The black prince cirque interpretive trail is located in the Kananaskis, Bow valley area of Alberta. This trail is about 2 hours west of Calgary, around 160 km. It is right off of Smith Dorrien trail, 742, which is accessed from Kananaskis Trail road after the Kings Creek Ridge trailhead.
This a less frequented and easy trail that has a small parking lot right at the start. In total, the trail distance clocks in at around 5 km. This is a loop trail that goes around a small lake at the midway point and can be completed within 2 hours.
The trail starts off with a slow incline and gain, and toward the midway point of the trail you gain about 430 m. It is well paved and well maintained and very friendly for kids and pets. Parents traveling with smaller children can benefit from getting a hiking carrier and walking the trail with their hands free to take in some of the nature. Pets must be kept on a leash on the trail.
When you reach the lake and are feeling adventurous, you can continue on for another 4 to 5 km around the lake and up the mountain, to the top of the waterfall. Some people have needed poles, but that’s your call. There have also been instances of marsh cutting off people’s pathways, so tread carefully.
The trail is also very good during the winter months for snowshoeing as it offers a very beginners’ level experience. It is good to visit the trail if you want to get into the snowshoeing activity and practice to get better. In some instances, the trail may not be blazed after fresh snow and that offers a unique experience to go off the trail and get adventurous!
We recommend you pack some nutrition bars and food packets or sandwiches to eat on the trail or at the midway point. You are better off procuring these items from Calgary or right before you exit highway 1. There are not a lot of options close to the trailhead for food and other necessities.
This trail is less frequented and hence you must wear the right footwear as per the season. As far as clothing is concerned, layer up during the winter the months with gloves and snowshoes. Keep a packet of glove warmers with you all the time, for emergencies. The cell network out here can get unreliable, and hence you be sure to carry a first aid kit with you all the time. Parents traveling with children, pack some extra food items for after the hike. Some hikers have also suggested carrying bear spray!
This trail offers an amazing opportunity for high school and junior high students to experience the magnificence of the Bow valley. Along with that, there are a lot of hiking related elements like safety, survival, compass reading, foraging, cooking that we explore while on this trail. This helps students connect with nature and also connect their curriculum with the real world.