Outdoor Report: Mountain hikes for those short on time
For avid hikers on a deadline, Memorial Lakes provide a calming, raw mountain experience
Clearing your head with the clean mountain air is possible on a tight timeline, if you know where to look.
For this week's Outdoor Report, Paul Karchut of the Calgary Eyeopener took an hour drive out of Calgary to explore a trio of little mountain lakes just behind the Nakiska ski area.
Jamie Carpenter guided Karchut on the hike to Memorial Lakes, so named after 13 people died in the summer of 1986 in three plane crashes. The final lake is now home to a cairn at the edge of the water listing all of the victims.
The site isn't an official Alberta Parks trail, so there are no signs to guide you. Nonetheless, the trail offers that raw mountain experience — and you can still get back home for your evening obligations.
"It's so close to the city," Carpenter told the Calgary Eyeopener.
"This is probably the most adventurous trail in the area. It's a narrower trail, a bit rougher, rootier, rockier... It does really go into some beautiful alpine terrain."
Start at the Ribbon Creek trailhead on the way to Nakiska, then hike 3.5 kilometres up the official trial before branching off to Memorial Lakes.
The 15-kilometre trail gets more primitive, with parts washed out. You may wish to bring a guidebook.
"I think this should be on anyone's checklist if you're an avid hiker, have a few other hikes under your belt, are OK with a bit of route finding, have the fitness to actually make it to this third lake," Carpenter said.
You'll pass waterfalls and mountain views on your way to the three lakes, the last of which still has snow and is surrounded by big, dramatic peaks with a view of the valley.
With files from the Calgary Eyeopener