Overview & Route Description
This is likely the easiest hike/climb in all of Kananaskis and one of the most popular. During the warmer months, weekenders from Calgary and the surrounding area flock here looking to bag this smaller mountain. Looking at Old Baldy from Highway 40, it may seem possible to accend this mountain from the west because of it's close proximity to the road, but hours of bush wacking are envoled both on approach and on the majority of the slope which could easily drag out your climb and your day.
Instead smart hikers head further south on Highway 40 and start their trek at the Evan-Thomas parking area. Taking the Evan-Thomas will ensure that your day is less demanding than bush wacking up the western slope. The approach though long, leads through the thick logpole pine forest and ends at the base of the eastern slopes on the bands of a pristine alpine lake. The trail is wide and often travelled by horse. Most are folks from Boundry Ranch or others visiting the mountains from the many ranches in Alberta's foothills.
After leaving the Evan-Thomas trail the path thins into a unmaintained trail where horses rarely travel. A cairn marks the enterance of the trail that will lead you around the back of Baldy to the eastern slopes.
This trail starts with a moss filled forest and leads the way along MacDougall Creek. Many waterfalls accompany you on this journey. At the source of MacDougall Creek, you will find "Old Baldy Mountain" and Mt. MacDougall tower over a crystal clear lake that gives the hiker a more secluded feeling.
The eastern slopes are quite grassy and you may find yourself sliding abit on the way up. There is a small gully on the most northern aspect of these eastern slopes which will give you a more climbing feeling. Some scree awaits you in this gully.
Topping out on the summit ridge, hikers will see the open and large summit of Old Baldy. Views include Mt. Kidd, The Wedge, Fisher Peak, Bogart and most of the Kananaskis Valley.
Getting ThereAs for many of the hikes and climbs in the Kananaskis Valley you'll take the Trans Canada Hwy 1 West from Calgary, AB for a little over an hour. Around that time the Rockies get quite close. There will be a turnoff from the highway reading Hwy 40 South ( Kananaskis Trail ). Take this turnoff and head south (left).
Another 20 mins up the road you'll see the sign for Evan-Thomas Parking lot. Turn in and park to begin the hike. On the south side of the parking lot there is a trail leading into the woods. Take this trail for roughly a minute or two until you reach a "T" in the trail. Hanging a left here you'll be on the Evan-Thomas Trail. Roughly 45 min later another option presents itself in the trail. Take a left at this junction. 15 mins into this trail a small creek begins to run over the trail. Just before this creek there is a cairn marking the trailhead for Old Baldy.
After trekking through the forest and around the southern slopes of Old Baldy you arrive in the small valley behind Old Baldy. The creek still is running along the path here but later disappears underground, but a noticable creek bed remains.
As the valley opens up a avalance shoot becomes noticable which you will traverse over. The alpine lake that is tucked in behind while reveal itself. Stay to the left of this lake and look for a good place for you to accend the eastern slopes