Tired of muddy Prairie Link Trail trail? Here are a couple of alternatives that can be done as single loops or combined for a satisfying short day out. South-facing slopes are already bare and dry, while north-facing ones will probably have snow for another month.
Corri Robb Trail
We usually start by hiking Powderface Trail to the first creek crossing. About 350 m farther on, the good climber’s access trail to White Buddha crag angles up to the right. A the end of the second zig a faint trail continues down valley to the parking lot. We use this dry, sunny old packer’s trail when Powderface trail is covered in snow and ice. Continue zig-zagging up the slope to the foot of the crag. If you are lucky there will be people climbing— a good excuse for a rest. Continue on an ascending traverse along the bottom of White Buddha, finally scrambling up to a good viewpoint on top of “Vents Ridge” (You will have to wait for Kananaskis Trail Guide Vol 2 later this year to learn about the vents). The trail heads west along the ridge before dropping down on two descending traverse lines under cliffs to Prairie Creek.
Short Link Trail
You can either head back to the parking lot or extend your hike by heading west up Prairie Creek for 1.3 km to a good connector trail leading back to Powderface Creek. Although the trail is good once you get on it, it’s difficult to locate from this end. You may need to cast around with the aid of the map and GPS receiver. The connector is easier to find from Powderface Trail. The side valley is easily identified. A short distance up the valley you will have a choice of three distinct ridges. Head to the left of the left-hand one, then climb right up onto the ridge top where the trail becomes obvious. Once the ice melts, you will have to wade Prairie Creek.