OverviewKing Creek Ridge is a minor elevation ridge along the western edge of the main range of the Opal Range in Kananaskis Country. Despite its minor elevation this ridge provides a hike to some of the best views of the Opal Range and the southern Kananaskis River valley. The name is an official name, assumedly named since the valley east of the ridge is the source of the north branch of King Creek. There is no record of the first ascent, but given the straightforward ascent hike, it was likely quite some time ago. King Creek Ridge only links to another peak with one col, a col shared with Mt. Hood. There is 185 metres of prominence from this col (col elevation 2240m).
King Creek provides an excellent easy/moderate ice climbing, and recently, mixed route playground. The short approach, easy grades and long ice season provides a busy, but socialable winter climbing setting. The tight canyon provides the gateway to access many interesting and enjoyable alpine rock and scrambling routes along the western faces of several spectacular Opal peaks.
|Mt. Evan-Thomas||Mt. Blane||Mt. Packenham||Elpoca Mtn. (l) and upper King Creek (south branch)|
Getting ThereEasy highway access from Highway 40 along the western edge of the Opal Range provides the best approach. Highway 40 does provide access from the Trans Canada Highway in the north, and continues south to the Longview area, but the southern section is closed for wildlife protection from December 1 to June 15 each winter/spring. Best vehicle access from Canmore/Banff or Calgary is via the Trans Canada Highway, south along Highway 40.
Park in the King Creek parking lot, opposite the turn off for Kananaskis Lakes, approximately 50 km south of the Trans Canada Highway. To gain the South Ridge of King Creek Ridge you hike north along the highway, taking the bridge to cross King Creek, then take the obvious trail heading north of creek.
Red Tape / Camping and BivouacsThe parking area, the approach and all of the hiking on King Creek Ridge are located in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. No permit is required to park or climb in this park. This hike is short and a bivouac is not required. Random backcountry camping is not allowed in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and there are no nearby backcountry campgrounds; several excellent frontcountry campgrounds are nearby in the core area of Peter Lougheed Provincial Park at Kananaskis Lakes.
When to Hike
|Lots of sheep on ridge||Lots of Moms and Kids||Sheep enjoying the spring sun|
Route Descriptions- South Ridge
Once on the trail, it begins a steady and steep climb through the trees. Most of the trail is easily visible and well drained. The trail switchbacks up the treed slope, nearing the ridge line, a few minor rocks steps are easily tackled. Once on the ridge follow the well worn trail along the crest to the first highpoint. Head straight up the highpoint, the views start to even better. The next two highpoints, including the summit block, are easy to hike and present no real difficulties. From summit retrace your steps. Along the ridge crest there excellent views to the Opal Range and up and down the main Kananaskis Valley.
|Great trail in the trees||View to first high point||
On descent, view to two lower
|On ascent, view to final summit block|
- East Face, Alpine II, 5.3
ReferenceGillean Daffern's “Kananaskis Country Trail Guide - Volume 1: Kananaskis Valley - Kananaskis Lakes - Elk Lakes”. 4th Edition, 2012.
Kananaskis Country Trail Guide - Volume 1
Greg Cornell’s “An Underground Guide to Obsure Mountain Climbing in Eastern Kananaskis”. 1st Edition , 2004.