Tent Ridge Horseshoe: An Epic Day Out



Elevation Gain

881 Meters

Avg. Pace

21:03 / km



Cellular Coverage: No Coverage

Trail Type: Loop

The Tent Ridge Horseshoe Story

As a man a large part of my identity is who I am as a father. So when my 20 year old daughter calls and says “Hey, I have two days off. Can I come see you in Canmore?” you make sure your calendar is clear.

I had been eyeballing Tent Ridge for a while so when M said she wanted to come for a hike I thought this was the perfect opportunity. This one was more of a scramble then a run. There are certainly some opportunities to run sections of this one but that was not the objective on this day. 

I was super stoked to get to share the mountains with M and she warned me she was a little out of shape so this might be a slow one. Ha! Out of shape at 20 is a whole lot different then out of shape at 50+. She managed just fine. 

Getting There

The trailhead was about an hour out of Canmore and just passed the Smutwood Trailhead that I did the weekend prior. Up past Spray Lakes toward Mt. Engadine.

You turn right at the Mt. Engadine turnoff and follow the road for a KM or so to the parking area. There were no public restrooms at the trailhead. Google Maps Directions Here.

Tent Ridge Horseshoe Trail

This trail is a loop so you have the option of doing it in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. We chose to do it clockwise and while I have not done it the other way around I think the crux scramble would be a little bit challenging going the other way.  

The first 3 km of this one was a fairly gentle grade up and then quickly turned steep. At about 3.5km we came up to some young ladies staring at a large rock face asking us “Is this the trail?!?” to which I replied I was not 100% certain of the route. The face they were looking at was very steep and quite exposed so I looked for an alternate route with a little less exposure. 

Tent Ridge Horseshoe
Part of the scramble section of Tent Ridge Horseshoe

We traversed down and to the right a bit before scrambling back up again. This was still steep and M kept repeating “I don’t like this. I don’t like this!” So if you are a little squemish with steep scrambles this one may not be for you.

Unfortunately I did not get much footage or photos of the crux as I was more focused on our route and movement. I don’t want to overstate the difficulty, however, It is important to understand when these “hikes” become “scrambles”. There is a good article over on Friends of Kananaskis page that discusses this. It is well worth the read. You can find the article here. 

The following clip is Mikaela coming over the top of the steep section.  

Once we were up on the ridgeline the trail was pretty solid. There was not a lot of exposure and the trail provided a wide path. As the name suggests, the ridge is a horseshoe with three distinct summits that you can see in the fly by video. The first is the weather station where we stopped for a bite to eat. The second peak was a bit of a climb again and M found the elevation gain on this part challenging. 

The trail goes around the back of the peak and comes around so there is no scrambling required to get to the top though it looked like there might be as we approached. 

The last (west) ridge was the longest and had a little bit of sections where we scrambled. I made the mistake of going higher than I think I needed to and ended up scrambling down a bit to the trail. 

The views along the entire ridge were absolutely incredible and we were fortunate that we had perfect weather. 

This one will be on my favourite list for a long time and I am sure we will be back here many times. 

Our hope is that these recounts of hikes, runs and scrambles will inspire you to get out and explore. Just remember that mountain exploration does require a fair bit of skill and knowledge. Michelle and I have done numerous backcountry courses, spent hours learning wilderness safety and continue to refine our knowledge. If you are looking for courses to expand your knowledge and skills we have enjoyed working with Yamnuska Mountain Adventures

I found an article recently that summed up what it means to “Do your research.” that is worth the read if you plan to spend any time out in the backcountry.  

I would love to hear from you in the comments on your backcountry experiences and what things you might like to see in future articles. 

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