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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-03-2020, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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Default Montane Traverse - Baden Powell of Canmore

Most hikers have heard of Vancouver North Shore Baden Powell (and if you haven't, here is detail report in several parts -- I might be partial, but IMHO every Canadian outdoors person should make an attempt at some point of their life to taste this iconic trail).

Geographic areas change but overall topography of terrain remains similar; trails that head straight up following drainages or ridgelines, and trails that traverse lower slopes horizontally from one end of the valley to the other. On north side of Bow Valley there is one such trail -- it is called Montane Traverse, and just like Baden Powell links Horseshoe Bay with Indian Arm, Montane links Harvey Heights with Cougar Canyon. It is mainly used by trail runners and mountain bikers, but it can also be hiked either as approach to other targets or on its own. It is also on sunny side & in December when most of the valley gets only a handful of hours of sunlight, north side has at least a couple more. I never hiked entire trail end-to-end & thought it was about time to do so. It is quite undemanding, but large parts were bare ice & it made me put on / take off microspikes several times. I started at Cougar (Lady Mac and Cougar Canyon are closed, it seems forever, but Montane is still open). Here are some pictures:


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[Lovely section of trail above residential area ~30 min past Cougar Canyon, traversing stand of bare aspen trees below Lady Mac]


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[Silvertip Golf Course Pond -- it is below Montane, but well worth a visit & I've been enjoying photography here for several years]


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[Section of trail above Silvertip Golf Course; soon it starts losing elevation and remains in shady forest till Stoneworks Drainage]


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[Crossing of Stoneworks drainage; if you turn up now, you end up in Stoneworks Canyon in ~30 min and then further along on scramble route of Charles Stewart SE (huge slog)]


Stoneworks is also strategic crossing; maybe a bit like Lynn Canyon on Baden Powell. Good trail runs down the drainage, it's called Johnny's Trail & it's been favorite of mine, very scenic eventually linking back with Douglas Fir ridge & Silvertip road. Soon there comes a junction; low branch is called "Meander Trail" & it descends to "Ridge Traverse" and eventually Harvey Heights. High branch continues traversing below Bald Eagle Peak (formerly "The Tit") to Tibbits Quarry. This can also be used as loop if returning the same way.


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[Crossing drainage below Bald Eagle Peak. It was so nice and sunny so I made me a nest & enjoyed lunch. It would be interesting trashing up this drainage though, then up forested climber right; one might intersect rugged ridge linking Lady Mac and Charles Stewart, or at least get high enough for some nice views]


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[Tibitts Quarry. Alcove climber trail climbs up here on left side of drainage & I had great scramble there this spring to "Tibitts Ridge" -- see this report]


Dropping down Tibitts trail now, soon I took a right to only bit of trail I've never seen before -- and it was spectacular! Great 20 min or so ridge traverse with open views south to Rundle Range and Banff area. It is apparently quite popular with Harvey Heights locals I presume, as there were several spots with wood chairs
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Eventually I looped down back to Tibitts trail; looking now at Daffern guidebook (Vol 3 orange, 4th edition) there is clear error as she claims this trail to be only 800 m but it was over 2km! Simple walk down to Harvey Heights residential and numb walk back along the highway ended the day. Here are some stats:
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1-way, Cougar to Harvey Heights: 8.8 km, +285m, -338m, 2:45. Detail report with GPS track here

Finally what are main differences between Montane Traverse and Baden Powell? BP is much longer (46km or so), and although there are Iron Man challenges that do it in a day, most people will hike it in parts; Montane however is much tamer with less than 10km end to end. Forest on BP is much, much nicer with all the old growth North Shore is famous for, but it does not have such sweeping views across Bow Valley Montane has. If you live in Bow Valley, you have most likely hiked (or ran or cycled) Montane; and if you visit, and have few hours to spare, it will be worth your time for undemanding but still scenic hike.
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Last edited by zeljkok; 01-05-2021 at 12:09 AM.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 12-03-2020, 10:16 PM
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These type of trails would be good for snowshoeing. Similarly, there is the Trans Canada Trail in Chilliwack Valley which stretches 50 km from Cultus Lake to Chilliwack Lake. I've hiked various parts of the trail. Some sections are in disrepair and basically user maintained. Unlike Baden Powell, almost all the trees are secondary growth after being logged. I plan to do a lot of snowshoeing.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-03-2020, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solo75 View Post
These type of trails would be good for snowshoeing. Similarly, there is the Trans Canada Trail in Chilliwack Valley which stretches 50 km from Cultus Lake to Chilliwack Lake. I've hiked various parts of the trail. Some sections are in disrepair and basically user maintained. Unlike Baden Powell, almost all the trees are secondary growth after being logged. I plan to do a lot of snowshoeing.

Thank you for comment. You probably wouldn't snowshoe Montane trail as it is on dry side of the valley & often near bare in winter. Even with snow it soon gets compacted soon enough by daily trail runner use.


There are TCT sections here too (not on Montane). Every now and then I run into familiar marker I got introduced first time on Cypress lower slopes on North Shore.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 12-04-2020, 09:54 PM
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Nice mountain views from that golf course!
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 12-11-2020, 02:05 PM
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Once again, Z, we got inspired to follow your lead. Taking note of your "numb walk" back, Great Divide Girl and I opted to drive out in two vehicles, drop one at Harvey Heights, and shuttle back to Cougar Creek to start. A couple inches of new snow led us to put the spikes on at the steep start, and we left them on the whole way. We shared the trail with a couple fat tire bikers and the fresh show showed a variety of animal tracks. Clear skies and warmer temperatures than we'd expected meant we had a very pleasant hike. There was smoke haze low in the valley from brush clearing burning in Harvey Heights and elsewhere, and the ridge traverse with a bench was a great spot for a snack and some pictures. Thanks for the tip.

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(Thanks for the edit and photo info Z.)

Last edited by VicB; 12-11-2020 at 05:19 PM.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 12-11-2020, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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Glad it worked for you. "Numb walk" can be avoided by linking Ridge Traverse and Meander Trails back to Montane (near Stoneworks junction). Then either walk back same way to Cougar or take Johnny's Trail down to Cross Zee ranch or over Douglas bench to Benchlands. I was there just yesterday for my usual loop & ran into this guy, poor devil had left hind leg broken & I doubt he will survive the winter
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Sunset colors from Montane just above Silvertip were awesome
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Re pic orientation: header info (that tells whether pic should be in portrait or landscape mode) gets messed up with older camera or cell phones. To fix, you need to open photo in some image viewer on your computer then save before uploading; probably not worth the effort. I fixed the one with Great Divide Girl, it's a nice photo.
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