@Donna Thank you.I cycled up the pass from the Longview side in June but this was the first time for me that I did the full loop. Oh , when I read this I’m sad we missed it! Just spectacular scenery! Highwood Pass is the highest paved pass in Canada. Closed to cars December 1 to June 15 every year, but stunning when it's open It's the highest paved road in Canada, and it brings you pretty close to the treeline without having to get out of your car. It continues on to Longview and Highway 20, the "Cowboy Trail," where you can get back to Calgary via a variety of routes. Start in Cochrane and head west to Highway 40. This drive was recommended by a friend and it did not disappoint. If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu. Those roads dwarfed by snowy mountains look so beautiful. Actually all of them are. @Carole Fortunately sunrise at 8 AM is a whole lot easier to catch. These commissions help reduce the ever-increasing costs of keeping this site active. There are excellent trails on each side of the highway, but even if you just park the car and look around, the views are out of this. The road generally flattens once you reach the Kananaskis Valley. The pass is closed each year from December to June 15 to protect wildlife. Hope you had a great day. Hikes range from short, easy family-friendly outings like Arethusa Cirque or Ptarmigan Cirque to full day affairs. Upon entering Kananaskis Country it becomes Highway 40. Kananaskis River with Mount Kidd in background. It's an incredible drive. Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta, I've been collecting beverage containers since my university days, first as a method of funding…, If you drive the Icefields Parkway you pass the turnoff for the Parker Ridge trail.…, I celebrated my birthday one year by taking the day off and heading with John…. There is excellent hiking off of Highwood Pass. As always, the color in your photos jumps out. You can actually just show up and pay for the food after about 3 PM and then continue on your way. But you'll want to get out of your car, as the scenery is gorgeous. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. The Highwood Pass Loop is one of the most varied and scenic one day drives in Canada. @Johanna I probably missed the prime viewing time by a few weeks. parking area at the trailhead. Wow; simply WOW!!! @Ellie It’s not head east but this drive is described starting from the east on the Cowboy Highway. The road to the Highwood Pass, the highest paved road in Canada, topping out at 2,206 metres, is only open seasonally. It is grand country isn’t it. […] Read: The Highwood Pass Loop – One of Canada’s Best Drives  […], Your email address will not be published. But you could do it in three or four hours as just a scenic drive. Thanks for sharing it. I’m also in the water sampling business but on the equipment side – Waterra Pumps Ltd. Maybe you’ve heard of us. My store contains affiliate links. Don’t you mean “west”? Highwood Pass is the highest paved pass in Canada. @Shelley Thank you – and hope you get the chance to drive it one day. The Pocaterra ridge walk in larch season in September is one of the more spectacular hikes in the Rockies. Learn how your comment data is processed. You say, from Longview one heads east on Highway 541. @Irene The good thing about this drive over the weekend is that traffic was minimal so it was super easy to pull over an get shots. It must have been hard not to keep stopping to take pictures. There was still snow off the road near the summit and was late June. Our group was doing a photography tour just for the fun of it – so the plan was to stop along Highway 40 where photographic opportunities presented themselves. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada. I hope I meet you on Canadian soil one day. Thanks for reading! to get a picture) deer and many rocky mountain sheep including babies. I said Wow a lot with many of these beautiful photos but those sunrise shots were just breathtaking. It lies within the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Few cars were driving the road, though groups of motorcyclists were out enjoying the good weather. Your photos are beautiful. NOTE: The highway does not open until June 15, but in the weeks prior, the roads are generally clear of snow, and the highway and pass then become one of the regions premier cycling routes. : ). This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. I got goose pimples just looking at your photos. This driving loop can take a full day with stops and activities such as hiking or scrambling or even having a picnic. Highway 40, which is mostly paved with some gravel sections, is closed for the winter from December to mid-June. My favourite section of the drive is the 15 kilometres on