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Kananaskis area this time of year

Tempe, Arizona
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Kananaskis area this time of year

planning a trip late April into the first week of May for next year and I know options can be pretty limited going north towards the icefield/Jasper but what about Kananaskis this time of year? We are interested in getting out and exploring anywhere we can in the area, by car or short-medium length hikes (4 hours or so max) and we will not be feeling as if we need to cram everything in as the plan for now is to visit again later in early to mid Sept for the different options for another week or so. We are not downhill skiers, but we are also interested in seeing all options and are sort of putting everything on the table at this time to consider options, so maybe a day rental on the easy runs somewhere are still in the cards.

I am reading Moon's travel book for Canadian Rockies- but most information is for July-early Sept from what I am gathering so far.

Our home base for the April trip is east of Canmore at the Gate Mountain Resort in Dead Man Flats. Sept is TBD

thanks in advance for your input!

Calgary, Canada
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1. Re: Kananaskis area this time of year

The last day of operation for the Nakiska ski area in Kananaskis will be next Sunday, April 20th. That should give you an idea of what to expect, so far as hiking and the higher elevations are concerned. It would be a great place to go for early spring birdwatching (waterfowl, owls, hawk migration), but I wouldn't recommend it for hiking so early in the year.

Also, the gate on Hwy 40 next to Peter Lougheed Provincial Park is closed until June 15 every year (for protection of wildlife), limiting the amount of K-Country that you can hike in or even drive through for sightseeing. I think Banff would be a much better bet, but frankly I prefer to do my early-season hikes in Calgary and points east, such as Dinosaur Provincial Park (near Brooks), Fish Creek Provincial Park (Calgary), Nose Hill Park (Calgary), and Big Hill Springs Provincial Park and Cochrane Ranche Park near Cochrane.

Tempe, Arizona
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2. Re: Kananaskis area this time of year

I was just actually looking into Calgary- saw a couple of threads about the Provincial Parks to the east of there most of which you just mentioned. Will have to look into that more. I forgot about something I also read about a month ago about multiple areas being closed off for wildlife.

I knew going into the reservation for the week up there it would be a transition time weather-wise, but thought that it would also be pretty cool to see the comparison given the plan to return in the fall.

Obviously I'm in the very early planning stage here, but you've given me some good areas to explore. Thanks

Calgary, Canada
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3. Re: Kananaskis area this time of year

The nice thing about visiting the mountains in late April through to mid-June is that the snow is retreating up the mountainsides. This makes for very nice photos, as the lighter dusting of snow really shows the mountains' shapes.

Calgary, Canada
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4. Re: Kananaskis area this time of year

The resorts between Canmore and Banff as well as Lake Louise are generally open until early or mid-May, so those are also options for late season skiing.

You can certainly hike/scramble in the Canmore area in late April/early May, though what is accessible and safe depends on the year. This year there is still quite a bit of avalanche risk, but you can easily hike down near Banff/Canmore as long as you keep an eye on trail conditions. You just have to be prepared for some mud/ice and the possibility of the occasional flurry.

For your September trip, I'd recommend basing yourself closer to the mountains - i.e. Banff or Canmore so you have less driving to get to the hikes and tourist sites. Dead Man's Flats is just a very small strip of shops and hotels by the highway - no townsite with shops, restaurants or things to do. The resort is probably nice, but you won't be able to walk or take a short drive to anything else. You can access K country via Canmore and this Smith Dorrien Trail in the summer/early fall, so staying out in Dead Man's Flats is no closer.

5. Re: Kananaskis area this time of year

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6. Re: Kananaskis area this time of year

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