Finally some sunshine and melted snow! I’d consider this to be the first hike that I’ve done in the non-risky shoulder season – by non-risky, I mean generally dry and not likely to involve unexpected snowshoeing. Of course, with the mountains being as they are, that’s always a possibility, but the area has had a wonderful stretch of rain and sun which has really helped to keep snow levels down!
Eagle Hill itself is quite an easy hike, at about 13k round trip with rolling hills equating to 300-400 meters of elevation gain. The route takes you by Sibbald Pond, which at this time of year was filled with some sort of waterfowl – we could hear them from a ways off quacking and such! Following that, it sticks to the bottom of the nearby ridge, eventually ascending sharply to the top of the hill. The views from the top are spectacular: to the south, you can see a good chunk of Kananaskis Country, including a bit of Moose Mountain, and Deer Ridge nearby. To the north, there is a gorgeous view of the eastern Rockies – Yamnuska, Mount Baldy and Barrier Lake are all visible.
On the way back, we chose to do a little bit of bushwhacking onto the northern part of Deer Ridge (where there is no trail). We dubbed it “D4 Hill” as the uphill definitely changed the difficulty of the hike overall for us (CORA uses a rating system from D1-D8 to rank the difficulty of activities). Navigating there involved crossing over the decidedly marshy valley area between the two ridges. It was a little wet! Once we got up, there wasn’t much of a view, so we headed back down, but it was good navigation practice. I would definitely suggest doing the real documented route for Deer Ridge if you head out this way! This increased our distance to closer to 15k, and added another 100-200m of elevation.
Overall, it was a great day out in the mountains, and made all of us excited for more routes becoming less snowbound very soon!