Hike Section of Mountain of Flowers with Lake of The Horns
Lake of The Horns Bike and Hike. Kananaskis Highwood Country.
This is considered a moderate to difficult bike and hike but would consider it a very difficult long day hike due to the return trip distance of approximately 27km with a total elevation gain 750m. Allow 5-6 hours with a bike. It's a long intermediate bike the first 12km then it's a moderate hike the remaining 1.75km up to Lake Of The Horns. You will have to cross the Highwood River so expect to get your feet wet. It's a good idea to pack a second pair of shoes then stash them after crossing the Highwood River.
Park at the Cat Creek Recreation Area, look for the old logging road at the end of the parking lot heading north along the Highwood River. Follow the old logging road approximately 2.5km to the Highwood River. Cross the river and take the logging road to your right, the left road leads to Canarvon Lake. Stay on the road for approximately 3.7km until you reach an intersection with an old logging road leading down to your left. Avoid the road to your left and stay to your right on the original road. Make a lot of noise and keep your eyes out for bears here. All the valleys in this area are prime Grizzly Bear habitat. Keep going up the McPhail valley another 3.5km until you reach an outfitters camp on your left next to McPhail Creek. From here the trail straight ahead turns into a single track. Take this trail for another 1km or so avoiding an intersecting trail to your right which leads up to Hill Of The Flowers. Keep going straight until you reach a small clearing near a few beaver ponds. Leave your bikes here and take the trail to your right leading into the forest below the Headwall. Follow this steep trail up through rock and scree then past an Alien looking hoodoo, quite possibly the most interesting hoodoo in Alberta. When you reach a small lookout the trail braches left, stay left and head for a small grove of trees right below the headwall. Continue on past a waterfall on your left then up through the small grove of spruce trees then over the slabs of rocks to the top of the headwall. As you crest the headwall, Lake of The Horns lies at your feet.
The lake's name was derived from the abundance of horn fossils that were found here long ago. Lake Of The Horns' Caribbean blue color is absolutely stunning and well worth the days effort. The lake is cradled between the steep faces of Mount McPhail and Horned Mountain. Looking behind you offers outstanding views of the McPhail valley and the east Highwood Country. The Alberta - British Columbia boundary runs along these mountain ridges. Lake Of The Horns is stocked with Cutthroat Trout however their growth rate is very slow due to the lack of food at higher elevations. You'll need a fishing license to try out your luck. There is no room for camping at Lake Of The Horns. You can set camp near McPhail Creek at the bottom of the headwall. Nearby hikes include Loomis Lake Hike, Carnarvon Lake Hike, Picklejar Lakes Hike, Ptarmigan Cirque Hike, Running Rain Lake Hike, Mist Ridge Hike and Lineham Ridge Hike. You are in bear country.
The trailhead is located at the end of the Cat Creek Recreation Area parking lot 129km west of the city of Calgary on the #40 Highwood Trail highway. Note that the #40 Highwood Trail Highway is closed from Dec 1st to June 14th. Park at Cat Creek. Trail starts at the west end of the lot.
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More Stats for Mountain of Flowers / Lake of the Horns mountain bike trail
Altitude change2 ft
Altitude min5,909 ft
Altitude max7,151 ft
Altitude start5,981 ft
Altitude end5,983 ft
Distance climb2 miles
Distance down2 miles
Distance flat4,290 ft
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Mountain of... Trail Reports
Oct 15, 2017 @ 1:08pmOct 15, 2017
|Overgrown for this last section. Looks like it sees some foot traffic and little bike. Mostly rideable with some downed logs.|
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