Friday, January 02, 2015

The Wildest Winter Family Hike in Kananaskis

JURA!  If you haven't heard of Jura Canyon yet, read, read, read on.   Look at the photos, visit last year's story for route description (that you'd be hard pressed to find anywhere else,) and take the kids!  Even if you don't have kids, this is one of the best hikes you can do in the Canadian Rockies in winter.

Entering Jura Canyon for a wild winter hike

Why we love Jura Canyon in winter so much:  You can't hike here in summer!  This narrow little canyon is full of water in the summer so you'd be following the hiking trail up above it.  And the summer trail is boring.

Melissa and MJ of the blog Rockies Chick in Jura Canyon

How we discovered this canyon?  No idea!  But we've been hiking it for the past ten years.  And so far, nobody has ever fallen into the creek and gotten hypothermia. It helps that it is usually frozen by late November.  (usually!  This year we were plucking quite a few people out of icy water.)

Climbing the rock of doom (we had a couple slides down it into a waist deep pool of icy water)

Why this year's Jura Canyon hike was AWESOME

One.  SNOW.  It's been very dry in Calgary so far this year.  However, we found tons of white snow along the Jura Creek Trail and even made snowmen at the trailhead.

Making a snowman at the trailhead
Snow for pulling sleds (this doesn't happen every year in this valley)
The hike was beautiful with fresh snow

Two - Excitement! Normally the creek is well frozen by December but we were calling it an epic adventure this year as defined by the number of kids who fell in the creek.  There were many open pools of water that we had to skirt around with slippery rocks that threatened to send you swimming in the pools of icy water.

And while open water may turn many people off, we considered it to be all part of the wild Jura adventure.  (Fortunately, the canyon entrance is only half a kilometre away from the highway so if you do get wet and cold at the beginning of the hike, it's a short walk back.)

Hiking through the narrowest part of the canyon

Three - Great Friends.  We had a great group of 7 families out for the hike this year (our biggest Jura group yet) and my son had great fun chasing the older girls up the creek.

Kids chasing each other through the canyon
Coming out of the tightest part of the canyon
Noah and his new friends

Four - It was JURA. Which means, it's always awesome!! How can a hike through a narrow canyon along a pretty creek not be awesome?  There are tons of opportunities to scramble on rocks, play on ice slides and leap over rocks. 

Ice slides
Great friends
More ice!
Natural obstacle course
Rock Hopping
And more ice!

Five - We all had a blast! And at the heart, this is what always matters.

Waterproof boots required in here
Team work to get the kids over tricky parts
The kids got to work on their balance
Who needs a playground?


I had a blast too!


Noah and I in the canyon
Love this canyon!!

Hope you can join us next time!  Till then, check out the route description in last year's story:  Jura Creek - The Best Winter Hike in Kananaskis.

You can also read more in the previous year's story:  Ice, Ice, Baby - Winter Canyon Hiking

Finally, check out Karen's story on her blog, Play Outside Guide:  DIY Ice Walks near Calgary

Hiking out Jura Creek


  1. Hi. Not sure if you'll see this or not, but there is now an official Jura Creek trailhead parking lot, with an outhouse. I noticed the sign for it on my way today to Grotto Canyon, but there was no parking in either of the Grotto lots, so I turned back and did Jura for the first time. Definitely a fun little ice hike. Thanks for your write-ups about it; I'd been meaning to try it for a couple years now.

    1. Hi, I see all comments so thank you so much for leaving one. I'm thrilled you found Jura Creek. It's such a lovely hike. I'm happy to hear that there is an official parking lot with outhouse for the creek.
      I'll have to update my stories.
      Thanks for letting me know.