West Wind Pass

  • Difficulty
  • 5.0km
  • 390m
  • 2-3.5h

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West Wind Pass is a great hike! It’s not too busy and is a perfect hike for people who want to get stunning views without a ton of elevation gain. We love the vista back to the Spray Lakes Reservoir as well as at the views from West Wind Pass itself.

Getting there

From the Canmore Nordic Centre, continue west on the Smith-Dorrien (Hwy 742) as it winds up into the Spray Valley for 18.5km. You’ll notice cars parked on both sides of the highway, with a pull-out to your right, adjacent to Spray Lake. There is no signage for this parking.

elevation

Total Gain: 390m

About

Type of Hike Out and Back
Crowd Levels Moderate
Route Signage Poor
Toilets None
Family Friendly Yes
Backcountry Campgrounds No
When to Do June 15 – October

 Detailed Description

For first-timers, just finding the right parking lots can be a challenge when you’re hiking to West Wind Pass. Luckily, on weekends there are usually a fair number of other cars of hikers going to West Wind Pass or up Rimwall or Windtower.

The hike starts in the trees across the road, and immediately comes to a sign stating that the West Wind Valley is closed from December 1st to June 15th. The path heads up through the trees, with Spurling Creek to your right, though often out of sight. Soon after you start your hike, you’ll come across the trail’s first deviation: take the right-hand route with signs west for Windy Pass.

After roughly 30 minutes you’ll come to some cliff bands with the route going over them. Go across this tricky area, taking care. The path splits 10 minutes later, and you can go either way, however we prefer to take the lower of the two paths.

Continue heading uphill following the path. As you come to West Wind Pass (also known as Windy Pass), you’ll notice a large mountain on the right, this is Windtower. To your left is the Rimwall, and the path you see heading up it is the Rimwall Ridge Route. Continue to follow the well-defined path to the right as it comes to West Wind Pass.

Once you get to West Wind Pass, you will appreciate the beauty. You can continue along the path over West Wind Pass for a short while to let the views expand in front of you in the Wind Valley! We love a break here.

From the West Wind Pass, hike back down the way you came.

Insider Hints

  • Consider taking poles, as they help getting across the small cliff bands.
  • It can get hot on this hike, as it’s west-facing and exposed. Consider bringing some swimming trunks and a lot of courage to swim in the chilly Spray Lake down by the car.
  • Really hot days may need slurpees after this hike. You can get your slurpee fix at the Mac’s store in Canmore on Bow Valley Trail, in a strip mall just off of Railway Ave.