Distance: 16 km
Elevation gain: 990 mView mapDownload GPS track
This is a lovely shoulder season hike just outside Canmore. To reach the trailhead, take the Dead Man's Flats exit from the Trans Canada and then make a series of right-hand turns to cross the highway via the overpass. Continue straight along this road for about one kilometer, then turn right into the trailhead parking lot at the Banff Gate Mountain Resort sign.
The road-width trail initially heads south, intersecting the power line cut in about 100 m. Turn left and ascend along the power line cut, turning left onto an old road after another few hundred meters. This road is easier going than the power line trail and will intersect the power line again in another kilometer or so. At the 4 km mark the trail exits the power line for good. Nearly straight continues to Skogan Pass; a sharp left switchbacks gently up Pigeon Mountain.
In approximately one more kilometer (5 km from the trailhead) a trail, marked by a wildlife sign, exits the road on the left. This trail ascends moderately steeply to the saddle between the north and south summits of Pigeon Mountain and is apparently the usual hikers route. We chose to stay on the old road for no particular reason. If choosing this route, follow the old road for another kilometer, then turn north and head up a gully. While the trail was completely obscured by snow from this point forward, the route seemed obvious. Keep heading up and you should reach the south summit.
Unfortunately we didn't quite make it to the summit, and the reason was likely the route we chose. Heading up the mountain via the old road route placed us on the leeward side of the mountain where the snow was knee deep. After over a kilometer of serious trail breaking in a strong wind and extreme wind chill we called it a day just short of the south summit. A quick look down to the presumed other route indicated that it would have been more sheltered, and nearly snow-free from the saddle to the north (main) summit.