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The Fabulous Forgetmenot Ridge Hike

The Fabulous Forgetmenot Ridge Hike

The Forgetmenot Ridge hike is one of seven great hikes that you can do in the Bragg Creek area. Some of the other hikes include Prairie Mountain, Moose Mountain, Nihahi Ridge and Powderface Ridge. Accessibility is easy off Highway 66 near Bragg Creek.

The crux of the Forgetmenot Ridge hike is finding the start of the trailhead. That may be a bit of an exaggeration but it’s not far off. Once you’re on the trail, you’ll find plenty of magic as you make your way up to the ridge. From the ridge there is more exploring to be done if you have the time and inclination.

Start the hike by crossing the Harry Chapman Pedestrian Bridge
Start by crossing the Harry Chapman Pedestrian Bridge
The Fabulous Forgetmenot Ridge Hike in Kananaskis Country
Look for a trail with yellow markers in the trees called Wildhorse Trail
The Fabulous Forgetmenot Ridge Hike in Kananaskis Country
Look across the gravel flats into the trees and you’ll see yellow markers

Trip report for the Forgetmenot Ridge hike

The hard part of the hike isn’t the initial steep climb but finding the trailhead. It probably took us 25 minutes of false starts before we were sure we were heading in the right direction. Once we found the Wildhorse Trail I knew we were on the right track.

With a steep start, you may be wondering what you got yourself into. But once you’re through the woods and onto a ridge, the views start to unfold. Look for the Ford Knolls beneath Nihahi Ridge.

As you get higher you’ll eventually see Moose Mountain and Prairie Mountain off in the distance as well as nearby Powderface Ridge. Pass the Holey Rock Tree – called the ultimate wind chime by Gillian Daffern.

After about 20 minutes of climbing you get great mountain views
After about 20 minutes of climbing you get views like this
Even on a sunny day in the heat of summer be prepared for a chilly wind on the ridge
Even on a sunny day in the heat of summer be prepared for a chilly wind
That's Forget-Me-Not pond in the distance - a popular picnic destination
That’s Forget-Me-Not pond in the distance – a popular picnic destination

Route once out of the trees

Continue on the trail, a little less steeply, through the last of the trees interspersed with some grassy sections. There are steep side trails up to the Forgetmenot Ridge but you can also continue on a well-trodden trail to a cairn just below the ridge some distance on.

From the cairn pictured below the angle flattens and you have a couple of options once your reach the ridge. Turn left (north) and follow the ridge over beautiful, lichen covered rocks in wild shades of lime green and orange to a huge cairn (and windbreak) overlooking the Elbow River at a height of 2,240 metres. This is the turnaround point for many people including me and my friend Sarah.

Alternatively you can continue south on Forgetmenot Ridge to Forgetmenot Mountain, a one way distance of about 3.5 kilometres. We’ll just have to come back to do that part of the trail.

 Cairn below the main Forgetmenot Ridge
Cairn below the main Forgetmenot Ridge
The ridge walking is extensive; at the north end there's a large cairn
The ridge walking is extensive; at the north end there’s a large cairn
The Fabulous Forgetmenot Ridge Hike in Kananaskis Country
There’s a wind break at the cairn
The Fabulous Forgetmenot Ridge Hike in Kananaskis Country
People always look so insignificant in the mountains
The Fabulous Forgetmenot Ridge Hike in Kananaskis Country
Watching this group of four pick their way down
The Fabulous Forgetmenot Ridge Hike in Kananaskis Country
Notice the people on the ridge below us
The Fabulous Forgetmenot Ridge Hike in Kananaskis Country
Looking out towards the Powderface Trail on the right
The Fabulous Forgetmenot Ridge Hike in Kananaskis Country
And back into the woods

I heartily recommend the Forgetmenot Ridge hike. It would be a beautiful hike to do in fall with the grasses in shades of red and yellow. Hiking in spring green would also be very beautiful. All told it took us about five hours round-trip. Elevation gain was in the order of 700 metres over a one way distance of about 10 kilometres – but don’t quote me on this one.

The road to the trailhead is closed from December 1st – May 14th.

Getting to the trailhead

Take Highway 66 from Bragg Creek all the way to the junction with the Powderface Trail. Turn left to stay on asphalt and follow it towards the Little Elbow Campground. When it turns to dirt road, continue straight for about 200 metres. Look for parking for about 10 cars on your right – across from the Harold Chapman pedestrian bridge. (You won’t be able to see the bridge immediately from the road.)

If you can’t find parking here, retrace your steps to the stop sign. Turn right and follow it around to find a larger parking lot.

To start hiking look for a trail leading down towards the river from the small parking lot. You’ll see the Harold Chapman pedestrian bridge. Cross it.

Take a trail heading left until you find what looks like a dirt road, about seven minutes along. Head right on it and look for another trail – with orange markers on the left – perhaps another five minutes up. It’s called the Wildhorse Trail but there’s little in the way of signage.

According to Gillean Daffern’s book – Kananaskis Country Trail Guide – you follow the Wildhorse Trail for 800 metres until you see a cairn, shortly after crossing a small, eroded creek bed. Turn right and start climbing.

We didn’t have to ford any rivers but we did cross a large dry river bed with orange markers pointing the way. If you park at Forgetmenot Pond you will have to ford the Little Elbow River – and then weave on unmarked trails towards the Wildhorse Trail.

Further reading about hiking in Alberta

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

The Fabulous Forgetmenot Ridge Hike in Kananaskis Country

 

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

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

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