Easily accessed from Calgary, the hike to the summit of Cox Hill, the highest point on the Trans-Canada Trail, is 12.4 kilometres round-trip with just over 3,000 feet of elevation gain. Once you reach the summit, sit back on rocky slabs and enjoy panoramic views in all directions. You’ll easily be able to see nearby Moose Mountain, another worthwhile day hike and those with energy can also continue to the Jumpingpound Ridge Trail from the summit, a further 3 kilometres away.

Getting to the trailhead for the Cox Hill hike

The hike starts at the Dawson Trailhead off the Powderface Trail. To get to it follow the Trans-Canada Highway to Sibbald Creek Trail – also known as Highway 68. Continue on it as it becomes a dirt road and eventually the Powderface Trail. After several kilometres you’ll see the well-signed trailhead on your left (to the south).

Expansive views on the Cox Hill hike, Kananaskis Country

Expansive views on the Cox Hill hike

It took us a few minutes to find the proper trailhead. From the parking lot you must find the Tom Snow Trail and follow it down to Jumpingpound Creek – where you’ll see plenty of evidence of the 2013 floods. Cross the river and look for the sign that says Coxhill Ridge Trail.

Follow this trail to the summit. It’s especially steep and not that interesting early on, but eventually you break out of the trees for good – and though it’s still steep going, at least the scenery is interesting.

Zigzagging up a steep section of Cox Hill, Kananaskis Country

Zigzagging up a steep section of Cox Hill

There is a false summit where it would be easy to stop but don’t. Continue along the ridge through the trees for another 10 minutes or so until you finally pop out, just 50 metres from the summit. Find a slab of rock and sit back to enjoy the panorama. If you’ve brought a picnic lunch, watch out for sneaky chipmunks at the top.

Wildflowers galore, Kananaskis Country

Wildflowers galore

Trail to Jumpingpound Ridge from the summit of Cox Hill

Those with energy can connect to the Jumpingpound Ridge Trail from the summit of Cox Hill

The wildflowers can be amazing in early summer on the Cox Hill hike

A dog’s eye view of the trail

Looking west past the Hunchback Hills from the Cox Hill trail

Looking west past the Hunchback Hills

Crossing Jumpingpound Creek - Kananaskis Country

Crossing Jumpingpound Creek

The Cox Hill hike is a workout but it delivers premium views. Be sure to take lots of water as after you’ve crossed the creek you won’t any until you’re back where you started.

More Kananaskis Country hikes you might enjoy:

Leigh McAdam

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta
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