The wind picked up as my friend and I made our way to the top of Nihahi Ridge in Kananakis Country and to be honest, I was a bit nervous. I lowered my centre of gravity to keep myself firmly grounded to the ridge and slowly made my way to a quiet spot to take in the view. It felt like I was at the top of the world. The commanding views from this mountain ridge are nothing short of spectacular. It’s one of the top view hikes in the Canadian Rockies for good reason and it’s worth the effort to take in this beautiful panoramic scene.
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Where is Nihahi Ridge, Alberta?
Nihahi Ridge is located in Kananaskis Provincial Park near Bragg Creek, Alberta – about 80 minutes southeast of Banff National Park. There is a large parking lot available near the Little Elbow Campground to park in. Then it’s a short one kilometre walk west through the campground to reach the Nihahi Ridge trailhead. The parking lot becomes very busy, so leaving early is ideal in order to snag a good parking spot. We did not arrive until Saturday afternoon and cars were parked along the sides of the road quite a distance from the parking lot and trail. Fortunately, we got lucky and managed to find a parking spot just as someone was leaving.
More Great Hiking n Kananaskis: Read our post about hiking to Troll Falls.
Getting to the Nihahi Ridge Trailhead
From the parking lot, head west towards the Little Elbow campground. There are many signs along the way to help. Continue through the campground until you reach the Nihahi Ridge trail. It should be about one kilometre from the parking lot.
More Posts by this writer: Check out Kelsey’s post, El Faro – Hike to World’s Highest Natural Lighthouse in Mazatlan, Mexico.
Nihahi Ridge Hike Details
Nihahi Ridge is a 12.7 km out and back trail with 415 metres elevation gain. The trail is easy to follow and I would even consider it a moderate hike up until the first summit. Many of the people hiking this trail stopped at the first summit as the views from there are also beautiful. We chose to continue hiking up to the south summit. From there, we enjoyed lovely views of Moose Mountain, Mount Glasgow, the Elbow River Valley to east and the Little Elbow River Valley to the West.
Gear up for the Hike
It can get very windy near the top of the ridge, so you’ll definitely want to bring a windbreaker. I would recommend hiking poles on this hike; however we did not bring any and it is doable without them. Take plenty of water, bear spray, and snacks or a lunch. Due to the steep incline on this hike, I found myself needing quite a few snacks to power me along the way so be mindful of this.
Related: Discover the most spectacular view hike in Alberta’s Castle Provincial Park! Read our post, Table Mountain, Alberta – A Most Instagramable Hike.
What it’s like to Hike Nihahi Ridge
The trail starts in the trees, which is beautiful in itself. As the hike gains elevation fast, you are rewarded with many beautiful views along the way. The scramble up to the ridge is not very technical, however we did end up losing the trail for a short period of time. This added distance onto our hike, because we had to backtrack. The people behind us did the same thing, so I think this is a common mistake. Near the top there is a rock-climbing portion that we were unaware of, so we continued past it until realizing that we were supposed to climb it. This was fun, however, if you are afraid of heights then it may not be for you. After the short rock climb, it is a quick hike up to the ridge.
I’ll Definitely be Doing this Hike Again!
All in all, Nihahi Ridge is an excellent option for intermediate hikers. It provides picturesque views of the Canadian Rockies and has a well-defined trail that is easy to follow. I am looking forward to hiking this ridge again and plan to do a sunrise hike next time- now that I know the route. This is a beautiful corner of Canada.
Summit Three Peaks in the Canadian Rockies in a Single Day: Read our post, Heart Mountain Hike – Big Adventure in Kananaskis.