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Long Prairie Ridge
Kananaskis, Alberta
January 4, 2020

I hadn't hiked Long Prairie Ridge before, so when we showed up at the parking lot in winter I didn't know what to expect: snowshoeing, postholing or a beaten path in the snow. It turned out to be the latter, and a quick trip at that.

Long Prairie Ridge lies amid the Sandy McNab Ski Trails. While most of the trails here are verboten in the winter, restricted to XC skiing, three trails can be hiked: Long Prairie Ridge, Death Valley and the south section of Long Prairie Loop. Linked together they create a pleasant loop. The broad, gentle trails coupled with maps at every junction make this hike suitable for beginners.

From the parking lot, Renata, Dinah and I started up the trail behind Sheep Headquarters. Five minutes later we came to the turn-off for Long Prairie Ridge. Another couple of minutes brought us to the junction of Long Prairie Ridge and Long Prairie Loop. We kept right. We would climb the ridge and return on the loop trail.

It was cloudy and snowing when we set off, but when we reached the ridge crest the sun appeared. With the sun beaming down on us, and the ridge open to the south, we enjoyed our stroll along the ridge. At the west end of the ridge, the trail drops down into the trees and hits Death Valley trail. We turned left and took a short connecting trail to Long Prairie Loop. We ambled down the wooded trail and reached the parking lot just in time to experience another snow flurry.


The trail begins behind the Sheep Headquarters


Starting up the trail


A few minutes later, we turned left and started up the ridge trail


We soon came to this junction: right for the ridge and left for the return loop


The trail passes stands of aspen


The trail is a gentle climb throughout


Behind us are Macabee Ridge and Arctic Hill


Ahead on the left is the summit, such as it is


Continuing along the ridge after the summit


The entire ridge is partly open permitting views south and west


Dinah and Renata pose on a high point on the ridge


The last viewpoint before the ridge drops down


In front of us is Windy Point Ridge (mouse over)


100 m ahead of us is the Death Valley trail junction


We followed Death Valley trail a short distance to get to Long Prairie Loop trail


Looking up at the ridge from the loop trail


Going through a stand of tall trees


82 J/10 Mount Rae

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