Rabbit Hill

Zosia Zgolak and I returned to the eastern margins of Alberta's McLean Creek Off-Highway Vehicle Public Land Use Zone on 21 January 2023 to hike up yet another obscure unnamed bump in the vicinity.  Relying solely on Google Maps, I devised a tentative route which I hoped would take advantage of some open slopes and keep bushwhacking to a minimum.  Since it was Chinese New Year's Eve and in anticipation of the upcoming Year of the Rabbit, Zosia thought it would be fun to name our little bump "Rabbit Hill".  For lack of any better ideas, I have decided to stick with that benign name instead of more thought-provoking ones like "ATV Hump" or "Cow Patty Mound".

From Highway 762, turn west onto Aspen Creek Drive 6.1 kilometres south of the junction with Highway 22 or 16.0 kilometres north of the junction with Highway 549.  Drive 1.7 kilometres to a 4-way intersection and continue straight ahead for another 480 metres to reach a small pullout before a seasonal gate.  Park here.

Passing through the seasonal gate, Zosia and I turned right and were delighted to find an ATV track winding down the forested ridge to the north.  This ATV track did not quite match up with some of the waypoints I had plotted, but regardless, it was taking us in more or less the right direction.  The ATV track ultimately crosses Fish Creek, and we were fortunate that the creek was still mostly frozen despite warm ambient temperatures.  North of the creek, we crossed a large meadow and then abandoned the ATV track to climb up a lightly wooded hillside.  We endured a bit of light post-holing and bushwhacking here but soon reached an open slope southeast of our objective.  Other than having to dodge a lot of cow dung, we had little trouble hiking up this easy slope.  After passing through a stand of aspen trees, we stumbled onto another ATV track which conveniently led us the remaining distance to the high point of Rabbit Hill.

Once we tagged the high point of Rabbit Hill, Zosia and I hiked off-trail toward a subsidiary ridge to the west.  We spooked a large herd of white-tailed deer here as we made our way across the intervening terrain.  On the crest of the subsidiary ridge, we intersected yet another ATV track, and we wandered a short distance to the north before turning around to head in the opposite direction.  Near the south end of the subsidiary ridge, we again abandoned the ATV track and dropped down west-facing slopes with intentions of checking out a couple of ponds marked on my GPS map.  Disappointingly, the ponds were virtually non-existent since all we saw were some bushy depressions that might pass off as marshes in the summer.  Regardless, we stopped here for a nice lunch break in the warm sunshine.

When Zosia and I resumed hiking, we regained the ATV track descending from the subsidiary ridge and followed it back to the large meadow north of where we crossed Fish Creek earlier.  With our loop complete, we re-crossed Fish Creek and retraced our steps back to our starting point without incident.  We did not see any rabbits during our hike, and somewhat surprisingly, we also did not encounter any ATVs.  As such, we enjoyed quiet solitude throughout our trip which is a rarity these days when hiking so close to Calgary.
How convenient! Zosia follows an undocumented ATV track through the forest.
Yes, the same Fish Creek that runs through south Calgary!

Zosia crosses mostly frozen Fish Creek.

There's almost enough snow for ski touring here...almost... The ATV track ultimately leads to this open meadow.  Rabbit Hill is beyond the trees ahead.
Lotsa cow poop here!

Zosia ascends an open slope aiming for the ridge top behind the line of aspen trees.

This is too easy! Zosia picks up another ATV track on the ridge top.
I look like a thug with that toque!

Zosia and Sonny stand near the high point of Rabbit Hill (1499 metres).

We spotted a herd of deer just before this. Sonny makes his way to a subsidiary ridge to the west.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Cute bunny!

Zosia pretends to be a rabbit on the subsidiary ridge with Rabbit Hill visible in the distance through the trees.

Dziękuję bardzo, Zosia!

Sonny holds up the swag he received for his birthday from Zosia.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Might need snorkels soon!

Sonny is about to re-cross frozen Fish Creek which appears to be wetter than earlier in the day.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak


A relatively short easy walk in another seldom frequented corner of K-Country. Total Distance:  8.0 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  3 hours 29 minutes
Cumulative Elevation Gain:  ~230 metres

GPX Data