Home Destinations Marvelous Midnight Peak, Kananaskis

Marvelous Midnight Peak, Kananaskis

by Karen Ung

Midnight Peak is an easy scramble, only 75 minutes from Calgary, that offers awesome views of Kananaskis Valley and surrounding peaks. With almost 1,000 metres of elevation gain, you have to earn those views, but you don’t need to be an experienced scrambler to reach the summit. The peak is usually snow free from June to late October, so it’s a popular early/late season objective.

Midnight Peak, Kananaskis

Midnight Peak Route Description

Patti and I departed Calgary under sunny skies, excited to bag a new peak. You can only do Ha Ling and Yamnuska so many times! From Baldy Pass parking lot, we crossed the highway and followed the well-defined trail through the trees. Within an hour, we had travelled 4 km to the pass and climbed almost 500 metres. Sadly, there was not much to see from the pass, so we sipped some water and carried on.

From the the pass, we stuck to climber’s right and found some cairns marking the way. We followed them for a while, then skirted the trees (to the right) and scrambled up the scree. The last section was extremely steep so I took lots of photos as an excuse to stop and catch my breath.

About 75 minutes later, we were standing on top of Midnight Peak. It was certainly one of the easier mountains we’d climbed, but the views were outstanding! I would definitely do this mountain again!

We saw some people head north on the ridge then descend on skier’s right (east), but I thought it would be a lot faster to descend to the west. Don’t do that! My “shortcut” added on at least an hour to our descent and involved route finding and hands on scrambling that would be downright dangerous if the trail were snow covered or icy.

The best way down is the way you came. Quick and easy! Trekking poles are recommended as it’s so darn steep.

Midnight Peak At a Glance

  • Distance:  10 km round trip (4 km, 490 m gain to the pass; add 1 km, 460 m gain to the summit)
  • Elevation Gain:  950 m gain
  • Time: Allow 4-5 hours
  • Nearest Washrooms: Baldy Pass Parking Lot
  • Stroller Friendly? No.
  • Distance from Calgary: 65 km
  • Directions from Calgary: Travel west on highway 1. Take the exit for Kananaskis Trail / Highway 40 S. Follow Hwy 40 for 14 km to the Baldy Pass parking lot on the right hand side of the road.
  • Parking: Baldy Pass parking lot
  • Trailhead: The trailhead is on the east side of the highway. Cross Highway 40 at the crosswalk. The trailhead is signed “Baldy Pass Trail”.

Know Before You Go

A Kananaskis Conservation Pass is required to park in Kananaskis. Purchase your pass online at https://www.alberta.ca/kananaskis-conservation-pass.aspx.

This trail is hikeable most of the year, but I do not recommend hiking this peak in winter. Please be avalanche aware and research conditions before attempting any summit!

What to Bring

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Good hiking boots and trekking poles, and a windproof/waterproof shell are must-haves on this hike. There’s no shade on the top part of the mountain, so make sure you bring plenty of water!

Always carry The Ten Essentials including: water, extra food, extra clothes, a headlamp, a GPS/compass and map of the area, bug spray (this one contains 20% icaridin and will repel ticks), sunscreen, and bear spray

In winter conditions, traction devices such as Kahtoola Microspikes (Available from Amazon, MEC, and Breathe Outdoors (formerly Camper’s Village), or Hillsound Trail Crampons (Available at Amazon and Sport Chek) are recommended. 

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