If you’re looking for a hike with early rewards, Wasootch Ridge is the trail for you (it’s pet friendly, too!).
Wasootch Ridge is classified as an intermediate hike as it begins fairly steep for a few kilometres. The views appear almost instantly and you can admire gorgeous vistas for the rest of the hike once you hit the top of the ridge where the trail levels out.
This hike gives you the luxury to choose how long you want to spend on the trail. It can be anywhere from about a 3-hour day to a full day, depending on how far along the ridge you travel. We recommend sturdy runners or proper hiking shoes so you don’t go slip-sliding down the mountain.
To get to the trailhead from Kananaskis Village, head out to Highway 40 (Kananaskis Trail) and go north toward the Trans-Canada Highway. About 10 minutes down the road you’ll see a blue sign that says Wasootch with a picnic bench symbol on it, pointing to the trailhead parking lot.
After you’ve parked, locate the picnic benches. There are multiple trails that start behind the benches; all are steep and head to the same spot. Choose whichever suits your fancy and start hiking! As soon as you clear the treeline, you’ll be surrounded by mountain peaks and (hopefully) blue sky. (Note: there is a trail at the parking lot that goes down into the Wasootch Creek bed, which is an easy hiking option, but it does not lead to Wasootch Ridge).
Once on the ridge, follow the path for as long as you want but make sure to pick a high point with nice views to stop for lunch. There is a rock cairn that marks the end of the official trail and if you want to go further you must be prepared to do some scrambling. Most people do not go this far as there is no need because the views are already spectacular at earlier points.
The trail is well traveled and obvious in most places;I have yet to hear of anyone getting lost (please don’t be the first!). It is a rolling path with about 650m elevation gain. There are multiple ‘summits’ along the ridge, and you can choose to turn back once you feel you’ve had your fill of mountain scenery.
If it has rained during or before your hike, prepare to get muddy. The ridge is pretty exposed, so keep the weather in mind as there is little to no cover. Bring sunscreen and lots of water on a hot day, and rain gear if it looks like you might get wet.