How to Explore the Backcountry Around Crowsnest Pass

Less than three hours south of Calgary, the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass offers stunning peaks and a storied past without the crowds of places like Banff and the Bow Valley Corridor.

View from the route of Uplift Adventures’ Massif backpacking trip. Photo by Troi Crombie Photography.

On a year-round basis, Banff and the Bow Valley Corridor see millions of tourists come and go. And for good reason: the incredible scenery, natural environment and history of the area is ultimately compelling. But this popularity means that even backcountry areas are often crowded during the summer season, making it difficult to truly go off the beaten path.

Less than three hours south of Calgary, the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass has its own stunning peaks and storied past — without the same kinds of crowds. If you’re keen to explore the backcountry around “the Pass,” a local guiding company, such as Uplift Adventures, can help you get out there and stay safe while enjoying the wonders of the wilderness.

Uplift offers hiking and backpacking trips in the South Canadian Rockies — a region that encompasses Waterton Lakes National Park, Castle and Castle Wildland provincial parks and Crowsnest Pass. On an Uplift experience, guests might find themselves trekking untouched and undeveloped remote regions.

“It kind of puts life in perspective when you’re able to get away from the hustle and bustle, and the craziness that goes on in our lives, and just be,” says Heather Davis, Uplift Adventures’ lead guide and founder.

Davis explains that while some hiking and backpacking routes they take their clients on have established infrastructure, others have only what Mother Nature has provided. The guides will set up a safe and effective camp, including a latrine and proper bear hangs.

“It really is off the beaten path, and I think that’s pretty unique,” Davis says. “It’s truly remote and wild.”

All of Uplift’s guides are certified through the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and they ensure the group’s impact on the environment is minimal. Uplift also considers accessibility in its mountain adventures; the company aims to match the person and their objective to an appropriate trip, whether that’s a hike designed for beginners, an intro to backpacking course or a five-day trip for experienced trekkers. Two-hour, drop-in hikes for beginners start at $30 and full-day expeditions are about $100.


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Wilderness First-Aid

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This article appears in the May 2024 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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