Quick and challenging day hike in Alberta – Grizzly Peak

Grizzly Peak is exactly that, quick and challenging. Located in the Peter Lougheed National Park in Alberta, you will find this short but very steep and rewarding hike.

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Even though we didn’t see any grizzlies on the hike it still is grizzly country and almost every day at the Peter Lougheed Information Center there are bear sightings in and around the area, so that may be why it got the name Grizzly Peak after all.  

Luckily, we didn’t end up seeing any bears while we were on the hike but we were lucky enough to see a few cute chipmunks up at the top which we hung around with for a bit while enjoying the views of the mountains up at the top.

Grizzly Peak is a fairly quick but challenging hike in Alberta

If you truly are looking for a short and difficult hike then Grizzly Peak is a good option as the total hike only is 5.6 km return but the elevation gain is almost 1000 meters. So it’s basically a steep incline the whole way up and a steep decline the whole way down. A fantastic workout if you’re looking for that! Short and sweet 😉

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grizzlypeak-red-white-adventures
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It’s a pretty straight forward hike in terms of finding the trail. Once you’re on it you will basically just keep climbing up. Your calves will feel it almost instantly. Just make sure you remember some landmarks for the return journey or else you may end up following one of the wrong trails back. There are a lot of animal paths so it’s easy to get confused!

We ended up on one of the animal paths which added an extra hour (and a pretty scared Jo) to our trip. We ended up having to scramble quite a bit which honestly wasn’t that fun. At that point you’re exhausted and just want to get down. So really, take your time and make sure you’re on the right trail back down.

If you want a longer challenging hike in the Kananaskis area, check out Wasootch Ridge! And if you’re looking for hikes in the Nordegg area you might want to try out Vision Quest!

Practical information about Grizzly Peak

Distance: 5.6 km return / 3.4 miles return
Elevation: 875 m / 2870 ft. elevation gain
Type: Out and back
Length: 3.5 – 5.5 hours return
Difficulty: Hard
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Here’s a map of the beginning of the trail

Here’s a picture of the beginning of the trail

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Grizzly Peak Trail Guide

On your way up, the first half is quite the battle since it’s so steep. But once you get past that first half of steady incline and scrambling a little bit, you will find yourself in this stunning meadow that is sometimes covered in wildflowers.

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We would have taken a break there and enjoyed the view for a while but it was just way to windy, which tends to happen quite often when you’re hiking in the Kananaskis area. Who knows? You may be lucky enough to be able to stop there and enjoy a nice lunch before hiking up the last bit to the summit! 

After the meadow, you will make your final push to the peak where you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the region. You’ll end up probably sharing your epic accomplishment with some of the chipmunks who are always hanging around the summit. 

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Enjoy the views from the summit and feel free to share your views with us once you are done! We love seeing other people conquering the same hikes as us. So please share your climbs!

Give yourself about 4-5 hours to complete the hike. You’re probably thinking to yourself,  since it’s so short, that you’ll be down way sooner but you will want to take breaks and enjoy the views at the top. You may also need to do some backtracking if you end up getting lost. So to be safe you should give yourself about 4-5 hours to complete Grizzly Peak, one of Alberta’s challenging day hikes! 

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grizzlypeak-red-white-adventures
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How to get there

From Calgary

  1. Take Trans Canada Highway from Calgary towards Canmore.
  2. Take Exit 118 towards Kananaskis.
  3. Turn left and stay on Kananaskis Trail / AB 40 for 48km.
  4. Pull a U turn if it’s doable and park the car on the side of the road in the grass. Other cars may already be parked there depending on what time you get there.
  5. It should be just right pass the Ripple Rock Creek.
  6. In about 25 meters of walking you should see where the hike begins and from there you start your incline!
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From Edmonton

  1. Take Highway 2 south from Edmonton down towards Calgary.
  2. Then turn east onto Stoney Trail NW/ Highway 201.
  3. Then you will follow directions 3,4,5,6 from Calgary.

Before you go

The first thing you should do before you go is to check if the trail is open and if there are any warnings on it. Also if you go early enough you can stop at the Peter Lougheed Information center and just see if there is any wildlife in the area that you should look out for. They will also give you other recommendations if Grizzly Peak isn’t doable that day due to wildlife. 

We would also recommend you to tell someone about your plans, just in case something were to happen. Better safe than sorry! Especially since there is a good chance you will not have reception once you pass Kananaskis. Obviously you will be well-prepared but it’s always nice if at least someone knows you’re out hiking in the Albertan Rockies.

You can check the recent comments about the trail out here. Any information like wildlife, snow level, all sorts of stuff will be posted on there and here.

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What to bring

This is a tough hike so try to bring enough of what you need and limit what you don’t need. It is a shorter hike but it does take some time to complete and the weather changes quickly in Kananaskis.

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So bring:

  • Definitely at least 1.5 liters of water. The area can get chilly and you might feel like you don’t get thirsty but bring some! 
  • Food. Enjoy your lunch while hanging out with the chipmunks.
  • Sunscreen if it’s sunny out! The hike is very open and on a hot summer day you can fry up there.
  • Bear spray! Duh, you’re in bear country! 
  • Warm clothes if it’s cold! Remember that the weather can change quickly. When we got up in the meadow it seriously felt like we were going to fly away because it was so windy! Don’t let the sun fool you. Go prepared!
  • A music player (to keep bears and other wildlife away).
  • Walking sticks might come in handy.
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Other useful info

  • Remember to look out for the animal paths – both so you can find your way back down after you’ve conquered the mountain, and so maybe you can spot some wildlife!
  • Also if you’re looking for something a little bit easier in the area then definitely check out Chester Lake Trail.
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We hope you enjoy this hike as much as we did! Enjoy and stay safe out there!

Have fun!

Dom & Jo

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2 thoughts on “Quick and challenging day hike in Alberta – Grizzly Peak

    1. Hey Kat,

      Most people are but it’s so rare to see one up close while hiking! Much more enjoyable to see them in the forest while you’re driving by safely in your car! 🙂
      – Dom

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