2021 Alberta Hiking Association (“AHA”) Hikeathon!

Thank you to each and every participant in our first ever Hike-a-Thon! With your support, we were able to raise over $1,000 to continue to grow as a voice for hikers in Alberta. We’re working toward growing our learning resources available for hikers like you, and we want to continue voicing concerns to protect our natural spaces. We’re a small organization, but together we represent a large number of people who love hiking in this beautiful province.

Keep an eye out for the 2nd Annual Hikeathon in the fall of 2022!

Crown Land Outdoor Recreation Survey

Some of you may have contributed to this new study, conducted by the Tourism Industry Association of Alberta (TIAA), to assess the economic impacts of outdoor recreation in Alberta’s Crown Land. Hikers are the largest recreation group in the province and, therefore, are a significant contributor to this relatively unknown economy. The TIAA study recommended six policy actions to the Alberta Government.

1) A unified and coordinated Outdoor Recreation Industry voice is critical;
2) Alberta needs a Crown Land Policy that supports improvements in visitor amenities and services;
3) Increase investments, and new, and renewals of Outdoor Recreation infrastructure;
4) Develop an inventory of Crown Land Outdoor Recreation resources;
5) Measure and monitor the Outdoor Recreation economy; and
6) Establish an Outdoor Recreation Office.

You can find the study on the TIAA’s news page here study here.

Our Hikeathon Group 2021

Hiking Trip Report: Tent Ridge Horseshoe

I love shoulder season hikes—especially in the Rockies! There’s something about looking up at snow-covered mountains in the cool autumn air. Until a couple of years ago, summer’s end would have also marked the end of my hiking season. And, as you can tell, I’m glad that has changed.

This past weekend, my friend, Donna, and I ventured out to Kananaskis Country to complete a trail that’s been on my list for a while. That’s right, you guessed it: Tent Ridge Horseshoe. Fantastic photos from Tent Ridge flooded my Facebook newsfeed this summer. It seemed like more and more hikers found their way out to experience the hype. Now that I’ve finally finished it, I get what all the excitement is about.

Tent Ridge is a 12 km loop that gains about 800 metres in elevation, located in Spray Lakes Provincial Park. Give yourself 5 to 6 hours to complete it. To find the trailhead, head down Highway 40 in Kananaskis and turn right toward Peter Lougheed. Take the first right onto Highway 742 toward Spray Lakes. The access to Tent Ridge trail will be on your left after passing Chester Lake. Google Maps or AllTrails will help you find the trail (or a good ol’ paper map).

We parked at the south trailhead and started the clockwise route. If you go counterclockwise, you’ll find a bigger challenge. We walked through a light dusting of snow that didn’t become much deeper on the ascent. Once above the treeline, my jaw dropped at 360-degree mountain views from the ridgewalk. We continued up to the first peak, then down the saddle and up to the Tent Ridge peak. Spray Lakes Reservoir looked magnificent from our vantage point.

If you’re new to hiking, remember to be prepared for anything in the shoulder seasons. There was no avalanche risk during our trip, and the temperature hovered around zero, but the biting wind on the descent dropped the degrees significantly. Always bring several layers, enough water, and some snacks to get you through. Bring the hiking essentials with you.

Overall, Tent Ridge far exceeded my expectations, and I would love to go again someday. The fall weather was perfect for this rewarding day hike. Wherever you find yourself, I hope you’re able to spend time in the great outdoors. It’s always worth it!

Submitted by Thomas Coldwell, an outdoor enthusiast based in Calgary and a board member with the Alberta Hiking Association. Thomas runs an outdoor adventure blog in his spare time to help others get out there.

Larch Season and Autumn Hiking

Did everyone get out to see the amazing Larch display this fall. This photo, in Larch Valley, was shot in the late afternoon after the crowds had left for the day. For 2022 inspiration check out this article from Travel Alberta for some “must see” places.

Parks Canada has extended the seasonal closures in the Tonquin, Brazeau, and À La Pêche caribou ranges of Jasper National Park to protect almost 3000 km2 of winter habitat for caribou. No access to these backcountry areas is permitted between November 1 and May 15. You can read Parks Canada’s news release here.

Alberta Hiking Association Board

Don Cockerton, Chair (Calgary)
Marla Zapach, Vice Chair (Nordegg)
Anita Thomas, Secretary (Red Deer)
Erick Dow, Treasurer (Calgary)
Thomas Coldwell, Director (Calgary)

Board Committees

Advocacy: Expand and improve advocacy to provincial and regional governments, chaired by Don Cockerton.
Communication & Social Media: Develop and implement a communication plan to serve members and the hiking public, chaired by Anita Thomas.

Education: Develop and implement an education plan promoting minimal impact hiking, chaired by Marla Zapach.
Fundraising: Establish and implement the best approaches for raising revenue, chaired by Don Cockerton.

Membership & Volunteerism: Expand and improve services and outreach to members and the hiking public, chaired by Murray Fierheller

Additional Board and Committee members are needed to achieve our Strategic Plan objectives. If you can contribute, please find more information on our website or contact Don Cockerton.