|Our secret secluded picnic spot beside the Kananaskis River|
When I asked my husband where he wanted to go hiking on Saturday, he asked if there was a trail beside the Kananaskis River. We'd never explored the main river flowing through the heart of K-Country and figured it would be fun to watch the kayakers braving the rapids, pools, and mini-waterfalls. I got out one of my newest hiking books, another in the Gillean Daffern collection, and discovered that yes, there was a trail built for spectators during paddling competitions, and the trail followed the river for a nice distance before going up into the trees towards the Barrier Lake Info Centre.
|Starting off on the narrow trail barely above the slalom course on the Kananaskis River|
|The trail got a little more sketchy as we crossed snow patches covering the narrow trail|
The trail proved to be quite narrow and I can't quite say I recommend it for families with young kids. That being said, we had a lot of fun on it and nobody fell in the river. Almost but not quite. It would be a lot of fun to repeat this hike during a paddling competition because you'd certainly be close to the action. If we had waited a few weeks, the trail would have been snow free too which would certainly have taken away one danger at least. The scariest part came when the trail basically disappeared and was replaced by big boulders you had to cross (see photos below). Crossing this section of the 'trail' involved scrambling along the boulders perched at the edge of the fast moving river while clinging to a rock outcropping on the one side. Most hikers would barely flinch but when you are carrying one child and helping a second across, it requires significant amounts of courage. I would almost say it's necessary to have one parent per child if you want to repeat our steps and explore this trail. I say 'almost' because one of our friends did it solo with her two kids and fared fabulously.
|Greta getting both of her girls across the crux of the trail safely|
|Not quite in the river|
|Not sure I can call this a trail anymore|
If I've just scared you, let me encourage you that you don't have to take the path down by the river. There's another great trail that goes above the river and bypasses all danger. However, you'd miss out on an up close view of the action on the river.
|Spring surfing in Kananaskis|
|Action seen right from our picnic spot|
The only difficulty on the forest trail was a blow down we had to cross. Challenging, yes. Impossible, no. A bit of help from Moms and Dads required for sure but the kids all got across. I'm hoping the Park will clear the trail as the season warms up.
In total, I'd say we hiked about 2km before we reached what I am calling our secret picnic spot. I wish I could give it a name but I'm not exactly sure where we were on the trail. We were about three quarters of the way to the Barrier Lake Info Centre for sure. If you started at the Info Centre and walked towards Canoe Meadows you'd have a nice short and easy walk. We took some stairs down to a rocky beach area where we found a picnic table beside what I am going to call a small waterfall. I'm sure it has a technical name but I'm not a paddler so to me it was a waterfall. We got to watch two kayakers go over the waterfall and the kids got to throw rocks in the river. It was the most idyllic spot I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy a picnic in. Other than the occasional kayaker who paddled by, we had the beautiful beach to ourselves; our private, secluded, and probably not so secret now, beach.
|It doesn't get more remote than this for a picnic|
|Playing by the river|
|A rare family photo of all three of us|
|Climbing back up to the trail from our beach|
|The toddlers hiked about 4km all by themselves without being carried. So proud of them.|
|A game of tag at the campground|
Widow Maker Trail: 4 km total distance from Canoe Meadows to the Barrier Lake Info Centre
Access: Highway 40, Kananaskis
Best guide book for the area: Gillean Daffern's Kananaskis Country Trail Guide, Volume 1, edition 4
What's your secret picnic spot now that I've shared mine?