Killer Knees: the CNC’s hiking trail

On the Canmore Nordic Centre’s summer trail map (price $1.50), one page is devoted to its one and only hiking trail AM, meaning “to alpine meadows.” (The Georgetown interpretive trail seems to have got mixed up among the bike trails.) It is touted as 2.5 km one way  with a 250 m height gain from the stadium area and is closed between Dec. 2 and June 25 because of wildlife concerns.

With a couple of Canmore friends in tow we eagerly decided to try it out, despite our doubt about there being alpine meadows up there in the old ski area. Initially it rises quite slowly following  bike trails Centennial, EKG, Killer Bees and Back Door—as per the suggested route on the map.  It heads uphill from the high point of Back Door, but also has another access from Nectar Noodle.  While it says “no bikes” on the map, there are no such signs at the junctions which are unsigned and it is quite obvious that  the lower portion of the “hiking trail”and its variations are still being ridden.

We hoped for a nice winding hiking trail for a hot afternoon, but no such luck.  It is a disused DHS bike trail straight up a pine ridge, so you know what that means. A couple of openings offered imperfect views of Canmore. At blue flagging there was a side trail into the rocky gully to the right. We continued up the ridge past a technical feature and into a traverse ( the best part of the whole route) then up the northeast ridge of EEOR to the foot of the rock. And there we stuck, 575 vertical m above the CNC.

From here game trails or a climber’s access trail ran below the crag toward Whiteman Pass. In the other direction another trail descended below the rock face towards the gully. Possibly it joins up with the trail in the gully? We didn’t bother looking. By this point we were disenchanted by the trail. We were agreed that 1: unless you are a climber, there seems little point in hiking it, 2:  the name Alpine Meadows was a misleading come-on, and 3: the trail wasn’t something the average visitor to the CNC would enjoy.

Over to you, Bob, for your evaluation.

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2 comments… add one
  • TimO Aug 24, 2011, 12:39 pm

    I pushed my bike up as far as the first wooden stunt last year wondering where the trail ends. Interesting! I didn’t think it was a good bike trail thats for sure, but I thought of coming back for an exploration on foot.

  • Bob Stebbins Aug 22, 2011, 5:45 pm

    Hi Gillean,

    Perhaps we’ll get up there one of these days, though probably suitable days next year. I must say your description of AM doesn’t pique my enthusiasm for it, given all the interesting hikes set out in your new books and the Road Not Taken site. In any case I’ve pulled a muscle in one of my hips (both of my hips have been replaced) and need to go easy for a while on the excessive vertical meter challenges, of which I have apparently done to much of late.

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