West Wind Pass is a very rewarding ‘introduction to hiking’ type of a hike. You don’t have to be an avid outdoors person or a hiker to tackle this one. It is just a casual hike with fantastic views. You will also have plenty of time left in your day to do other things or enjoy the area.

I decided to write an article on the West Wind Pass because I think if I knew a little more info beforehand, I would have prepared better. You can find everything you need to know here.

Getting There

West Wind Pass is about a 30 minute drive from Canmore, Alberta. Go towards the Nordic Centre and continue pass Grassi Lakes – you will be on road 742 aka Smith Dorrien Trail. This is a dusty and pretty rough gravel road – I wish I knew that before heading out or else I would have used a different car to get there.

The trail is about 1.6 km from the Driftwood Day Use Area (last washroom stop), park your car on the side of the road facing the lake and the trail head is just across the road on the north side. This is a popular hike so you will most likely see other cars around.

The Hike

The first part of West Wind Pass hike is a steady climb uphill, but fairly short one. You will have the woods on your left and glimpses of the view (above photograph) as an appetizer until you make it to the top.

The trail is well traveled but there are a number of routes that seem to be very confusing. A bunch of hikers were spread out along the mountain not sure if they are on the right path, us included. The key is to always take a right at the forks.

This area is rich in wildlife and sometimes has closures. Make sure to exercise common sense and carry bear spray. My bud Shawn was able to spot this bear that crossed the trail in front us a few times. Better to be safe than sorry.

West Wind Pass, Hike, Canmore, Alberta, Calgary, Kirk Lubimov

The “Wind” in West Wind Pass hike is as advertised and it can get super windy on top. I would highly recommend to bring a few layers and a wind breaker You don’t want to be blasted with cold wind while sweaty!

The views of the valley from the top are endless. You can also take refuge from the wind just behind the ledge below. Great place for a picnic. On your right you will see the Wind Tower peak and on your left the Rimwall. You can continue to hike either one but it will add significant difficulty and time to your adventure.

Distance: 5km roundtrip

Elevation: 381m

Difficulty: Easy. Take your time and watch your step.

Time: 2.5 – 3 hours. Depends on how long you will spend enjoying the view.

Season: June – October. Make sure to checkout snow reports and wildlife closures before you head out.

Dog Friendly: Very much so!

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