Three Little Summits
On 14 May 2022, Aga Sokolowska, Zosia Zgolak
and I traversed a ridge unofficially known as Three Little Summits
located between Powderface Creek and Highway 66 in Alberta's Kananaskis
Country Public Land Use Zone. The name was coined by someone who
at each of three distinct high points along the mostly forested ridge.
Were it not for the geocaches, this ridge would likely be ignored, but
because Zosia and I had a social engagement to attend later in the
evening, Three Little Summits fit the bill for a modestly strenuous hike
with a short drive. Zosia came up with a plan to traverse the ridge
and then visit a small hidden waterfall--Rainy Creek Falls--located just
off the highway. This was also the last day before the annual
re-opening of the highway seasonal gate--our starting point, and we would
be able to use the pavement for our return without having to worry about
motorized vehicles speeding past us.
From the seasonal gate along Highway 66 (19 kilometres west of junction
with Highway 22), Aga, Zosia and I walked along the pavement for about
half a kilometre to just past the Powderface Creek trailhead. We
left the highway here and ascended a short grassy slope before entering
forest. Following beaten paths, we made our way to the base of
Three Little Summits' northeast ridge and began climbing upward.
The initial section is brutally steep, and a few minor cliff bands
require some hands-on scrambling. Fortunately, the forest is not
too thick here, and route-finding was generally easy going up the ridge.
Higher up, the angle of ascent eases, and we enjoyed a much more gentle
hike over the three distinct high points. Not surprisingly, the
Three Little Summits themselves are nothing special being mostly covered
with trees, but there are occasional openings along the ridge that still
grant some far-reaching views. We also discovered all three
geocaches with the one on the Third (west) Little Summit being the most
challenging to locate since it is a bit removed from the actual high
After tagging all Three Little Summits, Aga, Zosia and I turned southward
and descended along the top of a bluff for awhile before veering westward
to follow the contours of a drainage. We eventually turned
southward again to cross the drainage aiming for an old exploration road
as marked on my GPS unit's map. However, the forest on the south
side of the drainage is much denser, and we had to suffer a bit of
unpleasant bushwhacking before finally popping out onto the road.
This road runs within or alongside a logged corridor, and other than one
brief navigational misstep, we had few issues following it all the way
back to the highway. Upon reaching the highway, we crossed to the
other side and walked to the end of a large grassy clearing in search of
Rainy Creek Falls. We ended up dropping down a steep embankment a
bit further downstream before backtracking upstream to find the falls
which were disappointingly still frozen on this day. Having
witnessed the falls, we scrambled directly back up to the grassy clearing
and subsequently walked back to the seasonal gate along the highway.
Despite the absence of motorized vehicles, we still had to be vigilant of
the hordes of cyclists who were also taking advantage of the seasonal
closure to zoom up and down the highway.
Here is a closer look at
Forgetmenot Ridge to the south.