One of our best hikes last summer was the hike to Windtower via West Wind Pass. We did the hike in the end of July and the weather couldn’t have been better – it wasn’t even that windy on top of Windtower.

This hike starts from Spray Lakes Reservoir south of Canmore along the dirt road Smith Dorrien Trail. Trailhead is at 1707 m (5600 ft). This area is beautiful and just driving to the lake to for a stroll would be worth the trip. But we were planning on getting up there – the tower is at 2695 m (8842 ft) so just short of 1000 meter elevation gain ahead of us.

Canadian Rocky Mountains

See the shoulder in the upper right hand corner that drops into certain death (we’ll get back to that later) –  that is Windtower – our destination.  

First leg of the hike is to West Wind Pass at 2085 m (6841 ft). The hike up to the pass is not long, just above 2 kilometres. But it has some fairly steep sections and had my hubby sweating like Niagara Falls. Make sure you bring enough water because there is none to find on the trail. This section of the hike is mostly below the tree line but has some open spots where you get a view over where you are heading.

Canadian Rocky Mountains

West Wind Pass – and a well deserved re-hydration rest

Once you are at the pass you are literally sitting beneath Windtower. From here the tower looks so close, but unless you are a mountain goat (check out this post to compare if you are not sure) there is quite a detour to make it safely to the top. Moving on from West Wind Pass you traverse beneath the tower until you get to the south side of the tower where the incline is less challenging and you don’t have to scramble up. At this point the trail turns north-east and you are heading directly towards the tower. At this spot the view over Spray Lakes Reservoir is stunning and the perfect stop for a romantic lunch.

Canadian Rocky Mountains

The newlyweds (28 days into our marriage) enjoying lunch break 

The last section is a steady slope towards the summit on a bit of a loose footing. There is little vegetation shielding you from the wind at this elevation so this is probably not a hike for a very windy day, but on this warm day the small breeze was very welcome.

Canadian Rocky Mountains

I got a head start after lunch and is in the upper right hand corner of the photo

Getting to the top I spent the first 5 minutes at safe distance from the edge. My legs felt a bit shaky after the hike up so I didn’t thrust them to carry me to the edge. After some water and snacks I felt energised again and got some photos of the hubby posing on the edge. From up here you have a view over Bow Valley and Canmore towards north-east and Spray Lake towards south-west. You are surrounded by mountains in all 360 degrees. Stunning!

Canadian Rocky Mountains

On the summit at Windtower (2695m) with Bow Valley in the distance

Canadian Rocky Mountains

Rewarding views of the Rocky Mountains

Canadian Rocky Mountains

Stay away from the loose rocks on the edge, slipping here is not going to end well (refer to earlier comment on certain death)

Canadian Rocky Mountain

Happy hiker on the way back to West Wind Pass

Hiking stats

Difficulty: Strenuous 

Length: 11 km roundtrip

Elevation gain: 988 m (3242 ft) 

Duration: 6 hours


Thanks for stopping by, your comments are much appreciated. I would like to hear what you think, chime in with your thoughts!

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