Distance: 11.5 km
Elevation gain: 625 m View map Download GPS track
Today we were feeling a bit lazy and wanted an easy and relaxing hike. I quickly settled on Lesueur Ridge, a short hike north of the Ghost River. We've never explored this area before, but from other reports on the web it seemed like a nice area to visit. So off we went!
Unfortunately the typical poor Alberta road signage had us miss the access highway on our way to the trailhead. Heading west from Cochrane the directions state to turn north on highway 940, but no such highway exists...unless you're heading east. Heading west the correct highway is signed as #40, but heading east - as we found out after pulling a u-turn - it is signed as both #40 on one sign and #940 on another. Go figure. So turn north on highway 40 or 940; it's the same highway, apparently.
Once we were on the correct highway the rest of the way was easy and suitably signed, although you'll find the directions in Gillean Daffern's Kananaskis Country Trail Guide
useful for both the roads and trails. Once parked where the guidebook recommended we quickly made our way up the ridge. It was a bit steep in spots, but very easy going. The forest was quite open in the area and so when the trail didn't go where I wanted it to we just forged our own route. For the ridge portion of the hike this was infrequent, but near the end of the ridge where the described route descended via a cutline we just kept marching straight ahead, plotting our own route to a hill further west. We could have followed any number of ATV trails in the area, but most were muddy and none seemed to go exactly where I wanted to. Rambling through the forest was simply more fun anyway! This was also the case for much of the return route along Lesueur Creek. There was a good trail a bit above the north bank, but we preferred to walk through the open forest closer to the creek until we were forced back to the trail by a very steep creek bank.
Unfortunately this area is a magnet for ATVers and whatever you'd call people that like to shoot guns all day long. This meant that for more than half the time we could hear ATV's and dirt bikes and at least two groups shooting. It wasn't exactly peaceful and I'm always concerned about the competence of people shooting guns, and from what I've previously observed on many occasions, drinking at the same time.
Overall this was a nice outing, although it wasn't nearly as peaceful as I'd hoped. I'd recommend hiking the area during the week when presumably it would be a little quieter.