Mt. Allan Centennial Trail

Climbed: July, 1996.
Elevation: 2819 m = 9,246'
Elev. gain: 1400 m = 4,592'
Ascent time:4 hours, 15 minutes
Descent time:3 hours
Distance:22 km = 13.6 mi (round trip)
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous Hiking.
Location: Kananaskis Country
Trail head: Ribbon Creek parking lot off Highway 40.
Topo map: 82 J/14 Spray Lakes Reservoir

rock step
From the parking lot, follow the trail as it makes its ascent up through forest. Due tovarious old roads to the Mine Scar, the trail is well marked at its many junctions. Afterleaving the last of these roads, it's a moderate ascent through aspens to finally reachopen slopes. Now it starts getting tough with an ascent of 600m in less than 2km (1900' in 1.2mi). As you make your way up this strenuous section, an imposing rock step leading tothe broad Olympic Summit appears in full view.

plaqueHowever, there's a weakness in it's defense as you follow the trail to its north side (tothe right). A number of broad ledges and a gully, requiring hand holds in a few places, getsyou above this rock step. After another 15 minutes of hiking, the broad Olympic Summit isreached. Only then do you finally see the summit off in the distance (perhaps too far!).About 10 minutes of walking this broad hogsback, it's a little disconcerting to see the trail drop down a couple hundred feet which will have to be regained later. However, for thisextra effort you enter into the impressive rock garden. On a large rock is a bronze plaquenoting the accomplishments of the Rocky Mountain Ramblers who originally built this trailin 1966 to commemorate Canada's centennial.

summit/rgAs you make your way along the rock garden, the summit still seems a fair distance aways anda lot of elevation to boot.

rock pinnaclesAs you reach the end of the rock garden, a row of conglomerate rock pinnacles appear onthe edge of the ridge.

rock gardenAt this point, you begin the arduous final ascent of the summit. As you make your way up,at one of your many rest stops, you can glance back and admire a view of the rockgarden from above.

rock gardenAbout an hour after leaving the rock garden, the summit finally looms close by.

ck on summitSummit views are okay but nothing really spectacular. At least you can record yoursummit accomplishment with a photo and some words in the register located in the summit cairn.

Completion of this trail was originally celebrated with the erection of a large wooden signon the summit. However, the pikas seemed to object to man's accomplishment by chewing throughthe support poles within three months and the sign fell. In 1983, the bronze plaque was placedinto the rock garden.

Return the same way unless you wish to take the north route to Dead Man's Flatbeside the Trans-Canada highway, which can be seen from the summit.


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©1996 All images by Craig Knelsen. All rights reserved.

Created: Feb 28, 1998.  Revised: Nov 12, 2002.