The Moose Mountain Hike in Kananaskis Country, Alberta

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Moose Mountain, topping out at 2,437 meters (7,995 feet) in Kananaskis Country offers some of the premier vistas in the area. It’s a popular day hike for those living in the Bragg Creek and Calgary area.

The mountain can be approached by a number of routes; most hikers do it via the trail that is accessed from a seven kilometer dirt road that takes off from Highway 66 just after the Paddy’s Flat Campground.

The hike starts off on a fire road with the first few kilometers offering only the odd peek-a-boo view.

"The start of the trail via a fire road to Moose Mountain"

The start of the trail via a fire road to Moose Mountain

"Moose Mountain is the distant peak in the background"

Moose Mountain is the distant peak in the background

But in roughly three kilometers the landscape opens up and the destination becomes obvious.

It’s a bit of a slog to the top as you switchback 473 meters (1,552 feet) up the mountain in fairly short order. Fortunately the views just get better and better the higher you go. The landscape also changes, becoming rockier and more desolate the higher you climb. Don’t forget to include warm, wind-proof clothes as you may need everything you’ve got near the summit.

"The approach to Moose Mountain, Kananaskis Country"

The approach to Moose Mountain

"Nothing but rock as you get closer to Moose Mountain"

Nothing but rock as you get closer

"A scree filled path to the top of Moose Mountain"

A scree filled path to the top of Moose Mountain

"Rock folds on the nearby mountains"

Rock folds on the nearby mountains

"Hiking Moose Mountain - Kananaskis Country"

Looking back down on our route

At the top of Moose Mountain there’s a working Fire Lookout – that is also the home to the fire lookout ranger. He or she is tasked with looking after 5,000 square kilometers of forest. Everyone is asked to respect their privacy though I do understand that on occasion they will give a tour of the lookout.

This area is no place to be caught in an electrical storm, with so much exposure and nowhere to hide. If a storm is threatening, either turn back if you’re on your way up or descend very quickly.

"Looking out just below the summit of Moose Mountain"

Looking out just below the summit of Moose Mountain

"A very Canadian moment - me sporting my Sorry T-shirt on the Summit of Moose Mountain"

A very Canadian moment – me sporting my Sorry T-shirt on the Summit of Moose Mountain

"The Fire Lookout at the top of Moose Mountain"

The Fire Lookout at the top of Moose Mountain

Sitting and eating lunch on the helicopter landing pad or at one of the picnic tables with a 360 degree view is the reward for the two to three hike to the top.

Be sure to bring lots of water as there is nowhere to top up a water bottle along the way. Some people might like hiking poles on the steep sections as well.

"Moose Mountain is a popular spot in the summer"

Moose Mountain is a popular spot in the summer

"The hike to Moose Mountain"

Another view of our route

"Summit of Moose Mountain"

My friend taking in the vista

"Moose Mountain, Kananaskis Country"

It’s a barren, desolate looking area

"Wildflowers on the Moose Mountain hike"

Wildflowers at the lower levels of the hike

"wildflowers on the Moose Mountain hike"

A blast of colour at the bottom of the trail

For the lover of tough adventure runs, Moose Mountain plays host to an annual Moose Mountain Trail run and the Iron Legs 50 Miler. I think I’ll stick with the hiking?

Do you have a favourite hike in Alberta’s Kananaskis Country?

Leigh McAdam

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