Kananaskis Country is multi-use region just west of Calgary, south of Canmore, regulated by the Province of Alberta, with the primary use being recreation. Kananaskis Country has legally defined boundaries, mostly defined by compilation of provincial parks, provincial recreation areas and other designations. Generally, the region is south of the Trans-Canada Highway in the Bow River valley, south of the Town of Canmore, from the Continental Divide to the foothills, south to Highwood River drainage.
In 1902 parts of Kananaskis Country were included in the Rocky Mountain National Park (now Banff National Park), but this land was removed in 1911 and turn over to the Government of Alberta in 1930. In the early 1970’s public pressure over concerns of environment management and wildland conservation lead to the creation of Kananaskis Country and Kananaskis Provincial Park (now Peter Lougheed Provincial Park) in 1978.
Since 1978 the region has gained more land area than the original boundaries for wildlife and habitat protection, but still allows managed industrial uses like logging and intensive recreational uses like golf courses in many areas. Kananaskis Country now contains 6 Provincial Parks, 4 Wildland Provincial Parks, 39 Provincial Recreation Areas and one Ecological Reserve.
The region includes eleven official mountain subranges/groups, but there is some overlap between ranges and groups; the Joffre Group (French Military Group), the Spray Range (British Military Group), the Kananaskis Range, the Goat Range, the Opal Range, the Fisher Range, the Misty Range, the Elk Range, the Highwood Range, the High Rock Range and the Livingstone Range. There are only two summits over 11,000 feet (3353 metres) and 22 officially named summits over 10,000 feet (3048 metres).
| Mount Joffre
3450 metres (11,318 ft.)
The king of Kananaskis. Highest summit between the 49th parallel (US border) and Banff National Park. Of the 54 11,000’ers in the Canadian Rockies, Joffre is in the middle ranked 25/26, same official elevation as Mt. Andromeda (Jasper National Park). Beautiful north glacier and a moderate alpine climb, becoming more and more popular as a ski/board descent.
| Mount Sir Douglas
3406 metres (11,174 ft.)
The king of the Haig Glaicer. Second highest summit in Kananaskis and one of the only two 11,000'ers in K-country. Beautiful peak with an interesting variety of challenging climbing routes.
3234 metres (10,611 ft.)
Second highest summit along the Haig Glacier. This peak has significant glaciers on three sides, with only the northern fringes free of ice. A substantial northern outlier reaches 3185 metres (“Prairie Lookout”) and can provide an interesting additional highpoint on a traverse.
| Mount Rae
3218 metres (10,558 ft.)
A front range summit, but very close to the continental divide, this sharply rugged mountain has a diminutive glacier that seems to get smaller every season. A very popular scramble/hike with a short approach gives the standard route a high rock fall hazard. A long and serrated East/South-East ridge provides a remote and difficult alpine challenge.
3196 metres (10,486 ft.)
The recluse of the high glacier country. This attractive peak see little attention and likely has only had a handful of ascents. The large and significant Petain Glacier is named after this mammoth peak. Mount Petain shares its south col with Mount Joffre.
| Mount Robertson
3194 metres (10,479 ft.)
A sharp and pointy summit block with narrow summit ridges and striking outliers. Presents an eye-catching profile to the Robertson Glacier. Difficult summit to attain including a modern and demanding alpine rock route.
3194 metres (10,479 ft.)
A prominent mountain with a spectacularly beautiful North Face often viewed from the popular Kananaskis Lakes area. This summit is rarely reached and the line of the first ascent has had substantial glacier recession exposing loose rock and considerably increasing the difficulty of that route.
| Mount Galatea
3185 metres (10,449 ft.)
The tallest mountain in the Kananaskis Range. The surrounding valleys provide scenic trails and easy access to this impressive peak. A popular difficult scramble that many scramblers consider their first "hard" peak.
3174 metres (10,413 ft.)
Similar to its neighbour, Mt. Foch, the North and East Faces of Mt. Sarrail provides a beautiful backdrop to the stunning Kananaskis Lakes. A long, but scenic approach to the western side provides access to the easy hike up the West Ridge.
3155 metres (10,351 ft.)
Although very visible to the busy backcountry road, the Smith-Dorrien road, this peak is rarely ascended. The North Face is incredibly steep and rises abruptly from Murray Creek. Very remote, the much tamer, but incredibly slabby south and west slopes and ridges provide a less demanding ascent.
Kananaskis Country is an Albertan title and thus all east of the continental divide. Several mountain ranges extend into the province of British Columbia since the valley bottoms define the range boundaries. Mount Nivelle is a significant mountain, shares a col with Mount Joffre, and is within the Joffre Range, but is entirely in British Columbia. This summit reaches 3256m (10,683 ft.) and is only 3 km outside of Alberta, if considered within K-country, it would be the third highest summit.
“Prairie Lookout” is an outlier of Mt. French and reaches an impressive 3185m, ranking eighth highest (shared with Mt. Galatea). This name is unofficial and there is only 105 metres (345 ft.) of prominence from the low col shared with Mt. French.