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High Rockies Trail

Canmore - Kananaskis, Alberta,

The 80 kilometre High Rockies Trail, which connects Goat Creek at the Banff Park boundary to Elk Pass on the Alberta B.C. boundary, is the westernmost section of The Great Trail in Alberta. It caters to hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers, snowshoers and in some sections, skiers. The scenery is outstanding and there is a short, but beautifully built, boardwalk section just before Goat Pond. 

It travels uninterrupted through three provincial parks, Bow Valley Wildland, Spray Valley and Peter Lougheed to finish on the Alberta – British Columbia border at Elk Pass.

The trail is easy to access from numerous parking lots and picnic areas along the Smith Dorrien Trail (Highway 742) but more than likely, you’ll want to explore the trail in manageable sections. There are no shuttle systems in place so you’ll have to arrange your own or plan on an out and back bike ride.

You can expect to come across a diverse landscape. Much of it is in the forest, yet there are plenty of open areas and views. Lakeside riding is very pleasant and mostly flat – while those sections with particularly great mountain views, like the Sparrowhawk Day Use Area to Buller Creek section will test your aerobic conditioning.

Nature lovers will also enjoy the trail. There are wildflowers in season including fireweed, asters and arnica. In fall sections of the trail are ablaze with yellow aspen and to a lesser extent larch. Birding can be very good with close to 120 bird species nesting in Kananaskis Country. Watch that your lunch isn’t stolen by gray jays or ravens. Bear, moose and coyote sightings are common. 

Tips for Biking the High Rockies Trail

  • There are no services for food or bike repairs along the length of the trail. Take a patch kit and high energy food for the day. Treat or filter water from streams or lakes along the trail. Take rain gear with you.
  • Pick up a map at the Barrier Lake Information Centre. Although it doesn’t have a lot of detail it will help you plan your outing.
  • The trail travels through a wildlife corridor so make noise, ring your bike bell and take bear spray with you.
  • There are campgrounds near the High Rockies Trail at Spray Lakes and around Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes.
  • For a detailed guide to the High Rockies Trail check out Tony Daffern’s Kananaskis Trail blog.

(click to view/download)

High Rockies Trail Map - North
High Rockies Trail Map - North
High Rockies Trail Map - Centre
High Rockies Trail Map - Centre
High Rockies Trail Map - South
High Rockies Trail Map - South

For more information please check out these websites:

The Great Trail
Kananaskis Trails - The High Rockies Trails
Hike Bike Travel - Biking the High Rockies Trail in Kananaskis Country
Alberta TrailNet

Always check trail reports and advisories before you go!

Content and Photo Resources Provided By:
The Great Trail
Kananaskis Trails
Hike Bike Travel 
Alberta TrailNet