Distance: 7 km
Elevation gain: 390 m View map Download GPS track
Mustang Hills is a short hike less than an hour from our house in Calgary. Being located in the foothills along Highway 66 we hoped it would be reasonably snow free and allow us to get out hiking again before we switch to snowshoes. It's also a very short hike and would thus make a good hike for a Sunday.
Mustang Hills predictably derives its unofficial name from the herd of wild horses that live in the area. This wasn't even a consideration for us when we chose the hike, but we ended up seeing two (next to the highway of all places), lots of sign of them throughout the woods, and met a pair of hikers who were quite keen on seeing some.
We started our hike at the Rainy Summit pullout on Highway 66 and roughly followed the directions in the Kananaskis Country Trail Guide
for hike 27A, tagging all three "summits" before descending to the Elbow River and then making our way back to the car via an old road. We strayed from the trail several times, although never by much, mostly when I didn't agree with where it was taking us or when better terrain beckoned nearby. On a few occasions we ran into thicker brush while doing this, but never for long and never thick enough to be too problematic. It is very worth noting that the loop described in the guidebook should be completed in the recommended clockwise direction too. I'd originally wanted to do the reverse for some reason, but this would have turned an easy ascent into a moderate one with annoying routefinding.
Overall this was a nice short hike with decent scenery, but I'm dying to scramble up something really big again! Perhaps next weekend...