Tent Ridge is one of those places where you feel on top of the world.
This beautiful hike is in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, southeast of Canmore, the mountain town I call home. It has unobstructed views for most of the way, and once you're on the ridge you feel face to face with the surrounding mountain peaks.
Last Saturday my friends Jenny and Kaari joined me for this adventure. It was one of the first really hot days of the season and the sun was shining. We figured it'd be a perfect day to spend on top of a mountain.
Kananaskis Country is a large area, spanning over 4,200 square km. It's rugged, remote wilderness and the mountains are massive. (In comparison the province of PEI is 5,600 square km, so while Kananaskis is smaller you get the idea).
Tent Ridge is not quite as remote, as the trailhead is near a backcountry lodge, but it's still a 45-minute drive from Canmore, the nearest town.
The hike is an 11-km loop with around 820 metres of elevation gain. It doesn't have that many steep sections, but is moderately technical as there's some scrambling and route finding. It took us six hours (including breaks), but had the trail been free of snow it probably would have taken five.
We walked through forest and into a meadow with some snow—this took about 45 minutes—then began to ascend the east arm of the ridge. On our way up, we met a dog named Lily and her owners who were coming down. Normally I resist the urge to take pictures of people's dogs, but it won me over this time.
After a bit of scrambling, we were on top of the east arm and the views were already amazing. Spray Lake gleamed blue to the north.
We walked toward a repeater station with solar panels, the highest point on this part of the ridge (and the false summit). Even more stunning mountains came into view. We were in awe. We started descending to a flatter, grassy part of the ridge and could spot tiny figures in the distance making their way up a slope to the summit.
The trail to the summit was the second part of the hike I found challenging (the first was getting onto the ridge), not just because it was uphill but because I get freaked out on steep, open slopes. Living in the mountains, I just have to deal with that though. A day hiking or skiing is always worth it.
We found with every part of this hike, even when from a distance we weren't sure how we'd get up or down something, the trail always came into view once we got closer—even at the end when the trail was covered in snow and we couldn't see it, and had to sit and slide part of the way down. Once we got further down the mountain, the route came into view once again.
To back up though, we were treated to one last gorgeous view when we reached the end of the ridge's west arm. I'll leave you with that. I think it shows why it's always worth it to challenge ourselves, to seek the beauty in the world, and to bring some good friends along to experience it with.