Powderface Ridge

- 17 km Loop
- Difficult
- Approx 3.5 hrs



Powderface Ridge

trail image 1 Access: Hwy 66
Parking: End of Hwy 66
NOTE: The highway west of Elbow Falls is closed Dec 1 to May 15.

Trail: 17 km Loop, Approx 3.5 hrs, Difficult

* Powderface Road is closed to vehicle traffic in 2015. The anticipated opening is May 2016.

History: Named in 1949 after Tom Powderface of Stoney First Nations descent, who resided in the Bragg Creek area.

Powderface Ridge is my favorite Mtn Bike trail in Kananaskis. It offers up some amazing vistas as all these ridge runs do, but I admire it's uncompromising intensity as you feel challenged at every turn, whether it be the relentless uphill pitches that seem to come one after the other, or the perilous downhill delivery much like that of being catapulted down the mountain. With this trail you earn your Hardcore badge of honor, one you can wear with pride.

trail img 2 It starts innocently enough on the gravel road that is Powderface Trail (also named after Tom Powderface) where you might notice a very steep trail coming out of the woods just above the spot where hwy 66 ends, and yes, that is the Finish. For 7 km's it's about as exciting as a gravel road can get, but it's a small price to pay for what lay ahead. From the trailhead it's 2.7 km's of gruelling uphill to the Pass and the junction with Powderface Creek which breaks east and runs all the way to Hwy 66 (this is part of the Powderface - Prairie Creek Loop).

Keep right at the Pass and you're on the Powderface Ridge Trail where another 45 minutes of push 'n pedal through rocky meadows takes you to the ridge's summit. Here you can soak up the impressive expanse of mountainous skyline all around you, with Nihahi Ridge featured prominently to the west amidst the sprawl of peaks further south that include Cornwall, Bluerock, Cougar, Burns and Forgetmenot ridge. From the summit you drop down on a trail to the left which traverses through dense forest descending to a col which is yet another in a series of spectacular sightseeing stops on this trail. Here you can get psyched up for the ensuing freefall on a slippery slope descending 500 meters in 3km, winding mercilessly through a pine forest slalom. If you haven't tuned your brakes in a while you can also refer to this last leg of the trip as suicide run.