Added by James Hueser
Gypsum Ridge is a very achievable objective whether you're snowshoeing or skiing in the middle of winter. It's situated in the perfect spot to give you a unique perspective of Lower Kananaskis Lake and peaks surrounding it.
If you have a topographic map of Kananaskis Lakes, the trailhead is just to the east of Blackshale Creek. If you don't have a topographic map of the area, the Google Maps pin on this adventure will help you get there --- you'll see a pretty large opening on the south side of the road. Luckily, that's the hardest part about this trail.
This trail is used enough during the winter that you'll likely have no problem finding it and following it. One thing to take note of is you'll intersect a road at some point - after the slog up the hill once you cross over the creek. Follow the road west for only a hundred metres or so, not very long at all. Keep your eyes open for a trail jutting up the slope on the south side of the road.
From there, it's a series of switchbacks to the top. I was pretty shocked when I got to the top of the ridge - the winds were howling which provided some drama on the peaks to the south. The sun was still shining and creating some gorgeous sun rays through the blowing snow. It was a great opportunity to take a timelapse, but I chose to be present in the moment instead and enjoy the show - it was a good choice.
You'll notice once you get to the highest point of the ridge that there's still a bit of the ridge to the east - I highly suggest you make the extra 5 minute walk as that's where the best views are. The steepness of the slope, the small size of the outcrop, and the thinned out trees give the illusion that the point is very exposed, but it's not. It's a great place to take a nice long lunch break before heading back down the way you came.
- Hiking boots
- Hiking poles
- Winter layers
- Water and snacks
- Bear spray
- Avalanche report - not likely a real issue on this hike, but always good to check
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Added by James Hueser
On weekdays I'm a hydrogeologist for a contaminated sites group which involves a ton of fieldwork throughout the spring, summer, and fall, but leaves most of my weekends to get out to (and hopefully on top of) the Rockies. I'm originally from Saskatchewan, so I've become rather obsessed with bagging peaks ever since I moved to Calgary in 2014.Follow
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