KC = Kananaskis Country Barrier Lookout - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-06-2021, 01:54 AM Thread Starter
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Default Barrier Lookout

It was early April '97. Moved to Calgary, with keen desire to explore. Daffern books (original edition I still have) were a blessing. Barrier Lake was close; only 45 min drive from NW Calgary I lived at a time. It was this view that kicked pendulum into motion and what seems now to be life-long love with K-country started
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I was nylon bag / runners kind of hiker then. Things have changed and although I have "graduated" to much more serious outings since, I always remember this little trail that rises to site of AB Forestry Lookout above Barrier Lake. It's been couple of years since I went up & with beauty of early spring day went for afternoon jaunt. It is much, much more busy now with couple of additional parking lots, people with dogs and strollers, etc crossing the dam, even if it was weekday. But crowds thinned and past McConnell Ridge viewpoint above I was on my own. Trail was very muddy lower, then slushy and finally that steep forested rise above McConnell Ridge solid frozen and even dangerous. It was iffy even with spikes; without I don't think I'd have made it. Lookout was deserted and enjoyed late afternoon bluebird for good 30 min before turning back.

Couple of pics:

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[Pano looking east to Barrier Lake and Foothills above steep part. Lookout is ~25min from here]

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[AB Forestry Lookout building. There is also helipad here. Super nice porch, but hikers are warned explicitly not to tresspass]

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[Baldy Mtn. zoom; I've climbed almost all peaks you can see here]

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[Pano from the lookout west towards Bow Valley and Banff National Park]

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[Pano from the lookout east towards Alberta Foothills. Calgary downtown skyline could also be seen]


For you BC guys, that are likely only ones reading this, this trail would compare to Elk above Chilliwack; similar in distance and elevation and you do it 100 times, but still go 101st. For me it was trip down memory lane and something I will try to return as long as I can.
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Last edited by zeljkok; 04-06-2021 at 03:26 PM.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 04-06-2021, 08:27 AM
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Very nice photos and TR.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 04-06-2021, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by zeljkok View Post
For you BC guys, that are likely only ones reading this, this trail would compare to Elk above Chilliwack; similar in distance and elevation and you do it 100 times, but still go 101st. For me it was trip down memory lane and something I will try to return as long as I can.
I'm not sure what is the exact elevation gain up Elk Mtn. Different sources give 640 m, 746 m, 802 m. I wonder why the discrepancies. The distance is 4 km one way so that gives a good aerobic workout. The differences between your hike and Elk is that you've got better views. One thing I despise is the many logged clear-cuts across the valley.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 04-06-2021, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by solo75 View Post
I'm not sure what is the exact elevation gain up Elk Mtn. Different sources give 640 m, 746 m, 802 m. I wonder why the discrepancies. The distance is 4 km one way so that gives a good aerobic workout. The differences between your hike and Elk is that you've got better views. One thing I despise is the many logged clear-cuts across the valley.

From memory Elk elevation was ~600m, but it's been awhile. Views are debatable; Barrier lookout has that lake and prairie view, but Elk has really good view across the valley to Canadian Border Peaks, Mt. Baker etc
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Return distance for Barrier is ~9km and ~640m, so it is comparable with Elk from that aspect too.


Agreed about logging; this is in general big scar when it comes to Coast hiking
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