Mt. Allan Overview
The central high point of "Centennial Ridge", Mount Allan is an easy hike/scramble from the north via parking above Dead Mans Flats or from the south starting at the Ribbon Creek Day use parking near the "Nakiska" Ski area. My preference would be from the south due to the fine views almost all the way to the top. The northern approach requires a long walk through a forested area blocking most of the view till you break out above the tree line. This is a peak that I, like others I know, have ignored due to its proximity to the ski resort. It is funny how putting a ski area near any peak somehow dimishes its importance or value.
In this case it is a mistake as the peak is well back from any view of the ski area and the views on route and on the summit are exceptional.
Peaks in view are Mount Kidd, South Kidd, Mount Loughheed, Sparrowhawk, Windtower, the Wedge among many others and is well worth the effort.
Mount Allan was named after Dr. John Andrew Allan (1884-1956) who for thirty-seven years was the head of the Department of Geology at the University of Alberta. The Stoney Indians of the area called it Chdse Tida Baha
(Burnt Timber Hill). The Nakiska Ski Hill was the site for the 15th Winter Olympic downhill event in 1988.
From Calgary for the southern approach take the Trans-Canada Highway west till you reach thr Highway 40 or Kananaskis trail. Head south on this till you reach the signed turn to the right for the Nakiska Ski area. Follow this paved road till you see signs for the Ribbon Creek Day use parking. The trailhead is north out of the parking starting next to the sheltered bulletin board. The map on this board is not very helpful being too vague as to where you actually are. Follow a sign (which is almost like a joke) called Hidden Trail (not mentioned on any map). 100 yards on there is a proper sign showing that you are one the Centennial Ridge trail. From this point on you cannot go wrong. The route while easy is a pretty stready uphill one. Once you gain the ridge proper your pace will depend on the snow coverage. Follow the ridge north towards Mount Allan. The route is decieving. A lot farther than it looks. Round trip with some time alloted for a lunch break and brief snacks can take upwards of 9 hours. Take lots of water.
From Calgary for the Northern approach take the the Trans-Canads highway till the cut-off for Dead Mans Flats. Follow the signs for the day use parking and from the parking west to the signed Centennial Ridge trail. Follow this south.
From either approach the trail is closed from April 1st till June 21st. This is to prevent disturbing the mountain goats during breeding season. Other than this there is no red tape.
Spray Lakes West Shore Campground has 50 sites (403) 591-7226
Barrier Lake Visitor Centre 403-678-0760
Spray Lake Ranger Station. (403) 678-5533
Alberta Tourist Visitor Centre (403) 678-5277
The Alpine Club of Canada (403) 678-3200, ext 1
or (403) 762-2088 for weather conditions
Alpine Club of Canada
Joining a club such as The Alpine Club of Canada is recommended when climbing in Canada. While it is not obligatory, useful information can be had at any of their Clubhouse in Canmore, or at their website which is open to everyone. Needing a base. The proximity of Canmore to Dead Man Flats makes the ACC club house a good inexpensive place to stay if you are planning mulitple trips in the area.
Staying at the club in Canmore is 21$ Canadian for members and 29$ for non-members. It can get quite crowded in the summer so a reservation is recommended.