Opal Ridge is a 6.4 kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.4 km
ELEVATION GAIN
1,026 m
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

forest

views

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no shade

hiking
17 days ago

We went on October 27th, 2018 and it was snowing and windy the whole way up. Crampons or microspikes required! It cleared up a bit by the time we got to the ridge, but conditions were bad enough we didn’t risk going all the way to the summit. Would love to do again in the summer!

hiking
24 days ago

Only made it to around the 2.2km mark (top of the brownish coloured hill before heading up to the shute to see the other side). It was too windy to complete on Saturday. My friends made it up to the start of the ridge. Some people were crossing the ridge towards the peak. Bring microspikes and poles and gaiters and you'll be fine. Watch out for snow in the bowl up top crossing to the ridge. This warm weather might make things interesting (av path?). Too windy for pictures. Tracked trail, foot prints to walk in. Warm weather makes snow too slushy though. I will try this again on a non-windy day. Otherwise, great trail.

3 months ago

perfect morning for a hike. definitely a rocky time climbing up and down. no wind at the top today.

hiking
3 months ago

Folks; this is a definite moderate to hard hike. Not for beginners or those who dislike cardio. You will work on this hike. True grit required; but dam it felt good to be a gangster! Poles are recommended and the views are amazing. As the thug life chose me; i would do this hike again.

3 months ago

I think this one was the hardest I went so far...!! But it was really nice hike! What it was hard was, the angle was so steep to go up... coming down was easy and quick! :) definitely recommended if u want a hard intense, a steep one!

hiking
3 months ago

This hike is definitely hard if you are not a frequent/experienced hiker. Need to scramble part way up and do a little rock climbing, we climbed without poles but they were needed at some spots for sure. It is a steep climb most of the way but walking along the ridge is amazing, the views from the top are worth it! We just went down the way you go up, it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be to get down, but apparently you can make this hike a loop by going to the end of the ridge and getting down that way.

3 months ago

This is a relatively easy to follow route. Start at the far end of the fortress gas station parking lot, and go up the left side of the creek. the trail will become obvious, but if you don't find it, keep going up til you reach the very obvious service path under the hydro wires and go left. It's a steep climb but well worth it. The ridge is very manageable, I recommend doing the full loop (from North to South). When you reach the end of the ridge, take the scree/creek down and have faith that you will rejoin an obvious path. This path leads down to the service path from the beginning and will take you back to the start for a full loop. The loop is approx 9km total. Amazing views all directions from the top!!

3 months ago

Love to comeback.. nice view

3 months ago

Beautiful hike. Poles are definitely recommend for this hike.

3 months ago

Beautiful trail. You definitely need poles for this hike for the scramble.

hiking
4 months ago

I would emphasise what others have said about loose gravel and stones... in most places there wasn't enough to 'scree surf' coming down which made it uncomfortably slippery, even with poles. That said, the view from the top is really good - just be aware what you're getting into!

4 months ago

beautiful open hike. steep all the way up until the ridge. drink a lot of water and enjoy :)

4 months ago

Beautiful hike. Park in the parking lot next to the gas station, the path starts in the east corner. Folks have left stone arrows on the paths, well directed. Switch backs most of the initial part, then 4-5 humps to get over, one final hump to the saddle and last scramble up between two massive rocks to the initial ridge. You can walk over to the other ridges which are higher from here. Highly recommend Opal.

hiking
4 months ago

A bit of a trudge but an absolutely beautiful hike. I would rate it as easy without any technical difficulties. The view from the top of the ridge is magnificent. Be sure to walk the ridge to the very end if you feel comfortable.

hiking
5 months ago

For anyone who has not done this hike yet, it is located at the North end of the gas station parking lot. Make sure to follow the creek up to the powelines, and watch for rock arrows to start the trail head.

This hike is rated moderate, although, I would say it's boarder line difficult. The first 15 minutes of the trail are through a tree line, and once you break it is a steep climb to the top. it was very windy when we hiked, and most of the hike is exposed with little to no tree cover, so a jacket was needed. Most of the climb to the top is a scramble, and parts are a little sketchy, as there is a lot of loose shale, gravel, and sharp rocks. I would suggest taking your time and looking for the best routes as you often lose the trail, or a better option can found.

The summit was also not an option for us as it was far too windy, and we would have needed polls. Still a spectacular hike, as the views are incredible, and highly recommend.

