Tent Ridge Horseshoe {Kananaskis Country}

Tent Ridge Horseshoe {Kananaskis Country}

It only makes sense to head back to the mountains to do what might be the last hiking of the season over Labour Day weekend. At some point a woman needs to adult, but apparently re-caulking my bathroom tiles and painting my vintage jeep’s hardtop black can wait; after all, it is nearly winter up here in the subarctic.

There are only mere weeks left of good weather – you have to embrace it while it exists!

It was a 50+ km weekend of hiking and adventuring in Banff National Park, Lake Louise, Kananaskis and Yoho National Park and in all of the sites and vistas, hands down my favourite hike of the weekend and possibly the past few months is Tent Ridge Horseshoe.

Getting to this hike is not for the faint of heart nor for those who care if their car gets dirty.

Driving down Spray Lakes Road is like working a jackhammer in a summer dust storm. The unmaintained gravel road long ago turned to washboard and if anyone else is driving, it is a dust storm of epic proportions. The trees on the side of the road are covered in dirt, even the evergreens are now ever dirty.

37 kms down Spray Lakes Road from Canmore, we were at the trailhead just past Engadine Lodge, definitely ready to get out of the car and find some peace and quiet on the trail. (If you want to get your car dirty and not get lost finding the trailhead, grab the instructions and all the details here.)

After talking to a couple that just came off the mountain, we started up the hike clock-wise at their recommendation.

The first 2 kms wind up through the trees and the pops out into a meadow. Looking around I wondered where we were going to climb up. To the right was an intimidating ridge and to the left, a more doable shoulder and then a smaller secondary climb to the ridge.

Tent Ridge Horseshoe Kananaskis
Going clockwise means smaller climbs all the way … scrambles to come!

I was glad when the trail veered left and took us through some more trees and before we knew it, we were on the shoulder.

The lake below and views were worth the 15 minutes of picture taking that ensued.

Let the scrambling begin!

Halfway up the first scramble, I found myself looking up at a woman picking her way down the trail. Her smile was a bit shaky but she let me know I chose the correct way to do the horseshoe as she sidestepped my head.

  • I love it when I accidentally do things right.

Tent Ridge Horseshoe Kananaskis Country

Once on the ridge, you climb and descend about twice more – once to a weather station and then finally to the summit. The final climb up to the summit is definitely for those people who have honed their mountain goat skills.

At one point the wind was howling and I had no clue as to where to go, so I simply hugged the earth for a few minutes while I caught my breath. Once I was sure I wasn’t going to be blown off the mountain, I continued my very slow scramble.

The views are incredible. And never-ending. I thought the views from the summit were glorious, but then we kept going and somehow the views kept getting better. Even the trail was gorgeous.

And I felt pretty badass walking along the ridge of a mountain – literally on top of the world!

The wind. Did I mention the wind?

It howled, threatened to blow me off the mountain and whipped my cute purple jacket around like a flag. I was just glad I was wearing a close-fitting jacket so it didn’t turn into a sail and take me over the edge.

Maybe I dropped to the trail a few times and hugged a few massive boulders. Hey, boulders need love too you know!

The end of the ridge suddenly came up and it was time to descend.

The descent is steep and the start is full of scree and loose dirt. Instead of slowly trying to snake my way across the mountain 183 times, I embraced gravity and my newer found ability to not fall over as much.

Controlled falling, I call it.

Leaning back onto my heels and commencing the most awkward run style you can imagine; I was down to the tree line in no time. It’s possible I scared some people when I gave a peppy hello and wave while run/falling past them on the hill.

Tent Ridge Horseshoe Kananaskis Country
Time to run down – truly it is a way to not fall over!

Nearly done and completely out of water, we found ourselves at a literal crossroads. The trail emerged from the forest and dumped us on a fire road.

No sign and no idea which way to go.

Once again, we somehow chose correctly and went right. Another 300 meters and we could see the dust covered cars in the parking lot.

Saucony Peregine Tent Ridge Horseshoe
These shoes were new when I started …

It was an amazing afternoon, took longer than expected and was much prettier than anticipated.

  • I give it 8 out of 10 stars!

Now it is your turn. I made you a ‘how-to’ guide to get to Tent Ridge Horseshoe so you can have all the information on how to find and do the hike that you can download on your phone before you find yourself lost in the middle of nowhere on a very rough, gravel road without cell connection.

Download all the details for hiking Tent Ridge Horseshoe and let me know how you enjoyed in it the comments below!

See you on the trails!




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