Pigeon Mountain overlooks “Dead Man’s Flats” on the Trans Canada highway.
You can see this large mountain just past Mount McGillivray on the way to Canmore, Banff and Lake Louise. I have driven by it many times not knowing its name. It is not in the scrambles book. The South and South-east facings are quite imposing with crumbly steep slopes. The north and western approaches are more inviting for the scrambler or in this instance hiker. This peak is easily approached most times of the year. But the mountain is off-limits from December 1st till May-June
as it is a breeding ground for the mountain sheep of which there are many in the area.
The east face of Pigeon mountain, September, 2006.
Head West from Calgary (about 75 km) on the Trans-Canada Highway towards Canmore. You will see this peak ahead of you on the left as you pass “Val des Arcs the Heart Mountain exit. You must exit at Dead Man's Flats and cross over the Trans-Canada. Continue straight following signs for the Banff Gateway resort. When you reach this "resort" 2 minutes later the parking is on the right in the signed “Recreation Area”. Here are the trail-heads for Centennial ridge and West-Wind Pass among others. On a normal day other parked cars will point the way. You can also start a climb of Middle Sister here but this will makes it a longer walk. Follow the Trail for Confederation Ridge and take the first cutline on the left 100 metres down this route. There are signs up to this point.
Pigeon mountain, September, 2007.
Look out for bear & fire warnings and postings. For closures see the signage. Normally closed from December 1st. till May or June 1st. You could be fined up to 2,000$ or face 6 months in jail for non-observation of these rules. That is what is posted.
Other than these closures no other red tape for this day trip.
Camping, lodging and weather conditions
Spray Lakes West Shore Campground has 50 sites (403) 591-7226
Barrier Lake Visitor Centre 403-673-3985
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.