West Wind Pass - A classic

Summer can often be late in the Rockies – This year is no exception with the significant amount of snow. Early summer temperatures can be cold, especially when you are at elevation. It is not surprising to find snow higher on the trails or at the summit even in June or July; some people even still practice ski touring! The majority of my favourite trails are dry later in the summer. This is a great early season option, one of my favourite, The West Wind Pass.

Here are 3 reasons why West Wind Pass is one of my classics!


The West Wind Pass Trail is located about 40 minutes drive from Canmore in the Kananaskis Provincial Park. It's a perfect place after a workday mid week or for a hike/ trail run to watch the sunset, as it doesn't take too long to get there. I like to do this hike later in the day and finish with a picnic at the Drift Wood rest area located before the trailhead parking lot. Make sure you bring a second layer of clothing as the evenings next to the reservoir can be cool.


West Wind Pass is a relatively easy trail, not very technical and also quite easy to navigate. The trail to the summit of the pass is 5 km return with 380 meters of elevation. For those who wish to continue there is always the option to hike up to Wind Tower. This trail is often considered to be accessible to everyone, including children. As you are in bear territory, it is not uncommon to spot bears there. Always bring a bear spray, moreover it is recommended to make noise on the trails (so don't be shy to speak loud!). Please note that there is no cell phone service at the parking lot but there is a bit at the top of the pass.


This hike requires moderate effort, the ratio between effort and reward at the top of the summit is definitely to your advantage. The view of Spray Lakes is breathtaking and you can even see the other side of the valley at the top of the pass! Usually you have to hike much longer trails to access this kind of landscape!

There is a reason why this hike is called West Wind Pass, as you find yourself in the middle of the two peaks Wind Tower and Rimwall this creates a funnel effect which can bring very strong winds to the top. So make sure you have a jacket and hold your cap tightly!


To conclude, we often try to find reasons not to go out; it’s too cold, not good enough weather, we’re tired, it’s the middle of the week… At the end of the day it’s always worth getting some fresh air, especially when the daylight is long like right now. It's always good to get out of our routine and especially when we have the right pieces of clothing to protect us from the wind and cold even in July! 

Author: Marie-Eve @miniuii

Photo credit: Raphaël Couturier @homesweetcanmore