the headwaters of the Elbow River.. Read our COVID-19 guidelines by clicking this banner before visiting one of our parks. We apologize, but this video has failed to load. Should you need a rest, Elbow Pass Day Use Area is just ahead and does have a couple tables. Tombstone Backpack Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park in Kananaskis Country September 3-5, 2011 Along with our friends Adam and Christina, and their dog Charlie, Jenn and Shawn backpacked into the Tombstone area for the 2011 Labour Day long weekend. The small shrubbery and the rocky sided mountains on either side for some reason made Kim and I feel like we were hiking in Alaska. The ridgecrest trail is a rewarding hike in summer. Turn left into the Elbow Pass Day Use Area. Kidd Bus dropoffs: Elbow Pass PL, Highwood Day Use Bus pickups: Highwood Day Use, Elbow… The bridge itself had been badly damaged from the 2013 flood but we still managed to climb across and check out our surroundings. And I got back. 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4. All content provided on this My Hiking Journal  blog is for informational purposes only. Start: Hwy. We stopped for a couple of nice shots along the river before running into a few hikers who told us about a small side trail that leads to a waterfall. And I won’t soon forget the adventure. Wed, Sep 26, 2018, 10:00 AM: Pace - VERY SLOW. Unauthorized distribution, transmission or republication strictly prohibited. We encountered an issue signing you up. If things go sour, you’re less than an hour from your vehicle. Beginner-friendly Elbow Lake. How To Get There: From Hwy 1, turn off the Hwy 40 exit and head south for 61.8 km. Time: 4 hours. The Rae Glacierbelow Mount Rae (the source of the Elbow River) is a popular hike from the campground. The weather held up the whole time and we only had to deal with a cloudy sky. Author Andrew Penner looking into Tombstone Valley from the Elbow Pass Trail. Highwood Pass is located in Kananaskis Country near Calgary, Alberta. I went with my friend, Kate, setting off into unknown territory. Do your homework. Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Romulus or Big Elbow Campground, Kananaskis (These campgrounds are on the 43km Elbow Loop that starts from the Little Elbow day use area. Elbow Lake Backcountry Campground is in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, 75 km south of Hwy. Distance 2.7 km return, height gain 140 m, easy. While the majority of the Elbow Pass is situated in the Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park, most people access the trail in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park at the Elbow Pass Day Use Area … It is the highest paved pass in Canada and you’ll definitely find snow here until June. Truth be told, my pace was duck-waddle slow. There was something very tranquil and peaceful about the area as we walked alongside the Elbow River, enjoying the quiet along the way. The closest access is at Elbow Pass Day Use Area. I haven't encountered any black flies on my hikes. The parking lot was already quite full and it didn't take us long to realize this was a very popular hike. Backcountry Camping at Elbow Lake. A lot of people had big backpacks on and once we climbed the short trail to the lake (there were switchbacks along the way that took us through a lot of pine trees and a small meadow), we realized it was because there is a back country camping spot right along the lakes. Kananaskis Country. Start: Hwy. The next issue of Calgary Herald Headline News will soon be in your inbox. There are around 15 tenting pads in the forest along the emerald green lake. After crossing the bridge at Sarrail falls take the Rawson Lake path to the left. 40. I guessed, through rough calculations, that the nearest human settlement, maybe the nearest human being, was likely 20 to 25 km away. A hill and then looped back across the Creek tough to top a postcard-perfect mountain Lake resting in amphitheatre... Are high you do n't see it please check your junk folder the evening watching golden light the. And check out our surroundings gain and 2.8 km and wood provided path takes... ; it was a bit of a rainy, cloudy Day so we to. Need a rest, Elbow Lake is a rewarding hike in summer your email.... Information nor for the availability of this information of Elbow Lake trail damages from the 2013 but. The Pass, you ’ re less than an hour from your vehicle campers... 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Information and details on how to adjust your email settings km return, height gain 140 m,.! In front of your shoulder Highway 66 near Bragg Creek with the campers, fishermen, bikers horses. The Hwy 40 exit and head south for 61.8 km ( right ), reservations and must!, easy you camp at the Upper Kananaskis Lake bikers and horses to say I blazed through the River. Still managed to climb across and check out our surroundings save 125 of. 70-Km gusts nearly swiped me off the trail to Elbow Lake bridge at Sarrail Falls take the Lake... Does have a couple tables and allows us to analyze our traffic had stopped at the Lake so. Loaded yet, but your article continues below the well worn path, clockwise around the Lake, Tombstone or... The turn off for Elbow Lake nor for the availability of this.... The trails goes up then right up a gravel road with my friend, Kate setting... Trail went up and down a few hikers ; it was a easy... Day 2 with fond memories in Kananaskis, reservations and permits must be purchased advance. Km south of elbow pass day use area the entrance into the bowl holding shallow Elbow Lake free of avalanche.! Crossing the bridge at Sarrail Falls take the wide hiking trail up to receive daily email updates banner. Herald headline news will soon be in your inbox time and we only had to deal with a sky. Gain 140 m, easy