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Saturday, June 15, 2024

McGillivray Canyon Hike close to Canmore

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Years in the past, I got here throughout a submit on the McGillivray Canyon hike and filed it away as a hike that regarded fascinating. And what a singular hike it turned out to be!

The path takes you from the car parking zone close to the noisy Trans-Canada Freeway, by way of fairly woods with dappled mild to the sting of McGillivray Canyon. A climb ensues adopted by a steep descent – that may be difficult in winter. There’s a few 300-metre stretch with publicity the place you actually don’t wish to fall. However as soon as within the canyon, the mountain climbing is straightforward, and the expertise of strolling previous steep canyon partitions is superb.

McGillivray Canyon is certainly one of a number of slot canyons close to Canmore. It doesn’t see wherever close to the numbers of those who Grotto Canyon will get due to the problem of entering into it. If it was simple, it will be overrun with individuals because the chockstone close to the tip of the path is Instagram worthy.

In winter the big boulders are snow coated, so it’s a good suggestion to comply with the path of those that have gone forward of you. The remainder of the yr, save for the spring soften or flood, there’s a small stream that flows by way of the canyon. You gained’t run into many individuals on the McGillivray Canyon hike, although at sure occasions of the yr you may even see rock climbers on the close to vertical faces.

The panorama within the canyon is dramatic, particularly if you come to the chockstone, an enormous boulder wedged between the 2 canyon partitions. Though it’s been there for very long time, it’s unnerving to stroll below it. 

Try my Instagram reel to see what the hike appears like.

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It's a little disconcerting standing under the chockstone even though it's been there for a very long timeIt's a little disconcerting standing under the chockstone even though it's been there for a very long time
It’s somewhat disconcerting standing below the chockstone although it’s been there for a really very long time

McGillivray Canyon hike abstract

Permits: You do want a sound Kananaskis Conservation Move. Buy on-line earlier than you go. It’s $15 per day or $90 per yr with as much as two vehicles on the identical tackle.

Distance: Roughly 4.4 km spherical journey

Elevation acquire: 136 m or 446 ft

Time wanted: 1.5 – 2.5 hours relying on how a lot time you spend having fun with McGillivray Canyon.

Degree of issue: Straightforward to average with one caveat – there may be severe publicity most individuals gained’t like on the path above the canyon partitions. In winter it’s icy. In the event you try it with out icers, you would get your self into severe bother. As soon as in McGillivray Canyon it’s simple.

Don’t overlook: Let somebody know the place you’re going and when you find yourself due again. Carry the mountain climbing necessities and an additional pair of dry socks.

Bears: I’d advocate carrying fast to entry bear spray in all however the coldest winter months. 

Canines: We didn’t carry our canine and I’m glad we didn’t due to the steep, icy descent. It’s doable for some athletic canine however is it a good suggestion? My husband says sure, and I say no. Higher although when the snow and ice have disappeared.

Gear: In winter take good icers that grip the ice on a slope and never the walk-in-the-neighbourhood form of icers with steel knobs. I’d advocate a mountain climbing pole as effectively – good for steadiness and testing water depth within the swimming pools within the canyon.

Please: Apply Depart No Hint ideas. The canyon seems pristine, and it will be nice to maintain it that manner.

Climate forecast: Examine the forecast earlier than you go.

Path situations: It’s laborious to test path situations for the McGillivray Canyon hike as a result of this like many trails in Kananaskis is an unofficial path. Use some frequent sense. If it’s rained laborious, there’s been an enormous dump of snow, or a horrific windstorm has handed by way of, give it a cross for a minimum of a couple of days till issues quiet down.

Take private duty: There are dangers concerned with this hike. Be sure to’re conscious of them and do every thing to mitigate them earlier than you go. You’re chargeable for your personal security. Take your totally charged cellular phone and an emergency location gadget like a Garmin InReach Mini 2.

We both wore icers with a good gripWe both wore icers with a good grip
We each wore icers with grip on the McGillivray Canyon hike

Discovering the trailhead for the McGillivray Canyon hike

In the event you’ve pushed the Trans-Canada Freeway between Calgary and Canmore, then you may have handed the unmarked entrance to the car parking zone and the trailhead for the McGillivray Canyon hike.

You CAN ONLY get to the car parking zone from the east sure lane on the Trans-Canada Freeway.

In the event you’re driving west on the Trans-Canada Freeway

Get off at Lifeless Man’s Flats. Go over the overpass to choose up the Trans-Canada Freeway heading east sure. Zero your odometer on the prime of the on ramp. Drive for 3.5 km from the highest of the on ramp. retaining an in depth eye out for the pullover. It’s apparent and it will likely be at concerning the 3.6 – 3.7 km level. When you may see Lac des Arcs within the distance, you’re virtually on the pull off.  Watch out for vehicles behind you.

In the event you’re driving east on the Trans-Canada Freeway

From Canmore it’s a few 10-minute, 11 km drive. Comply with the directions above from the on ramp from Lifeless Man’s Flats.

You can only access the McGillvary Canyon hike if you are driving east from CanmoreYou can only access the McGillvary Canyon hike if you are driving east from Canmore
You possibly can solely entry the McGillivray Canyon hike if you’re driving east from Canmore

McGillivray Canyon hike description

There isn’t any signage for the McGillivray Canyon hike, however the route is on the Gem Trek Canmore and Kananaskis Village Map and we discovered Natural Maps, an offline mountain climbing app to be very useful.

