Distance: 14.5 km
Elevation gain: ~700 mView mapDownload GPS track
This is a popular shoulder season hike just 45 minutes from Calgary along Highway 66. To get there, turn north onto the Moose Mountain road, just west of Paddy's Flats. Be aware that this road is closed from Dec. 1 to May 15. The trailhead is located at approximately the 7.5 km mark, just before a gate. As testament to its popularity and the types of people this trail may attract in peak season, there are directions given on how to appropriately park in the two available parking areas. The trail is a gated road heading north from the parallel parking area (don't confuse this with the main road, which is also gated).
The trail initially heads north, descending 100 m shortly after leaving the parking area. Be mentally prepared for this ascent on the return. The trees open up on this descent and grant a view of nearly the entire approach. This is also a good vantage point to confirm that the initial peak you will ascend is indeed a false summit! Once reaching the bottom, gently ascend through forest for several kilometers until you emerge onto the ridge you glimpsed to the north on the descent.
The ascent of the initial summit is straightforward. Although there is a very well switchbacked road, many people appear to simply climb straight up; it is certainly gentle enough that this is not a problem. The final walk to the main summit from this point looks daunting, but it is much more gently graded that it appears from this vantage point. In dry conditions it would be straightforward; if the trail is icy or snowy use common sense precautions. The views from either summit are fantastic and many other early season objectives are visible, including Prairie Mountain
and Jumpingpound Ridge