Windtower via West Wind Pass is a must if you are hiking in the Canadian Rockies. Located in the Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park (Kananaskis Country), this 2688 meter high mountain offers a magnificent panorama of the Spray Lakes Reservoir and surrounding summits. The climb is stenenous but the summit views are worth the effort. Be aware! Windtower earned its name, the wind can be very strong at the top. So, follow along and get ready to summit this unforgettable mountain.
Getting to Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park
Pocaterra Ridge Hike Parking Access: https://goo.gl/maps/ptK6mPq2ubPqe1f9A
From Calgary: 125 km – 1h45 driving time
Take the Trans-Canada hwy AB-1 West toward Banff until the 93 exit toward Canmore. Cross the bridge over the highway and turn right on Three Sister Parkway, towards Canmore Nordic Center. Follow this road until you reach the Rundle Forebay Reservoir. The road will then turn into gravel and will climb to reach the magnificent Spray Lake Valley. You will need to follow this road for approximately 18km until you reach the starting point of the hike, located on the left side of the road.
To enjoy your hike, you must:
Be Equipped: Hiking boots are a necessity. A steep section of the hike (easy scramble) requires ankle protection. Hiking poles are also recommended on your way down. Grizzlies are usually present in the area, therefore bear spray should be easily accessible in the case of unexpected encounters. Finally, always bring water and food in sufficient quantities.
Parking: There is a parking lot on the Lake side of the road. There is also the option to park alongside the edge of the road.
Information: Access to Kananaskis Country is not free. You will need to register your vehicle(s) online on the Kananaskis park website and purchase a daily or annual pass. Note that the fees are per vehicle and not per hiker, so carpooling is an option. Be mindful of the forecast and visit the park’s website before your hike to find up to date information such as last seen wildlife, trail conditions, etc.
This hike climbs from start to finish, so be sure to pace yourself! Starting in the forest, there will be several exposed sections on the trail to see the Spray Lake Reservoir. After 2km (1.3 mi), you will reach the tree line that will open up a far-reaching view that will only enhance as you climb. The first stop is the West Wind Pass that is located between Wintower (on the right) and Rimwall (2700m) on the left. The wind is already quite powerful at this point, make sure to bring additional clothing to keep warm.
Windtower, 2688 meters high mountain located in the Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park (Kananaskis Country) offers a magnificent panorama of the Spray Lakes Reservoir!
Continue on the same trail now veering right, toward Windtower. Some trail sections are not well indicated. If you find yourself climbing steep rocky sections, you have deviated from the trail. The right path should not involve serious scrambling. When in doubt, use a GPS. After approximately 1.8km (1.15mi), the final ascent will begin. It is in a scree area but this trail is well marked. Although steep, this is an easy scramble. You should reach the top after one last kilometer (0.6 mi), having climbed around 1000 meters (from the road). The summit view is absolutely gorgeous, with a 360 degree view on the Bow Valley Provincial Park and the Spray Lakes Reservoir.
Be aware! Windtower earned its name, the wind can be very strong at the top.
Use the same path to return to your car. This time, you will be descending the summit with a panoramic view of the valley. Nothing too difficult, but take your time in the steeper sections.
Approximately 10.3 km (6.4 miles)
2688 meters / 8819 feet
Around 1010 meters / 3306 feet
See on Caltopo (detailed)
See on Google Maps (basic)
Weather forecast: https://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Windtower/forecasts/2697
Download GPX: https://www.cnotremonde.com/gpx/Windtower-AB-cestnotremonde.gpx