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Porcupine Ridge Hike in Kananaskis

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My inspiration for doing the Porcupine Ridge hike got here from a put up I noticed on Instagram in early Might – a time when most Alberta hikers are chomping on the bit to get into the mountains. The photograph confirmed a bit snow up excessive, however most had melted due to the south dealing with publicity. Quick ahead three weeks, and John and I did the hike. It’s a difficult one – however a rewarding one with actually distinctive views after you break by means of the bushes, about an hour into the hike.

The path is healthier than I anticipated and darned apparent for many of its size. It runs parallel to the Wasootch Ridge Path – which could be very common as a spring hike. From Porcupine Ridge, you too can see Boundary Ridge, the west ridge of Midnight Peak (accessed from the Baldy Cross path) and Tiara Peak. If you happen to’re mountaineering early within the season, you should definitely take heat garments as its windy on the ridge. Icers or microspikes could be a good suggestion if there was snow round. The identical goes for gaiters. This can be a fabulous hike that can assist get you in form for the mountaineering season.

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Porcupine Ridge hike particulars

Distance: Roughly 9.2 km return to the excessive level

Elevation achieve: 713 metres or 2340 ft

Time wanted: 4.5 – 6 hours

Map wanted: Gem Trek Canmore & Kananaskis Village

Canine allowed: Sure, on leash; water accessible in Porcupine Creek at begin and finish of hike

Household pleasant: No – greatest for older children who’ve achieved some scrambling

Don’t overlook: Buy a Kananaskis Conservation Cross earlier than you go. All the time take the 10 mountaineering necessities.

Panoramic view from Porcupine Ridge
Panoramic view of a part of Porcupine Ridge

Porcupine Ridge hike description

I had learn a number of Porcupine Ridge hike descriptions, however I used to be all the time left confused. I hope I’m clear in my instructions.

The outline assumes a begin on the unofficial parking zone (see instructions on the backside of the put up) beside Freeway 40 the place it meets Porcupine Creek. Hike southeast up Porcupine Creek on a well-defined path for 1.2 km to achieve a bridge. The connector path from the Wasootch Day Use Space ends on the bridge. From right here you’ll shuttle throughout Porcupine Creek – maybe 4 of 5 instances, relying on water ranges, till you come to a fork and two branches of Porcupine Creek. There isn’t a proper or incorrect place to cross the creek. Generally there are logs bunched collectively, and at different instances you’ll should rock hop, however its all very simple. You may additionally go some individuals climbing on the cliffs.

You would possibly wish to have a dry pair of mountaineering socks in case you get a soaker. If water ranges are excessive, think about taking water sneakers or perhaps a light-weight pair of crocs for the crossings. Mountain climbing poles actually assist for stability.

On the location the place the 2 creeks meet (as proven on the Gem Trek map), you’ll discover a faint path straight forward, that climbs steeply up in a normal southeast path. That’s the one you need – and that’s the place the onerous work and climbing begins. About an hour from the trailhead, you’ll emerge from the bushes. At that time the grade eases barely and the views explode. You should definitely look again to see the mountain peaks together with “Mary Barclay’s Mountain” and Mount Lorette.

Work you means as much as the following excessive level on the ridge. The path is sweet as much as right here. There’s a brief aspect path the place you may get pleasure from an amazing view and take a look at a memorial bearing a cross and golf membership. 

The subsequent part may have some individuals turning round BUT don’t. There may be one scramble up a slab but it surely’s brief. You might want somebody to provide you a lift to stand up. As soon as on prime of this, search for one other well-defined path alongside the ridge. It appears scarier in photographs than it truly is. From the top of it – which solely takes about 5 minutes to stroll, you’ll see the best way ahead to the actual summit ridge. Nonetheless, you probably have an enormous concern of publicity, you’ll not like this part.

After descending off this brief part of ridge, head left across the massive nob of rock in entrance of you. Proceed up by means of the woods, to achieve a flatter space. At this level there are two methods to the highest. Most individuals head up the rocky boulders and cease in need of a slab with some publicity you will need to climb. Others go around the rock on the backside – and I’m advised the path to the actual summit is simpler this fashion BUT the descent isn’t enjoyable. In that case, you’ll have to do a loop and are available down the slab (see photograph with hiker downclimbing). 

