Ribbon Falls Hike 

Man, I really have to write things down as they happen, I’m so behind on posts, and my mind is basically a sieve.

At the beginning of August, we went to Kananaskis for our anniversary. We stayed at the gorgeous Sundance Lodges in our very own tipi. I would definitely recommend their tips or trappers cabins, but you have to book way in advance for a weekend, as the whole summer fills up basically on opening day. We settled for a weekday trip to be able to stay in one of the small tipis, which was actually still huge for the two of us and the dog. It comes with a heater and fuel for no extra charge, and a lantern. It was cool overnight, probably close to zero, but the tipi was surprisingly warm. They are all handmade, true to the First Nations design and they are beautiful.

Sidenote: Everyone should subscribe to North of Ordinary Yukon magazine.
So on our full day in Kananaskis, we had no plans so we slept in, didn’t do much until about noon and then decided we should go on a hike. The girl at the desk recommended Coal Mine hike, a short hike leading to a lake with a nice view. We followed her instructions but when we got to the trailhead, we decided to do Ribbon Falls instead, because I had always wanted to do it. Except by now it was 1 pm. And the hike is 11 km. One way. In the Rockies. In Grizzly country. Where it gets dark at 6 pm.

Not the brightest idea we’ve ever had, but that never stopped us before. The hike is beautiful and for the most part, flat and manageable. It’s the Rockies though, so it can rain and turn very cold very quickly. Pack warm, water proof clothes, sturdy and comfortable shoes, and lots of food and water. And a bear bell. And bear spray. And make sure you make lots of noise.

The only one unfazed with hiking 22 km.
At the end of the hike, there’s backcountry camping, but I’ll say this: I would not want to haul all my camping gear 11 km in and 11 km out. And the kicker is, there were two young girls, probably about 20 years old, in the backcountry camping, by themselves, just playing cards. Of course, I wanted to ask them a million questions because what 20 year old girl goes backcountry camping for fun?! My kinda girls. I asked them if they were scared of bears (they weren’t) and if they had been here before (they had) and how long they were staying (three days), and then I thought I better leave them alone, in case I creep them out. Now, not to sound sexist, or that I think you need a man for outdoor activities, but they didn’t have anyone else with them. It was so cool, it gave me hope for my generation.

Anyway, after 11 km, we reach the falls and spoiler alert, don’t look at the following photos if you want to do the hike and be surprised at the end.

The picture doesn’t show how big the falls are until you see Chris in the bottom right corner. He’s 6’5″ so it gives you some scale.

Also there is a trail past the falls to Ribbon Lake, that I originally wanted to go see but it was another 5 km I believe, and required scrambling which I was not willing to do. I was too tired and I heard it was quite challenging. Maybe next summer!

You’re totally surrounded in this awesome valley. To get to Ribbon Lake you have to scale over the mountain to reach the top where the water pools.

Get your hiking boots on!

Update: This is for anyone (and my own reference) wanting to know how hard the hike was. I took photos of my FitBit at the halfway point and at the end of the hike. You can assume that my FitBit was at zero to start with, I hadn’t done much that day. We started the hike around 1 pm. 

Picture 1: At the falls. Halfway point because we still had to hike back out to the car. 


Picture 2: At the car! End of hike. My FitBit isn’t super accurate but it’s an idea. 


Took much longer to get in than out. The way in was all uphill so the way out was a breeze downhill. 

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