Little Buddha via Powderface in Kananaskis: Hiking Guide

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If you’re looking for a quick win with big views, you might be looking for Little Buddha via Powderface. It’s a win. I mean really, you could even work a full day first and manage to hike this one before sunset. I can’t say much expect that this hike was a lot of fun and the views exceeded expectation.

The Low Down

  • Distance: 50km (40min) drive from Calgary or 90km (55min) drive from Canmore.
  • Directions: From Hwy 1, take the 22 South (Exit 161A, nearest the PetroCan) towards Bragg Creek. Drive 17kms on the 22 to Bragg Creek. Take the 758 towards Kananaskis. Turn right (west) on Route 66. Follow route 66 into the park. Parking and trailhead will be indicated by signs and on the right side.
  • Cell phone range: Yes.
  • Trail Distance: 3.5km out and back.
  • Elevation Gain: 300m.
  • Duration: 1.5 – 2 hrs.
  • Dogs: Permitted.
  • Crowds: Moderate traffic.
  • Washrooms: outhouses on site at parking lot.
  • Entrance fee: Free.
  • Season: Open year round, best used May-November. Check with
  • More information: Visit the AllTrails for info and trail map. Verify that route 66 is open prior to attempting this hike.

In Good Company

It seems that after hiking Tent Ridge, EEOR, and Nahani Ridge together, my hiking buddy Ashley and I seem to have some challenging luck with trails. Ha ha. Perhaps that’s an understatement really. Thankfully, safety always trumps views! There have been times that despite being oh-so-close, the decision is made not to summit. You’ve never met a person more satisfied with a false summit or ridge than myself. It’s never been about the summit, and always been about losing yourself in the beautiful landscapes. Finding a hiking buddy that’s alright with your own philosophy makes the hikes all the better!

Parking

The trailhead and parking lot are clearly marked off of route 66. There is plenty of space to park and washrooms on site.

Powderface Trail

This section of the trail is excellent. The path is wide, cleared, and has a mild incline in sections. Basically, it’s a lovely walk in the woods. If you’re hiking in the winter though, having micro spikes is a nice bonus. #gamechanger It was my first time using them and the grip = confidence = more enjoyable hiking.

The trail leads through the treed area to the little wooden bridge, from that point there’s only another 350-400m to go before reaching the start of the switchbacks leading up to Little Buddha.

Little Buddha Trail

Thank goodness for switchbacks! The trail looks like it goes straight up, but no fear, there’s actually about a dozen switchbacks that take you up. That said, it challenged my cardio. Ha ha, maybe more trail running training is in order! Ouff. Managed a semi constant pace. And even though my hiking buddy is part mountain goat, she’s used to my trail speed and was great at enjoying the views at each turn while I caught up.

At the top of the switchback you come to a large rock area that is often used by climbers for bouldering. In the summer months, keep to the trail’s right to give the climbers room!

From there, the trail follows the side of the boulders, with a few sections of loose rocks. This is perhaps the most technical part of the hike, yet completely manageable. If you have a fear of heights this might be a challenge. The exposed areas are only for three short sections, and you’re there!

Little Buddha Summit

When Ashley mentioned that this was the best quick win around and have incredible views, she wasn’t kidding. Climbing over that last bit of rock to the summit I was all smiles.

The views are wonderful!

An almost panoramic view offering up the surrounding mountains and Elbow Valley.

Nourish Thy Self

The Heart of Bragg Creek cafe pretty much has my heart. The cafe and yoga studio not only has an oh-so-very-instagramable environment but serves up some mean vegan dishes and treats.

Actually, we discovered this cafe through instagram. The first time, ordering all-the-carbs. Because really, it’s all delicious. A clear stand out however was the avocado toast and oat milk lattes. Oh, and if you happen to be there when they make cinnamon rolls, do yourself a solid and have one. #littlepieceofheaven

Wrapping Up

So the other day when we hiked up King Creek without spikes in October? Yeah, that’s never happening again. Spikes are the best and I’m never leaving home without them again. Ha ha ha.

Last year we hiked Nahahi Ridge in the same area which is another, albeit longer, hike. If there’s still time in the day though, you can always hop over and walk around Elbow Falls which is a lovely, family friendly, accessible spot to explore.

Oh, and thank you Ash for forever being my instagram and blog model on the trails! It’s appreciated. Payment will be in lattes and pastries. 😉

Victoria xo