Home Destinations Hike Centennial Ridge to see wildflowers in summer and larches in fall

Hike Centennial Ridge to see wildflowers in summer and larches in fall

by Karen Ung

Centennial Ridge, the highest maintained trail in the Canadian Rockies, is a beautiful ridgewalk in the heart of Kananaskis.

While Centennial Ridge is a long and strenuous trail, there is no need to summit Mount Allen to enjoy gorgeous views (but it is definitely worthwhile if you have the time and energy)! Departing from Ribbon Creek, you reach meadows full of wildflowers in only 3 steep kilometres. In autumn, hike a little further to see golden larches.

View from the 2nd lookout on Centennial Ridge Trail , Kananaskis

Route Description

Take Hidden Trail from Ribbon Creek parking lot.  The trailhead is near the information kiosk on the north side of the parking lot. After 300 metres, turn left.

The trail to Centennial Ridge is well marked.

From here, the trail gets very steep! You will gain about 600 m over the next 2 kilometres, but it’s totally worth it. Hike through mixed forest to the first lookout (a short ways off trail to the left).

Return to the main trail and continue to gain elevation. You will leave the trees shortly and be surrounded by meadows that are filled with wildflowers in early July. There’s a nice flat area about 3.2 km from the parking lot that makes a nice snack/picnic spot; we call it “second lookout.”

The trail is well marked with signs and orange diamond-shaped markers above treeline, so no route finding is required. Enjoy the trail and wildflowers! Hike as far as you wish, enjoy sweeping views of Kananaskis Valley, then return the way you came. Treat yourself to ice cream or dinner at nearby Kananaskis Village afterwards.

Centennial Ridge Trail at a Glance 

Centennial Ridge Trail to 1st and 2nd Viewpoints
Image credit: Google Maps
  • Distance (one way): 3.2 km to second lookout; 4.3 km to Olympic Summit; 6.8 km to Mount Allen Summit
  • Elevation Gain: 680 m elevation gain to second lookout; 940 m to Olympic Summit; 1340 m to Mount Allen Summit
  • Washrooms: Pit toilets at Ribbon Creek parking lot
  • Stroller Friendly: No

Going Further

The bump above the second lookout is a false summit. You will ascend a few more bumps before reaching Olympic Summit. Look for larches near the second bump if you’re hiking here in late September.

Beyond Olympic Summit is the “rock garden” (about 6 km from the parking lot) – a grouping of large, conglomerate rocks and pinnacles – and summit of Mount Allen.

Know Before You Go

There is an Annual Seasonal Closure: April 1 – June 21 for the bighorn sheep lambing season.

You are in bear country! Carry bear spray, travel in a group, and make noise to alert bears of your presence. See our Bear Safety Tips for Hikers for more information.

Where to Stay

Ribbon Creek Hostel and Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge are your closest options. 

The nearest campground is Mount Kidd RV Park. There is also great camping in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park about 40 minutes away. For more information, please see our Peter Lougheed Provincial Park Camping & Recreation Guide.

Centennial Ridge Trail, Kananaskis
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