Kananaskis Country

Time: 5 hours (return)

Distance: 6 km (return)

Elevation Gain: 906 m

How To Get There: Drive into Canmore, towards the Nordic Center, then continue past the dam until you reach the Goat Creek trailhead parking lot on the right side. This parking lot serves the Ha Ling, Goat Creek, and EEOR trail-heads. Park your vehicle, then walk back along the road (north) a couple hundred meters until you come to a double telephone pole on the left side. Start your ascent there.

Weather forecast called for plus 20 degrees in the mountains so I was quick to grab my hiking gear and head to Canmore for the day. Just before I was able to reach the goat creek trailhead parking lot, I was interrupted by a large group of male bighorn sheep who had taken advantage of the sunny day to lick the salt off of the rocks. Big horn sheep are a common sight in the rockies but I still took the opportunity to stop and snap a few photos.

I continued around the bend and saw my parking spot waiting patiently for me.

From there, I walked a hundred meters back until I passed the yellow turn sign and reached the telephone pole.

The trail immediately moves upwards, following along side the road way for about fifty metres. It seems a little ridiculous to say but I was already loving the view.

The trail switches back into a forest of pine trees. I didn't know it in the moment but it would be one of my only opportunities to hike in the shade.

The trail immediately moves upwards, traveling among pine needles and tree roots. A person really has to watch their footing at the beginning of this trail!

The pine forest overwhelmed my senses with the smell of nature. It was both intoxicating and relaxing for the body.

It didn't take long for the trail to start to show it's rockier side. A few stones popped up here and there and then suddenly the trail opened up to a series of slabs and boulders. It forced me to use my hands at times to propel myself forward.

With rapid elevation gain comes quick reward and this hike was no different. Though I was sweating within the first ten minutes, it was all worth it for a quick view of the mountains surrounding me.

Accompanying me along my hike was a gorgeous array of wildflowers.

While I moved along the trail, I couldn't help but feel like I wasn't truly on a solo hike. Watching my back the entire time was Canmore's iconic Ha Ling Peak (click here for my blog on this hike).

For a while, the trail moved alongside the Bow Valley before curving straight up Mt. Rundle.

The further I climbed, the more scarce the trees became. The sun was bright and I could definitely feel my skin getting red. With this hike, there is a big lack of shade so a word to the wise- bring sunscreen!

Along the way, there was the usual stack of cairns pointing the traveler in the right direction.

After about 500 m, I was finally able to get my first look of the west side of the mountain. Though it wasn't my final destination, it was still an impressive sight.

And speaking of impressive...

The higher I climbed, the more exposed the world got around me. The rocks grew loser and larger...

...and the trees all but dissipated.

If you keep to the trail on the very east side, you'll have to be careful as a deep crevasse splits through the mountain.

While the trail is for the most part straight up the whole way, there is a brief moment near the top where things flatten out. It allows for a beautiful view of surrounding alpine grass and a look back behind you to see how far you've come.

But the reprieve is short and a full out scramble begins shortly afterwards. A meter deep snow patch covered some of the trail just below the ridge. Because of the high elevation, it will take a very long time (if at all) before it completely melts.

Looking up at the ridge makes for a daunting view.

As I started to scramble my way up, I realized that bringing a helmet would have been a smart idea. The trail is popular and a lot of people were already starting to make their way down. Several times I had to stop and wait for them to pass so that rocks wouldn't start falling down on my pathway.

The very last portion of the scramble before you reach the top is full of loose talus that makes it hard not to slide back at certain points.

But if you keep pushing forward you'll eventually be rewarded with amazing panoramic views.

Reaching the summit marked the perfect time to stop and have some lunch and then take a few well-earned pictures. I truly believe that there is no better place to take a shot of Canmore.

On the south side of the ridge, I was able to get a good shot of the canal.

Needless to say, I was very proud of getting to the top of EEOR.

Once I had my fill of the view at the top, I started to make my way back down. As I began to traverse the ridge, it became even more apparent to me how steep the climb up had really been. But it also provided dramatic views like this.

And this.

And this.

EEOR turned out to be everything I had heard it was. A hard workout with a rewarding view. The hike down was hard on the knees so my advice would be to take it slow on the descent. If you want a decent practice at scrambling, this would be a great trail to try out!