Exploring Tent Ridge: A Hike In Kananaskis Provincial Park

Tent Ridge View

Situated in the Kananaskis Provincial Park, the Tent Ridge trail is considered a moderately challenging hike. At just over 10k in length and 810 m elevation gain, you are guaranteed to see some breathtaking views during your exploration. 

Weather and Trail Conditions

We set out on our hike in early October with temperatures between 12-15 degrees Celsius which we found were the perfect conditions for this hike. Mid-September to early October is peak larch season, where the larch trees turn golden yellow and although a short season, I highly recommended to try and catch it on time for the scenery.

As a popular trail during peak seasons, we had a quieter experience on this Friday meeting only about 20 other hikers on our path. 

As there was recent snowfall, there were some patches of ice along certain sections of the trail that we had to stay aware of, and although micro-spikes weren’t necessary during our trek, they are recommended closer to the winter seasons when snow is guaranteed to be on the trail. 

It can be hard to time this hike during the fall when the weather can be unpredictable.

Because of this, we advise researching the weather prior to your arrival to make sure you are prepared for the varying conditions that can be found on the trail during unpredictable weather seasons.

Trail Highlights

The trail starts out in the trees with a steady but manageable climb.

At approximately 2.7km in, you will see the ridge ahead of you and the climb that’s ahead.

The first scramble is at the 3.1km mark where you will need to use hands to do some climbing over rocks.

The ridge is at about 4.8km, the ideal spot for taking a short food and water break.

Once you’re on the ridgeline, you’re traversing for about 2km and taking in the scenic views of Spray Lakes and the panorama of the surrounding mountains.

At 6.8km the descent beings from the ridgeline which can be steep in some parts, poles are recommended here to protect your knees!

9.3km is where the trail turns flat again and runs parallel with the road back to the parking area.

Heads Up for Hikers

A Kananaskis Conservation Pass is required for access to this trail. 

Taking approximately 4-7 hours depending on hiking experience and fitness level, Tent Ridge is a challenging yet rewarding experience with the stunning views and scenery during the route. 

The trail loop has a gradual ascent to the ridge with a steeper descent towards the end of the trail. Going for the counter-clockwise route has a more challenging start followed by a gentler descent.

Mt Engadine Lodge is found along the route to the trailhead which offers cozy accommodations and outdoor activities such as snowshoeing and backcountry skiing. 

While sections of the ridge might not be suitable for those prone to vertigo, in general, this is a manageable experience for most and a popular route for trail runners too.

Pets & Wildlife

Pet owners should be aware that although dogs are allowed, they must be on a leash. It’s advised that pets are physically capable of navigating uneven terrains and scrambling for certain sections of the trail.

As always when exploring the Alberta outdoors, bear awareness is essential given the trail’s occasional closures due to bear activity, and always carry bear spray!

Parking and Trailhead Access

Located approximately an hour from Canmore, Tent Ridge’s trailhead has enough parking for approximately 20 vehicles and the trailhead is 200m from the parking area. Be aware that signage to the trailhead is lacking.

Recommendations

Tent Ridge is a great adventure for those seeking a challenging experience with stunning views to match. June – October is the recommended time of year for this hike as there is very high avalanche risk during the winter months.

Researching recent bear activity and weather conditions is advised before starting your route to make sure you are fully prepared for your outdoor adventure.

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