I went up the boulder route and stopped in need of the climb up the slab to the very prime. That gave the impression to be what most individuals have been doing – so do what feels snug to you.

From there, retrace your steps, having fun with the superlative views on the best way down. Under are photographs that provides you with a good suggestion of what the Porcupine Ridge hike is actually like.

The hike starts by following Porcupine Creek
The hike begins by following Porcupine Creek
When the trail dies out on one side you'll have to rock hop across Porcupine Creek to pick up a trail on the other side
When the path dies out on one aspect you’ll should rock hop throughout Porcupine Creek to select up a path on the opposite aspect (the water is low the third week in Might so crossing is simple)
Sometimes you'll find logs to cross on
Generally you’ll discover logs to cross on
If it's a nice day you might pass some climbers beside Porcupine Creek
If it’s a pleasant day you would possibly go some climbers beside Porcupine Creek
This is the junction of the two creeks and where you start to climb
That is the junction of the 2 creeks and the place you begin to climb (up the rock on the left within the woods)
The views when you emerge from the trees
The views once you emerge from the bushes
The Porcupine Ridge hike
The subsequent cease is the highest of the ridge on the best through a properly outlined path
Me downclimbing a slab
After the memorial on the prime of the primary ridge (earlier photograph) you will need to climb up …and finally down this brief slab part
A section of trail that is solid but has some exposure
A bit of path alongside the ridge that’s strong however has some publicity
Descend and follow the trail up through the snow - the only time you would need to consider icers but more on the descent
Descend to the col and comply with the path up by means of the snow – the one time you would wish to think about icers however extra on the descent (and this snow gained’t be round for lengthy)
Looking back to the descent of this section of the ridge
Wanting again to the descent of this part of the ridge
Ultimately you are heading for the knob to the left of the high point
In the end you’re heading for the knob to the left of the excessive level
Our dog loved cooling off in the snow on teh Porcupine Ridge hike
Our canine cherished cooling off within the snow
A fellow downclimbing from the high point
A fellow downclimbing from the excessive level
John at a high point - though you can drop down from here
John at a excessive level – although you may drop down from there – and may attain it by going round this hunk of rock
Lunch spot and turnaround point for most people on the Porcupine Ridge hike
Lunch spot and turnaround level for most individuals on the Porcupine Ridge hike
Getting out of the wind for lunch
Getting out of the wind for lunch
A few people will climb up here but I was happy to just enjoy the view
Just a few individuals will climb up the knob on the best however I used to be glad to simply benefit from the view
Descending Porcupine Ridge
Descending Porcupine Ridge and heading for the snowy part within the bushes
Watch your footing on the steep descent
Watch your footing on the steep descent
You can look down and see the climbers beside Porcupine Creek
You may look down and see the climbers beside Porcupine Creek
This is the bridge over Porcupine Creek you reach from both the Wasootch Day Use Area and the Porcupine Creek parking area
That is the bridge over Porcupine Creek you attain from each the Wasootch Day Use Space and the Porcupine Creek parking space

Discovering parking for the hike

There are a few choices relating to parking. The simplest factor to do is to drive south on Freeway 40 for 16.5 kilometres from the Trans-Canada Freeway to achieve Porcupine Creek. There’s a massive parking space BUT it’s off the freeway in a semi-developed space. There’s a grime street, and you may park alongside it. It will possibly really feel steep dropping down to achieve the parking space so some individuals pull over and park on the west aspect of the freeway. It can be harmful to make the left hand flip – so the opposite choice is to drive to the Wasootch Day Use Space, flip round after which drive north to Porcupine Creek.

The opposite choice is to park at Wasootch Creek Day Use Space and hike the connector path to Porcupine Creek. The draw back is that it’s going to add to your general mileage.

You need to drive over the highway lip and drop down to park at Porcupine Creek
It is advisable drive over the freeway lip and drop all the way down to park at Porcupine Creek
This gives you an idea of how many people are visiting the Porcupine Creek area
This provides you an concept of how many individuals are visiting the Porcupine Creek space

Location map for the Porcupine Ridge hike


Extra studying on Kananaskis hikes

Click on on the photograph to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

The difficult Porcupine Ridge hike in Alberta's Kananaskis Country




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