Heart Mountain Horseshoe Trail

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Bow Valley Provincial Park

Heart Mountain Horseshoe Trail is a 7.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Municipal District of Bighorn No. 8, Alberta, Canada that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 7.3 miles Elevation Gain: 3,083 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

cave

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

scramble

snow

NOTE: Users have reported that the direct route to the split in the trail is closed off for reclamation, so you need to follow a small loop, a bit upstream, cross two bridges then loop back around. The detour takes around 5 minutes. While dogs are allowed on leash, users have reported this trail is not suitable for dogs.

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 day ago

This is definitely not for any beginner hiker or anyone that is afraid of heights. This is the first “hard” trail I’ve done and first summit this summer. We finished it just over 8 hrs at a slow pace with multiple breaks. We did the full loop in a counter-clockwise direction. In the beginning part in the counter-clockwise direction, it’s pretty much straight up climb. The scrambling can be overwhelming at times but just had to take it one step a time. As someone who does not do wall climbing or scramble, it was doable but challenging at times. It was dry today so lots of available spots to grip. It was quite windy at the top but the temperature was great so wasn’t cold. The ridges were very windy at times and can be scary if you have a fear of heights; stay low or use poles for stabilization. A few areas with exposure but only for short periods. Few areas at the very top still with snow but have been packed down by previous hikers. Definitely did not expect the multiple summits and going up and down after reaching Heart Mountain; definitely an option to go back down (out and back) after reaching that first summit. The first part of the descent after the last summit was unexpected and scary so take it very slow as some of the large rocks are loose. Direct descent on rocks for first 1/2 of descent but it gets better once you reach the trees/tree line. Recommend downloading the map offline so you don’t get lost. Trail markers are pretty obvious going up but once at the top after Heart Mountain, the markers may be more difficult to see/find. Overall, gorgeous views all around! I don’t recommend it for any beginner / newly moderate hiker. Pack lots of water!

hiking
rocky
scramble
snow
2 days ago

Should’ve paid more attention to the previous reviews: this is not for the faint of heart! I’m an intermediate biker but this was extremely challenging. Would have been a fun trail to work on scrambling and fitness in better weather. We went up counter-clockwise on rainy May 31. Two groups ahead of us missed the marker but as they were ahead we blindly followed them. All of us got lost. We all turned back, found the correct route, and once we reached the summit it started raining. In the snow at the top we ran into another group that was confused about the path ahead so all our groups turned around and came back down the exposed cliff face in the rain and extreme winds, basically on our butts for at least an hour on wet rock coming back down. Poor decision to go up with rain warnings but it was a difficult climb despite that. Do not go as a beginner or with any fear of heights - it’s very steep!

hiking
scramble
2 days ago

Just did an out and back to the heart summit and it’s always a great quick hike. The scrambling can be overwhelming for beginners, so take it one step at a time and don’t shy away from turning back if you reach a point of feeling unsafe. I’ve done this quite a few times and I somehow always end up using a different route... recently there were better trail markers, but try and stay away from the exposed right side if that kind of exposure makes you uncomfortable.

no shade
scramble
snow
3 days ago

Did it May 30, 2020. Trail in great condition, but some snowy patches as you start going along the ridge between Heart and Grant MacEwan, no spikes needed. Scramble is moderate to easy, but definitely not for beginners as there is a little exposure in some places going up to the first summit. Heart Creek Trail was absolutely packed on the walk down, so be prepared to step off to let people by. Bring tons of water, I used about 3 liters over the course of 5.5 hours. Got turned around in the beginning, you will have to go up Heart Creek Trail for a bit and cross two bridges, going left after the second one to get back on track. Highly recommend this hike for anyone moderately experienced looking to challenge themselves.

hiking
3 days ago

Great hike, we did it counter clockwise. Tough up hill to the first summit it and then along the ridge is slightly up and down. But if snow left on the top but trodden enough, and you can slide down one part for some extra fun. Bring plenty of water, took us a total of 5hrs in the heat with a good lunch stop and breaks. Highly recommend!! 360 degree views from the top

hiking
4 days ago

Beautiful hike, did it counter clockwise. Snow patches at the top but spikes or snowshoes not required. Bring a lot of water, it’s a long hike it can get very hot.

no shade
rocky
scramble
4 days ago

This is definitely not a beginner hike. The scrambling has quite a bit of exposure (in my opinion). Go counterclockwise for the best experience. Recommend good hiking shoes and poles. Also, please make sure you take your garbage home with you - we saw lots of Kleenex/toliet paper and beer bottles. :(

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
snow
4 days ago

Good Hike! Went counterclockwise in 4.5hrs including lunch and some photos.

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
snow
4 days ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
snow
5 days ago

May 30, 2020. Beautiful hike! Weather was awesome. This hike has a little bit of everything, steep hike from the get go. Some scrambling, you can bypass the first two but not the last one. Scrambling is very doable, you just need to take your time. Snow in some sections as you get closer to the peak. You can slide down the snow at the start of the loop which was fun! No need for microspikes but poles will make the descent much easier and safer. Bring lots of hydration on a sunny day. Safe hiking guys!

hiking
5 days ago

Great Hike, very hot yesterday. Take extra water. Rock scrambling sections are always fun. Fair bit of snow on both sides of Grant MacEwan Peak. Spikes would be a help coming down the backside of the summit, but lots of people were doing it without. We added a log book/felt/pen to the Grant MacEwan Peak canister.

scramble
5 days ago

A classic! Definitely best to hike it counter clockwise. A bit of snow between the first two peaks but manageable!

hiking
scramble
snow
6 days ago

A beautiful hike on a beautiful day. We did this counterclockwise which I would strongly recommend. It starts with an uphill grind with lots of easy scrambling. Its good for newer scramblers because there is no exposure and not much rockfall risk. After reaching the Heart mountain peak, its an easy up and down ridge walk that transitions into a very enjoyable forest walk at the lower elevations. It offers some really great views along the way. We got to do a butt slide in the snow in one section. Probably the last one of this year. Grant MacEwan peak has a peak log canister but no log book. If someone could bring new book, pencil and ziplock bag, that would be nice for the people who follow.

hiking
6 days ago

Absolutely amazing hike on a beautiful day. Completed in 5:15 hr with a few short breaks here and there. Highly recommended.

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