Hiking Centennial Ridge (Short Version)

by - Thursday, July 27, 2017

Centennial Ridge is a beautiful hike in Kananaskis Valley. Although it is known for being a long, demanding trail - it is the highest maintained trail in the Canadian Rockies - there is no need to summit Mount Allen to enjoy gorgeous views (but it is definitely worthwhile if you have the time and energy)! Departing from Ribbon Creek, you reach meadows full of wildflowers in only 3 steep kilometres. Hike as far as you wish, enjoy sweeping views of Kananaskis Valley, then go back the way you came. Treat yourself to ice cream or dinner at nearby Kananaskis Village afterwards.

Route Description

Take Hidden Trail from Ribbon Creek parking lot.  After 300 metres, turn left onto Coal Mine. Follow Coal Mine for 700 metres to the turn off to Centennial Ridge.

Turn off to Centennial Ridge
From here, the trail gets very steep! You will gain about 600 m over the next 2 kilometres, but it's totally worth it.

There is one lookout (a short ways off trail to the left) on the way up and once you leave treeline, it's all open meadows, but there's a nice, flat area perfect for a picnic. We call it "the 2nd lookout". We turned back here as an electrical storm was blowing in. Hike further if you wish, then return the way you came.

First lookout - short detour to the left of the trail, Centennial Ridge
First lookout on Centennial Ridge
The trail is well marked to our turnaround point, so no route finding is required. Enjoy the trail and wildflowers!

Indian paintbrush on Centennial Ridge
Centennial Ridge Trail
Just below the 2nd lookout, Centennial Ridge Trail
2nd Lookout on Centennial Ridge Trail
Heading back into the aspens to descend. Tons of Indian paintbrush!

Centennial Ridge at a Glance (Short Version)

Distance to lookout: 6.4 km return (complete trail is 16.4 km, 1335 m elevation gain round trip and includes summitting Mount Allen)
Elevation Gain: 680 m
Washrooms: Pit toilets at Ribbon Creek parking lot
Stroller Friendly: No

Centennial Ridge Short Version Map
Map Credit: Google Maps
Going Further: If you continue another 3-4 km, you reach the "rock garden", a grouping of large, conglomerate rocks and some cool pinnacles. Beyond the rock garden is the summit of Mount Allen.

View from the 2nd lookout on Centennial Ridge Trail

Know Before You Go

You are in bear country! Carry bear spray, travel in a group, and make noise to alert bears of your presence. For more bear safety tips, please see this story.

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Where to Stay

Ribbon Creek Hostel and Delta Kananaskis Lodge are your closest options. Check out our experience at the Kananaskis Lodge here.

The nearest campground is Mount Kidd RV Park. There is also great camping in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park about 40 minutes away. For more information, please see my complete Peter Lougheed Provincial Park Camping & Recreation Guide

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