Cougar Creek Trail
Canmore, Alberta, Canada : Kananaskis Country
When in Canmore, Alberta, Canada the Cougar Creek Trail is a good way to enjoy a casual day walk or a full day strenuous elevation hike. It all depends on how far you want to go, how prepared you are and how energetic you feel.
The Cougar Creek Trail explores the banks of the creek under the watchful eye of Lady Macdonald Mountain. The trail, itself, follows the banks of a dry river bed most of the way. The route is a loop trail measuring about 8 kilometres long with an elevation gain of 600 metres. It should take no longer than 4 to 5 hours to complete depending on fitness levels of the group.
The beginning of the Cougar Creek Trail is deceiving as it begins following a well maintained gravel path. At about the 1 kilometre mark the trail takes on a rougher look and feel. Prepare for mud and mosquitoes. Not far ahead is a junction where the trail splits. The left route takes you up to Lady Macdonald and the right option follows the Cougar Creek Trail.
At this point of the trail, watch the trail markers closely as you crisscross, back and forth, across the creek. Many decide to walk the creek bed instead of the trail to avoid mud and getting off track. Hiking the creek bed consists of walking over polished rocks and small boulders while high-stepping over trickling tributaries of the creek. It is a sprained ankle waiting to happen for the unprepared.
Please make a note... water levels of the creek rise and fall with every season. The creek bed may not be as easily accessible in some seasons, especially during the spring run off when the snow from the higher elevations begins to melt.
If hiking in the late fall months in the the Lady Macdonald/Cougar Creek area keep an eye out for eagles. The region is a popular destination for thousands of golden eagles as they travel between their summer and winter homes.
The Cougar Creek Trail, via a network of trails in the region, connects to some other paths in the region like the Benchlands Trail (1.4 kilometres), Police Creek Trail (3.8 kilometres) and to Engine Bridge (4.5 kilometres) on the Bow River Trail.
How to Get to Cougar Creek Trail
Travel towards the community of Canmore, Alberta, Canada. Access is best from Benchland Trail (road) located off of Highway #1 (Bow Valley Trail). Look for bridge crossing near Cougar Creek and a parking lot.