As I was in a bit of a time crunch and needed to be back in the city for the evening, we decided to go on a much shorter, less strenuous hike. After downloading the AllTrails app (not sponsored, but I wish!), we searched for hikes close to Calgary that were relatively short. We ended up back at the winter gate on highway 66 (where we hiked Prairie Mountain) and decided to try out White Buddha via Powderface Trail.
Its a beautiful trail, with enough elevation to get your heart pumping, but short enough that you could complete this in 2 1/2 hours (with a nice long lunch break and some “rock climbing”). We only ran into a few other groups on the trail and dogs are also allowed on leash.
We enjoyed ourselves climbing up and down the rock and scrambling for a bit, but I freaked out by some of the ledges. It’s really not bad, but you get a few butterflies due to some steep rocky sections. I’m not a climber or scrambler, so this was a great way to practice.
We had a bit of trouble finding the initial trail up, but after backtracking our steps, it was smooth sailing from there (check out the directions at the end of this post).
If you need to get out of the city for a breather, but only have half a day, this is the perfect hike for you!
6/52:White Buddha via Powderface Trail
- Level: Moderate
- Distance: ~4km (in and out) depending if winter gate is open
- Elevation: 350m
- Time: 2.5 hours (with a long break at the top)
- Good elevation in a short amount of time
- Close to Calgary
- Year round hike
- Great half day hike with great views
- Some rock climbing/ scrambling at the top
- Trail can be difficult to find and not clearly marked (check out AllTrails for directions or mine below)
- Overall: A short hike that hits everything on my list. Its elevated enough to get the heart pumping, but short enough to not be rushed. The views are amazing and its a nice way to experience some rock climbing and scrambling at the top. Highly recommended!
Directions: From Calgary, Head west on Highway 1 and merge onto highway 22 (towards Bragg Creek) then turn right on highway 66 west. Park on the shoulder of the road right at the winter gates (next to the Elbow Falls Parking lot).
To trail: Walk past the winter gate (closed until May 15th) for about 300 meters. On the left hand side, you’ll see a roadside parking lot and on the right a blue sign with a picnic table indicating the Powderface parking on the right. Turn left into the Powderface parking lot and on the upper left hand side of the loop, you’ll see a map of Kananaskis and the beginning of the trail. Walk for a while (about 500m) until you cross a bridge, about 300 meters after the bridge, on the right hand side you’ll see an “unassuming footpath” which leads to White Buddha. If you reach the gates that block the trail, you’ve gone about 100 meters too far and need to go back. I’ve linked the AllTrails site below for more information.