Mount Hoffman is a good hike for a hot day as the trail is mostly in the trees. This easy summit features a waterfall and expansive views of the Sheep Valley.
If you’d like to escape the crowds, head to Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park! This quiet corner of Kananaskis boasts great hiking trails and beautiful campgrounds. After meeting Anna from On the go with kids at Bluerock Campground, we head to Indian Oils Day Use Area to hike Mount Hoffman (1829 metres). Although this trailhead is the staging area for several trails, there are only a few cars in the parking lot.
Our objective quickly comes into view as we approach the bridge over the Sheep River. Tiger Jaw Falls roars below, and the sound follows us along the fire road for quite a ways. Buffaloberry bushes and wildflowers adorn the roadsides adding a pop of color to an otherwise non-descript gravel road.
At the 1.7 kilometre mark, turn right at the cairn for the trail to Mount Hoffman. (If you reach the creekbed, you’ve gone too far.) About a kilometre later, stay left at the fork for the summit trail. For a fun detour, take the right fork to a viewpoint and see if you can find “Frankenstein” among the rock formations.
From the fork, it is only 1.4 kilometres to the summit. The trail becomes progressively steeper and is very steep for about 500 metres, but the kids (ranging from 5 to 11 years old) did well and didn’t complain. Going down took longer than going up though.
When you leave the trees, it is a straightforward walk to the summit with a small section of loose shale. Enjoy views of Junction Mountain (to the south), Gibraltar (west), Mist Mountain (west), and more, then return the way you came. Mount Hoffman is a great half-day objective for kids who are ready for bigger hikes and more elevation gain. We hope to find “Frankenstein” next time!
Mount Hoffman Trail At a Glance
- Distance: 8.2 km return
- Elevation gain: 480 metres
- Trailhead: Indian Oils Day Use (trail starts behind the outhouse)
- Nearest washrooms: Indian Oils Day Use
- Stroller friendly? No, due to deadfall on the trail and steep terrain near the top.