either side of Highwood Pass. Usually you need to reserve a time. It must be hard for a driver to concentrate on the road with views like that! But you'll want to get out of your car, as the scenery is gorgeous. We did the loop today. The animals both wild and livestock were right in the middle of the road. The road to Highwood Pass was closed in 2013  though fortunately the road was fixed by 2014. @Betsy I certainly had help from Mother Nature with colours jumping out. For people on a budget check out the Kananaskis Wilderness Hostel. It’s a glorious area and especially wonderful as you can cover a lot in a day. This post includes some affiliate links. more, Commonly searched for in Kananaskis Country, Is this a place or activity you would suggest for, Are the prices for this place or activity, Is this attraction a good place to visit on a, Is this a must-do if you are traveling with a, Is this a romantic place or activity that you would suggest for, Day Trip through the Highwood Pass in Alberta, Departing from Calgary, our day began with breakfast in Turner Valley at the Red Barn. I also enjoyed Blue Rock, west of Turner Valley. Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, Original Historic Bragg Creek Trading Post, Experience The Cowboy Trail Travel Guide Publication. Kananaskis Trail runs through the pass, and offers access to a multitude of camping grounds and recreational areas. Beautiful pictures. Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures, How to Recycle Your Beverage Containers & deliver #ChangeThatCounts in Alberta, The Parker Ridge Trail, Banff National Park, 15 of the Best Road Trips in Canada - Hike Bike Travel, The Elk Lakes – Petain Basin Hike in British Columbia, What to Do in Kootenay National Park in Winter, Bow Valley Provincial Park – A Year Round Destination. Do watch out for them on your drive. A spectacular part of Kananaskis Country - the highest paved road in Canada! A night here includes three meals and a fabulous afternoon charcuterie board. Otherwise continue to Canmore, Banff or Calgary where there are loads of accommodation options. Drop dead gorgeous colors and beauty! Then the hills would have been awash in colour and even prettier. The pass is closed each year from December to June 15 to protect wildlife. Thank you for that tip. My consulting company will use this route to teach the next generation of water quality sampling students. @Marisol The hiking at Ptarmigan Cirque should be fine because it’s a busier area. Gas up if you start in Longview and bring water and food so you can stop and have a picnic along the way. It passes through the entire stretch of Kananaskis Country, crosses Highwood Pass, and heads to Highwood Junction, where the road turns into Highway 541. Closed to cars December 1 to June 15 every year, but stunning when it's open, It's the highest paved road in Canada, and it brings you pretty close to the treeline without having to get out of your car. On our recent drive through, we stopped at one of the shorter trails, just to see what kind of wildflowers were about. It can easily be done as a day trip from Calgary, Canmore or Banff and it doesn’t matter what direction you drive it. There is a hotel at the ski resort (see below) so you can nip in there for some food, though your best bet is to pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it at one of the scenic picnic areas in the Highwood Pass area. There are many alpine and valley hiking areas during summer and fall months. This sounds like a beautiful region, I love multi-coloured mountains. From Longview, where you’ll find big ranches and some producing oil wells, one heads west on Highway 541. We saw a black bear (I wasn't able. That sunrise is magical and the landscape is just divine. I loved your photos but looking across the fields to the mountains in Kananaskis Country was particularly inspiring. Extensive hiking, an RV park, campgrounds and the Nakiska Ski Resort are all located along this section of road. The cattle beside and on the road were interesting to see, although encouraged us to drive quite carefully. From June 15 - Dec 15, it is the highest paved road in Canada, from Dec. 15 - Jun 15, it is the highest paved road in Canada with a great big GATE across each end of it. You don’t have many choices for an overnight stay but the ones you have are superb. Last year we saw mama bear and three cubs on the way to do the Ptarmigan Cirque hike. Its well marked. I was meeting a group at 8 AM at the junction of Highway 541 and Highway 22 – also called the Cowboy Trail. One day I will get there though. Your photos are breathtaking! Once you are on top of the pass and you start driving downhill towards the southeast, and into Longview. 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