Distance: approx. 300 km (186 mi), round trip
Overlooking Barrier Lake, my friend is sputtering with excitement. He
waves his binoculars in the air and shouts, “A grizzly bear! It’s a grizzly
bear!” Sure enough, a huge bear with the distinct grizzly hump on its
shoulders is clambering up a velvety patch of alpine glade.
We came prepared with bear spray, noisemakers and the common
sense to be bear aware in the backcountry. Fortunately for us, it’s a long
way away and headed in the opposite direction, but what a thrill!
- From Calgary, head west on the Trans-Canada (Hwy 1)
about an hour to the Kananaskis Trail (Hwy 40) turnoff.
- Go south on Hwy 40 for 8 km (5 mi) to Barrier Lake and do all or part
of the easy 10 km (6 mi) hike around the lake. Gorgeous!
- Continue south to Kananaskis Village for lunch. Rent a bike or
rollerblades and explore the paved trails.
- Continue south on Hwy 40 for 30 km (15 mi) to the turnoff for the
Smith Dorrien-Spray Trail (secondary Hwy 742, gravel). Follow it north
30 km (18.6 mi). Turn left onto Mt. Shark Road where you can stop
for tea at rustic Mount Engadine Lodge.
- Back on Hwy 742, head north again for 40 km (25 mi) to Canmore;
back to Calgary is about an hour east on Hwy 1.