West Wind Pass At a Glance
Distance: 4.2 km
Elevation Gain: 380 m
Time: Allow 3 hours if hiking with kids
Nearest Washrooms: Driftwood Day Use Area
Stroller Friendly? No.
Geocaches: There are a few geocaches along the hike! Download and store cache data at home as there is no cell service on the trail.
Recommended age: 4 & up (Wear proper footwear so you don’t slip. It is short, but steep!)
Directions: From Canmore, get onto Spray Lakes Drive / Three Sisters Parkway / AB-742 (becomes Smith-Dorrien Trail). Continue on AB-742 (gravel road) for about 16 kilometres until you reach Driftwood Day Use Area. There are washrooms here if you need them. From here, set your odometer to zero and pull over 1.6 km past Driftwood Day Use. Park on the side of the road. The trail starts on the north side of the road (opposite the lake), to the left of the creek.
Trailhead: There is no sign marking the trailhead. Pull over 1.3 km past Driftwood Day Use (if coming from Canmore). Trailhead Coordinates: 50.976405, -115.321332
Closures: There is a seasonal closure from December 1-June 15 each year for West Wind Valley (north of West Wind Pass) and West Wind Ridge (north-west of West Wind Pass), but not Wind Pass, so please respect the closure and stay on trail and return the way you came. The closure is in effect to preserve critical grazing areas for wildlife. See Alberta Parks’ map of the affected area here.
Fun Fact: West Wind Pass is notoriously windy, but is actually named for West Wind Creek! (Source)
|West Wind Pass|
|Wind Tower and Lougheed Peak|
|West Wind Pass Trail|
|Wind Tower Watching Over Us|
|Spray Lakes Reservoir|
|Prairie Crocus on West Wind Pass Trail|
|View from the pass!|
As you approach the pass, there are rocky outcroppings that make great shelters on a blustery day. They’re also great for climbing! Climb up and get perfect panoramic pics! Spray Valley is to the south and Wind Valley is to the north.
|View from the rocks!|
|Shout out to KEEN for keeping me in comfy footwear|
|This kid is part mountain goat!|
|Family photo at West Wind Pass|
|West Wind Pass|
|Some parts of the trail are narrow.|
|Lovely views for most of the way!|
|Cue the Smurfs Song here|
|Follow the path around!|
More Fun in the Area
Stop at Driftwood Day Use to play in the lake!
|Fishing at Driftwood Day Use|
Watch for moose around the dam – I usually see a few there, but not this time (they were likely in the shade as it was hot!).
Not enough hiking for one day? Hike the popular trail to Grassi Lakes on your way home! There is an easy trail (stroller friendly, unpaved) or “difficult” trail (not stroller friendly, has stairs) depending on how you’re feeling. We usually take the difficult trail up as it’s prettier, and descend via the easy trail.
|View from Windtower|
Rimwall Summit is also accessed via West Wind Pass Trail, and has similar elevation gain, but requires route-finding. I recommend going with someone who has gone before or reading detailed trip descriptions. Again, not for little kids as there is some sketchy scree on slab and exposure.
Let me know if you go and how you liked it! 🙂
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