Centennial Ridge is the highest maintained trail in the Canadian Rockies. Built by the Rocky Mountain Ramblers hiking club from Calgary in 1967, it is the most demanding and impressive day hike in Kananaskis Country. Unusual rock formations and great views all along the long ridge. This trail can be done from Kananaskis village area or from Dead Man's Flats near Canmore. The 16 km distance is from one end or the other (and back). At the sign in the Ribbon Creek parking lot, go north on Hidden Trail. After hiking about 200 meters, turn left and start the long climb to Centennial. Due to various old roads to the Mine Scar, the trail is well marked at its many junctions. After leaving the last of these roads, it's a moderate ascent through aspens to finally reach open slopes. Now it starts getting tough with an ascent of 600 m in less than 2 km (1900' in 1.2 mi). As you make your way up this strenuous section, an imposing rock step leading to the broad Olympic Summit appears in full view. Further along the ridge you encounter the rock garden, a cluster of large conglomerate rocks. As you reach the end of the rock garden, a row of conglomerate rock pinnacles appear on the edge of the ridge. At this point, you begin the arduous final ascent of the summit. As you make your way up, at one of your many rest stops, you can glance back and admire a view of the rock garden from above. About an hour after leaving the rock garden, the summit finally looms close by.
Summit views of the surrounding Rockies are impressive; also the town of Canmore. Return the same way unless you wish to take the north route to Dead Man's Flat beside the Trans-Canada highway.
Distance of 16km is out and back. Time is around 10 hours.NTS Map: 082J14.
Elevation Gain: 1,400 m (4,592 ft).
Ribbon Creek parking lot off Highway 40 in Kananaskis.
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Posted By: drunknsnoshu
- Mon Dec 02 16:01:28 UTC 2019
UpsideEasy trail to access, gets you up high, great views, well maintained trail DownsideSome stretches can be tedious, some exposure CommentI've snowshoed or winter hiked this from both ends, it's exceptional in winter depending on snow conditions. From the south, I was trudging in knee deep snow and breaking trail, which was exhausting. From the north, I just used microspikes. There are a couple areas of potential avalanche risk so definitely check first.
Posted By: jeanben
- Mon Oct 19 03:49:12 UTC 2015
UpsideGot the trail for yourself. DownsideBring lots of water! CommentBest hike in the area. Not technical, but lots of elevation Did it solo in a little less than 6 h roundtrip. That trail can only add a smile on your face!
Posted By: Rad777
- Wed Aug 05 12:15:00 UTC 2015
UpsideComing from Ribbon Creek, it doesn't take too long before you get some great views of the valley. The rock garden at the top is very impressive, and surprising that it is all a conglomerate of water smoothed river rock. DownsideThe warnings about the steepness are not exaggerated. It is a tough climb. CommentWe saw 2 grouse, a marmot, and as at the top of most of the Rockies, a number of butterflies. I haven't summitted a lot, but every mountain I have been on the top of has always had butterflies.
Posted By: cpt.walters
- Sat Sep 14 00:22:51 UTC 2013
UpsideThe view from the top of Mount Allan is wonderful and worth all the work it takes. DownsideWhen we went to start the trail, Pincher creek was closed due to the flooding. We headed up through Nakiska and then over to the spine from top of the first chair lift. CommentWe accomplished the hike in 7 hours. Myself and another individual climbed it in early September and was about 27 degrees. The hike took us 5 hours up, 2 hours down and blew about 4L of water.
Posted By: ChrisMarry
- Thu Aug 01 02:08:13 UTC 2013
UpsideSuperb views at the top, great elevation gain of 1391m, not too much exposure and still challenging overall. DownsideLong from Deadman's flat with 22.37 km, it takes a while before you start having great views, maybe 7 km on the way up. CommentWe did this hike end of July, no snow on the trail, but some on the ridge and peaks around. Beautiful 360 view, really one of my favourite this year, even after I've done Cascade Mountain. Rewarding, I will try it from Kananaskis next time, probably a little shorter from there. By the way, we've seen our first cougar, he was in the middle of the trail sitting, waited a moment when he saw us and then jumped into the forest. We were at 4km or so from the parking lot.
Posted By: mark3107
- Sun Sep 26 23:18:40 UTC 2010
UpsideFantastic views once you clear the tree line. Dog friendly but not advised if its a hot day. Great ridge walk along olympic summit to the amazing pinnacles. DownsideSteep ascent and descent. Lots of berry bushes in the tree line with bear activity. No water or shade if you take a dog. CommentStarted from Ribbon Creek day use and fairly easy trail to follow through the trees. Big elevation gain in a short distance up to Olympic Ridge, then a steady ridge walk until the final ascent and the panoramic views are outstanding from the top. 3 hrs to the top and 2 hrs 40 mins back down. Distance 16.4km with a 1335m elevation gain
Posted By: tyfung
- Mon Jul 05 21:55:50 UTC 2010
UpsideHigh elevation, chanllenging trails, unique geographical features, spectacular scenery at the end and during the trail. Very satisfying/accomplished feeling at the end. Downsidegreat elevation gain in short period of walking. lack of signage when trying to reach the base area only opened for 4 months of the year due to winter as well as animal breeding season. Commenthigh elevation provides you with the best scene available even if you have been to rockies multiple times. It feels just like going to CN tower and you get to see Toronto from above. You can walk the streets of toronto forever but seeing it from above is totally different. Similarly, the peak offers high above perspective of the rockies where you see waves after waves of mountain tops. Its worth it, no doubt about it . hopefully you are either experienced hiker are simply young and has brute strength in you to take you through the whole trail - 16km
Posted By: longleggedhiker
- Mon Jul 05 01:11:59 UTC 2010
UpsideOutstanding views on the highest maintained trail in Canada, exciting mountain terrain, an outstanding full day hike, whichever way you go. DownsideIt is a steep climb up to the summit; 1400 m from Piegon Mountain -or- 1350 m from Ribbon Creek
The south ridge up to the summit can bake on a hot summers day; if you are doing the Ribbon Creek to summit and back, START EARLY. CommentThis is an excellent hike, definitley one of the best in the Canadain Rockies.
You can do the full traverse from Piegon Mountain to Ribbon Creek (or vise versa) 16.9 km, 8 hours. Requires you to have someone drop you off at one end, and drive to the other end to pick you up. Moderatley popular.
OR North approach to summit and back, 21 km, 12 hours. Least popular option.
OR South approach to summit and back, 12.8 km, 9 hours. Most popular option, by far.
Bring plenty of food and water and don't forget your camera, you will be reaching for it at every twist and trun in the trail.
This trail is subject to an annual srping closure. CLOSED April 1. Re-opens June 21.
Posted By: unipsycho
- Mon Jun 28 07:01:38 UTC 2010
CommentWhoops. I can't add. 3.5hrs to reach summit (from 9:30 to 1PM).
Posted By: unipsycho
- Mon Jun 28 06:58:21 UTC 2010
CommentForgot to include this. Took 4.5 hrs to reach the summit packing in my mountain unicycle. I rode about 10% on the way up. Took 2 hrs to descend from summit as I was able to ride about 33% out.
Posted By: unipsycho
- Mon Jun 28 06:46:00 UTC 2010
UpsideBreathtaking views, varied terrain, an absolute amazing summit view in all directions. A superb full day hike. DownsideIt's a lot of elevation gain to the summit (1500+ m), only open after June 21 due to goat lambs and there was still plenty of snow hiding the trail on June 26.