Distance: 19 km, round trip
Trailhead / Pass Elevation: 1,970m / 2,600m
Approx. Net / Total Elevation Gain: 630m / 800m
Trip Time: 8 hrs, with many lengthy photography stops
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
I enjoyed this one. The Highwood and Elbow Valley areas offer some of the most unique hiking in Kananaskis. The juxtaposition of rolling and grassy meadows with the serrated-edged peaks common in this area is very enjoyable. This hike begins at the Elbow Pass parking lot. It's a quick 20-30 minutes to reach Elbow Lake from the trailhead.
|Piper Creek Valley. "Cats Ears" dead centre.|
|Ominous clouds brewing above Cats Ears.|
|Piper Creek Canyon waterfall.|
Here you can see Cats Ears to your left, a brown cone of scree in the middle, and a ridge leading to Tombstone Mountain on the right. Piper Pass is located to the right of the brown scree cone.
|Looking northward towards Paradise Pass.|
The valley leading towards Paradise Pass is gorgeous and worthy of exploring on a backcountry backpacking trip. Eventually this trail leads all the way to north end of Opal Ridge/The Wedge!
|From Jerram to Evan-Thomas. Too many peaks to name.|
|North ridge of Mt. Rae and the Elbow River Valley.|
The cloudy skies that were present for most of the day also offered the opportunity for me to test out a new macro lens! This hike would be worth doing again with better weather and exploring the Piper Pass and Piper Creek Canyon a bit more.
|Beetles on an Aster.|