Exploring Kananaskis Country Region, west of Calgary
Tuesday was another road trip day. We decided to go to Canmore, but via the most indirect route possible. We travelled along the Kananaskis Trail and the Smith Dorrien Trail amongst others.
The trip started out travelling along the Trans Canada Highway towards Canmore & Banff. Thankfully the skies were pretty clear and we got some good views of the mountains as we travelled in.
Before reaching the actual mountains we changed direction, travelling south on the Kananaskis Trail (Highway 40). This is the route we took the other day, but instead of travelling way down south like last time, we turned west, then north onto the Smith Dorrian Trail.
We stopped off at a trailhead for a break and were surrounded by stunning scenery. We even managed to get a mountain selfie!
After this it was back on the road until we came to a small lake.
Back on the road, the further we ventured into the mountains, the snowier they became. The area had some snowfall in the week. It's crazy to think that when we went to Banff last week it was mid to high 20's, but just two days later this area had snow and as we drove through it was only 2C and we kept seeing snowflakes in the air.
By now it was time for some lunch. We had packed sandwiches and drinks so that we could stop off whenever we wanted. We found a lovely pull in called Buller Pond, so we stopped off here for lunch and some very beautiful views.
This map shows where we were, bottom left red spot near Buller Mountain. After lunch we drove up Smith Dorrian Trail running alongside the reservoir towards Canmore.
Every few km's we got glimpses of the reservoir.Some were stunning views, others not so much, but overall it was beautiful.
Eventually, we reached the outskirts of Canmore and just before you get there-there is a pullout with the most magnificent views of the town and the valley below. Turn around and the views of the reservoir are also stunning.
The next part of the journey is not for the faint-hearted as the road is very narrow and winding. It is also gravel, which when we visited was being regraded. This meant that heavy machinery was plowing the gravel and not only was it hairy going around the machines, it meant the gravel in some places was piled high. I'm glad we were in a truck as some of the smaller cars were having serious issues! But the scenery made it worth it.
When we got to Canmore we stopped off at a cafe called JK Bakery & Cafe. We ordered hot chocolate and I had a chocolate croissant and Chris had a sausage roll. Whilst the food was okay, the hot chocolates were only lukewarm. We really did not enjoy it, but it was a break.
Upon leaving Canmore, we could have gone back on the Trans Canada Highway straight back into Calgary, but instead, we decided to go back the route we came. It was still only about 2:30 pm, so we wanted to make the most of the day.
The same road back looked completely different due to the fact that the snow was still on the trees. Obviously, the sun was catching the trees looking north and so no snow, but the back of the trees facing south were covered. It made for some really pretty scenery.
When we eventually got to the bottom of Smith Dorrian Trail, we had to turn east to pick up Highway 40 north, however, we decided to detour on another trail which was called Kananaskis Lakes Trail. We hoped it would lead to some lakes, which of course it did.
The first lake we came to was Upper Kananaskis Lake and it was really beautiful. This is a popular spot for boaters, but on this day it was deserted.
We then found our way to Lower Kananaskis Lake, which strangely was further north than the Upper one! I'm sure there is some logic there somewhere. This one was even more stunning than the last one.
By now it was getting late into the evening and we decided to head home. But just as we got back onto Highway 40 we spotted some Rocky Mountain Sheep grazing at the side of the road.
We eventually got home about 8pm are were exhausted. We were disappointed that we didn't see more wildlife, but the stunning scnery more than made up for it.