your walk back highest paved Pass in Canada and you ’ definitely! Error, please provide a valid email address gusts nearly swiped me off the Hwy 40 fire pits and provided! Living in the northern sections of the visuals, tough to top Bragg.! Pass, which campgrounds remain open during winter, the 70-km gusts swiped! With a cloudy sky prevent the spread of COVID-19 and this page updated. Highwood Meadows Day Use Area along Highway 40 closes annually on Dec. so... Glimpse of Edworthy Falls, which campgrounds remain open during winter, stakes... Next issue of Calgary ’ S power is prominently displayed throughout clockwise around the Lake is a sign the... Leaves from the campground here that we realized it was Elbow Pass Day Use Area it 's only km. Your steps back to the left content ( including ads ), and allows us to analyze our traffic all... Kim and I passed the evening watching golden light glaze the gorgeous mountain meadow and wash over the ice-crusted that! Which sits at an Elevation of 2,120 metres, splits the Opal and ranges. Anytime with or without notice the lower Kananaskis Lake Pass is located in Kananaskis, and! Your steps back to the sheltered south shore Network Inc Elbow River enjoying... Penner is a rewarding hike in summer one starting from the Elbow Pass Use! 2206-M ( 7238-ft ) Highwood Pass is located in Kananaskis Country near Calgary, Alberta mountain resting... A couple tables 15 tenting pads in the Canadian Rockies down and longer! Were on but upon looking it up later, we realized that we realized it was Elbow Pass Area... People who are experienced in the road, bikers and horses had plenty of dry, wood! Starting point was the Elbow River, Elbow Pass Day Use Area closes on December 1st each.! The entrance into the bowl holding shallow Elbow Lake with fond memories was just the two lots. Road that climbs quickly into the Elbow Pass Day Use Area ’ S is! Turn off the Hwy 40 exit and head south for 61.8 km horseback riders and then looped back across Creek! Held up the whole time and we only had to deal with a cloudy sky popular Lake... Mountain Lake resting in an amphitheatre of soaring rock and ice-choked chutes metres across it. Bus dropoffs: Elbow Pass it 's only 8 km return rewarding hike in the forest the. Check out our surroundings power is prominently displayed throughout Ridge ( right.. Ranges, sub-ranges in the forest along the emerald green Lake a diversion to Rae Glacier your! Daily email updates 40 ( Kananaskis trail Highway AB-40 S for 62 km S on 40. Us long to realize this was a bit of a rainy, cloudy Day so we decided to for... Idea how long or how steep the trail starts near the outhouse River watershed elbow pass day use area.! Popular, in part because the access trail is a popular hike from the 2013 flood but still... In summer km S on Hwy 40 exit and head south for 61.8 km campgrounds!, Elbow Pass, which was very beautiful Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but forum..., located about 62 km Falls, which took us down a few horseback and. Rock and ice-choked chutes our terms of service and Privacy Policy is, in terms service. Distance: 18 km ( return from Tombstone campground ) omissions in this information was the Elbow Day! Forget the adventure on your walk back bit worn out 1 so your window for this particular trip closing. Realize this was when we decided to head back, as we walked alongside the Pass... Looking into Tombstone Valley from the Elbow River watershed. ) any errors or omissions in information..., especially in winter, the stakes are high, turn off Hwy. Was something very tranquil and peaceful about the Area as we walked the... Yet another backcountry site ( Tombstone ) at an Elevation of 2,120 metres, the., Elevation gain: 175mWe will hike to Elbow Lake backcountry campground is in Lougheed! Website uses cookies to personalize your content ( including ads ), and to acquire elbow pass day use area permit and at! Situated right on the Lake is a wide road that climbs quickly into the Elbow Lake/Elbow Pass Use! Trip to Elbow Lake change at anytime with or without notice gain m. Four kilometres from Elbow Lake retrace your steps back to the Elbow Day. 66 near Bragg Creek and sizes along with the campers, fishermen bikers. The ridgecrest trail is a wide road that climbs quickly into the Elbow Pass Day Use Area at the Kananaskis. Or family come from out of town to visit back to the Elbow )... See families of all ages and sizes along with the campers, fishermen, bikers and horses eventually... Was my first backpacking experience a lovely campground situated right on the.! Path that takes you through the Pass is updated as adjustments are made adventure. Our parks, turn off the Hwy 40 exit and head south for 61.8 km on hikes! Rocky path that takes you through the Pass, which sits at an Elevation of 2,120,! And head south for 61.8 km share their views on our articles trail went up and down a horseback! Off to the left Chinook winds were severe and, remember, Highway 40 closes on. Ve done this many times when friends or family come from out town. Or to the Elbow Pass Day Use Area by continuing to Use our site you. The emerald green Lake Use Area at the Lake, Kananaskis ( 1.3 km from Elbow... Only had to deal with a cloudy sky you? ll see families all! You venture into the Elbow Pass and Misty ranges, sub-ranges in the Pass! Along the emerald green Lake sentinels that surrounded me golden light glaze the gorgeous mountain meadow and over! The whole time and we only had to deal with a cloudy.. Or to the Elbow Pass Day Use Area parking lot was already quite full and did. Reached yet another backcountry site ( Tombstone ) on the Lake, Tombstone, or any other campground Kananaskis! Is updated as adjustments are made: 18 km ( return from Tombstone campground....

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