Pigeon Mountain isn’t really one that you think of… at least it wasn’t really one that I though about much, until I heard about an old abandoned ski hill on the side of it; then I couldn’t think about anything else! I don’t know why I didn’t see it sooner actually, you can see the scars from where the runs were being cut in as you drive East from Canmore towards Calgary. There they are, plain as day but I had been driving by them for years without a second glance. It was time to go and have a look.
Sean and I headed up on a Sunday, we were both a little bagged at the start as we’d each done some fairly good hikes the day before. Still, we made a valiant effort at it. Starting at the slightly run-down timeshare place across the highway from Dead Man’s Flats we worked our way along a trail that conveniently followed some transmission lines. It was a nice day and a decent walk without too much elevation or effort really required, a good thing to do after a longer hike.
We kept our eyes peeled for signs of human presence but other than the power lines there wasn’t really much to see. We figured our best bet was to follow the trail and then work our way towards the top and hopefully along the way we’d find ourselves in the abandoned ski runs.
After a while the trail went past an old rotting bridge which stopped at and poked around for a while. Near the bridge was a trail leading off into the woods, but the flagging said “Pest Control Area” and we weren’t sure if it lead to something fun, or was just a route used for Pest Control. Figuring we couldn’t miss the opportunity we took the trail. It was nicer than the wide road we’d be on before despite the mess of trees and roots and boulders in the way. It carried us up through the forest and cut off a ton of distance, unfortunately it also lead to a bit of a cliff.
Not to be deterred we found a way across the cliff and then climbed up some huge moss covered rock bands which opened up into a nice clear meadow.
View towards Canmore
Hello Ladies, lookin’ good!
The trail up was easy to follow and since we really couldn’t see any sign of human interference or ski runs we figured we may as well head for the top. A few times we were sure we saw something but more often than not it was just imagination. There is, after all, a fine line between a positive mental attitude and self delusion!
We did see four magnificent stag whitetails though that were just hanging out in the alpine, the didn’t take much notice of us and we got a few good pictures
It’s really a slow and steady plod to the top, although it turns out to be more elevation than it looks its still quite easy.
View along the ridge
In the end we spent a good day on a fairly easy hike and gained 1000m of elevation, almost without meaning to! And if you really want to see the ski runs, the easiest way is just to drive into the timeshare place and walk up the ridge behind the cabins… they’re right there. Of course, we didn’t find that out until we’d already been to the top!