Albertawow

Mount Lady McDonald Hike

  Ratings:    Ratings 4 Star
Level: Difficult Time/Dist: 6 to 7 hours / 6.25K return Elevation Gain: 1211m

Trailhead: Park at the Cougar Creek day use parking lot located in the town of Canmore, west side of Cougar creek and Elk Run Boulevard. Expect crowds of people here during the summer months.

Description: Mount Lady McDonald is a difficult hike do to its steep south face and high elevation (1211m, 3975 ft.). The last 60 meters of the summit ridge is an exposed scramble and should be avoided if any snow is lying on the ridge. Most hikers avoid this last short ridge section as a fall from here would likely be fatal. From the Cougar Creek day use parking lot, walk north along the west side of the creek for approximately 1km. Locate the signed trail head near the edge of the trees leading towards Mount Lady McDonald. Continue on along a well worn trail as it works it's way up through a pine and spruce forest. The trail then meanders it's way through and over a large boulder slope offering nice views of the valley below. After two hours or so you'll finally arrive at the helicopter pad and an abandoned tea house located approximately 250m's below the summit ridge. The helicopter pad makes for a nice rest stop. Most hikers stop here after looking towards the steep talus slopes straight ahead. Continue on along the scree trail past a paraglide ramp to a second bench. Now the real grind begins, keep ascending, choosing and cursing the best route through very loose and steep scree until you reach the ridge top. Once you arrive on the ridge you'll certainly be glad it's over with and be rewarded with outstanding views of the Bow Valley and Canmore way below. If you're an experienced scrambler and accept the risk you can continue across the last short section of the ridge to the true summit. Descend the same way you came. The descent effort off Mount Lady McDonald felt worse to me than the ascent. This is really a big hike complete with a rubber leg finish. Interesting to note Mount Lady McDonald was named after Prime Minister John A. McDonalds wife Susan Agnes McDonald. Pictures below were taken late March.

Near Here: Local campgrounds include Bow Valley Campground, Elk Flats Group Campground, Lac Des Arc Campground, Bow River Campground, Three Sisters Campground and Mount Kidd Campground. Trailheads to Ha Ling Peak, East End Of Rundle, Mount Yamnuska, Prairie View Mountain Bike or HikeMount Baldy, Aylmer Lookout and Lake Minnewanka are all located near here. You are in bear country.
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Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park
Cougar Creek Parking Lot  
   
Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park
Cougar Creek  
   
Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park
Looking Towards Ha Ling Peak  
   
Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park
   
Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park
 
 
 
Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park
   
Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park
Helicopter Pad And Weather Station  
   
Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park
Canmore Below Mount Lady McDonald Summit
   
Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park
   
Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park
Summit Ridge  
   
Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park
   
Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park
   
 
   
Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park
   
Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park
   
Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park
   
Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park
   
Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park Mount Lady McDonald Bow Valley Provincial Park
   
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