5 months ago

Beautiful hike. Steep pretty much the whole way up so I would say poles are needed, but it is all worth it for the views.

hiking
5 months ago

Hiked all the way to the summit today, despite less than ideal light rain/eventually snow throughout the day. We started early and made it up and down in 5 hours at a steady pace but with lots of stops. It's a steep trail, with some easy scrambling, but you gain elevation quickly and its easy to motivate yourself just by turning to the view behind you.

My favourite part was once the scree was climbed and the notable 'gates' came into view. Once you get here it is a grass trail up to the ridge, and the summit is about 20 minutes to your left. We weren't alone, though, as we saw some mountain sheep grazing near us.

Overall, this trail is unrelenting but not technically challenging or exposed. In nice summer weather I'm sure it's even better!

5 months ago

I have no idea how this is a moderate hike. I developed blisters and somehow a bruised toe. I did this hike today and it was a struggle and a half! Harder than what I anticipated a moderate hike would be. I only made it to the last hump just before the first ridge. I was iffy about even trying to get to the ridge because A. the wind picked up significantly and B. a struggle and a half! I decided to hike down with a couple of people just in case I get lost (as I almost did going up). I was crab-walking the whole way down. Poles are definitely beneficial for the scramble/scree. Next time I will bring poles!! If there is a next for this hike! Gorgeous views the whole way up, though.

5 months ago

Fantastic trail with breathtaking views, but a lot harder than I thought it would be, especially a certain scrambling/climbing section that I thought was really sketchy. I've done other "moderate" hikes and to me this one was harder. But I absolutely loved it and would definitely do it again.

5 months ago

early spring with snow in back bowl is glorious. good leg work out up and down.

hiking
5 months ago

Definitely would not consider moderate - would only recommend for experienced hikers. We did it as a sunrise hike. Started at 2:30am and were down by 9am spending about an hour at the peak. Tricky coming down on some of the scramble. Incredible views!

5 months ago

This was a grind! Worth the effort though, the views were incredible! The trailhead is almost immediately after the tiny creek crossing on your right hand side. We too made the mistake of walking clear past it along the telephone poles RoW.

Would not recommend this hike for small children; it was technically challenging and found myself sliding on my butt on my way down. My wheaten terrier crushed the hike, but there were definitely times we needed to give him a boost up a steep slope or guide him down a tricky path. Would highly recommend bringing poles! I did not and wished nearly the whole hike that I did.

hiking
6 months ago

I did the full ridge on May 2nd. There had been a snowfall days before - made it a hard Summit. The hike is fairly steep, and involves sections of scrambling. The view on the highest peak is incredible.

hiking
Sunday, September 10, 2017

This is definitely a moderate hike with a bit of scrambling. I did it with my 10 and 9 year old boys, but they could only make it about 3/4 of the way up. There are a few steep sections so I would not say it was kid-friendly. But the views going up are beautiful.

Park at the north end of the gas station's parking lot and follow the creek up about 150 metres until you see the trail cut into the forest on the left-side of the creek. I referred to the All Trails map on my phone a few times to ensure we were on track.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Good hike. Beware of a trail that starts right before the Opal Ridge start. Puts a damper on the outing when you hike for half an hour on a good trail to find out you are not on the right trail. There are no signs so follow the instructions VERY CAREFULLY.

Monday, August 14, 2017

My favorite hike by far. I've gone twice and it's not a well populated hike at all. Starts off with some good incline and then you hit a few spots where you have to rock climb, nothing crazy. Once you get past the first hump you start to see the beautiful views of the backside. You get to walk two ridges if you complete the hike upwards and to the right peak but I've only made it to the left peak and that was satisfying enough. Definitely will do this for a third time before the season is over! I don't recommend bringing dogs as it gets pretty loose with rock and it is easy to lose the trail at a couple points on the way down so make sure to take a lot of stops to look around to make sure you're on the right path! The smoke from the fires affected our view tremendously on Saturday so it's worth the wait if you want the full panoramic view.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Good trail but quite steep for my five year old son. He did good going up but down was more difficult for him. We didn't quite make it to the top. I'll return by myself to complete it.

hiking
Sunday, July 02, 2017

Challenging route and descent but great views

hiking
Saturday, June 24, 2017

Challenging hike for sure but probably one of the most incredible panoramic views I've ever seen. Can get a little hairy on the decent with the lose rock but the pain is worth it. Leg burner for sure!

hiking
Friday, September 04, 2015

Very hard to find/navigate trail. Excellent views minus the smoke from Washington. A lot of easy scrambling.

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