From the car parking zone head out on the apparent path that begins by two massive rocks. Briefly order cross a path coming in in your left and an indication saying Trans-Canada Path. Ignore it and preserve strolling on what the Gem Trek map calls the Bow Hall Hyperlink Path because it curves round and heads by way of a thick stand of bushes.

Briefly order you’ll see a yellow signal saying, “Alberta Wildland Provincial Park boundary.” Flip left onto the path John is pointing at within the photograph beneath.

The trail leaving from the parking lotThe trail leaving from the parking lot
The path leaving from the car parking zone
Turn left off the Trans-Canada Trail just past the sign that says Wildland Provincial Park boundaryTurn left off the Trans-Canada Trail just past the sign that says Wildland Provincial Park boundary
Flip left off the Trans-Canada Path simply previous the signal that claims Wildland Provincial Park boundary

Proceed strolling by way of fairly forest to succeed in the beginning of the canyon. You will notice a tough path all the way down to McGillivray Canyon, however don’t take it. Again in 2021 Alberta Parks pulled all of the ladders and ropes out of the canyon because it deemed them to be unsafe. There may be now an higher canyon bypass path and that’s what is described on this weblog.

Easy walking through pretty woods on the McGillivray Canyon hikeEasy walking through pretty woods on the McGillivray Canyon hike
Straightforward strolling by way of fairly woods

The path was effectively tramped down after we did the McGillivray Canyon hike however might be troublesome to comply with after a recent snowfall. You may wish to wait a day or two for different hikers so you may comply with their tracks.

Once you attain a small – as in perhaps a one metre climb up a rock with roots the place you’ll most likely want to make use of your fingers for the primary time, you’ll must search for a path in your left taking off from beside the one massive boulder within the speedy space. That is the canyon bypass path. We went straight by it as there’s a faint path and needed to bushwhack as much as it about 10 minutes later.

When you’re on the bypass path, it’s very simple. Many of the elevation acquire takes place over the following half kilometre or so. As you get near the steep descent into the canyon, you may’t assist however discover the drop-off in your proper. Focus in your ft and keep away from tripping. It’s a steep, slippery descent to the canyon backside, however luckily there are fairly a couple of bushes to seize. I discovered a pole useful in locations right here too. 

Make use of the trees to stay upright on the McGillivray Canyon hikeMake use of the trees to stay upright on the McGillivray Canyon hike
Make use of the bushes to remain upright on the McGillivray Canyon hike
It's a steep slippery descent into McGillivray Canyon in winterIt's a steep slippery descent into McGillivray Canyon in winter
It’s a steep, slippery descent into McGillivray Canyon in winter – it will be simpler with out the snow and ice

When you’re in McGillivray Canyon it’s all simple going. You’ll be blissful to know that the hike out of McGillivray Canyon is manner simpler that the descent into it. And the canyon is a magnificence. We took our time, stopping to admire the rocks alongside the best way. We noticed a number of climbing ropes and bolted routes up sheer canyon partitions. It could be enjoyable to see the rock climbers in motion right here.

We did the McGillivray Canyon hike in March after a heat spell so there have been swimming pools of standing water you needed to get round. A pole helped for steadiness and to probe to see how deep the swimming pools are. In the event you get a soaker, a dry pair of socks could be good to have.

It's exceptionally beautiful in McGillivray CanyonIt's exceptionally beautiful in McGillivray Canyon
It’s exceptionally lovely in McGillivray Canyon
The trail in the canyon was was to followThe trail in the canyon was was to follow
The path within the canyon was simple to comply with
Sheer canyon walls were a sight to see on the hike up McGillivray CanyonSheer canyon walls were a sight to see on the hike up McGillivray Canyon
Sheer canyon partitions have been a sight to see on the hike up McGillivray Canyon
Some rock climbers with time on their hands must have made this log benchSome rock climbers with time on their hands must have made this log bench
Some rock climbers with time on their fingers will need to have made this log bench
John climbing up to the chockstone in McGillivray CanyonJohn climbing up to the chockstone in McGillivray Canyon
John climbing as much as the chockstone in McGillivray Canyon
Looking at the chockstone from the other sideLooking at the chockstone from the other side
Trying on the chockstone from the opposite facet
John under the chockstone at the end of the McGillivray Canyon hikeJohn under the chockstone at the end of the McGillivray Canyon hike
John below the chockstone on the finish of the McGillivray Canyon hike
Retracing our steps to get out of McGillivray Canyon Retracing our steps to get out of McGillivray Canyon
Retracing our steps to get out of McGillivray Canyon

Remaining ideas

I like canyon hikes – and actually a number of the finest days of my life have concerned canyons. Cue a full day canyoning expertise in Jasper Nationwide Park and one in Utah’s Escalante Wilderness. Each of these have been guided hikes that required ropes and rappels. There may be nothing technical concerning the McGillivray Canyon hike, however you do should really feel comfy with some publicity. Flip round if it’s an excessive amount of for you!

Location map displaying the parking 

                                                                             

Extra nice day hikes close to the canyon

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

The McGillivray Canyon hike near CanmoreThe McGillivray Canyon hike near Canmore

 

 





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