I took the above photo of Lady MacDonald and Grotto mountains yesterday while hiking the Highline trail with Tessa. As you can see, the upper portions of both mountains have a nice snow cover. The trail, though, was in great shape. It’s a bit damp, and you’ll encounter a few small puddles, but I don’t think my boots even got muddy.
With the Highline trail practically being in my Canmore back yard, I’ve hiked it many times, in all directions, and have also explored all the outliers. Most hikers will start at Quarry Lake and do the 7.2K loop, but there are numerous spurs and offshoots, some with incredibly interesting sights, that will allow you to mix n’ match a hike to fit your own unique ability and fitness, and depending on what you’d like to see and experience.
The distances on the trail markers are inconsistent with the distances on the Gem Trek map. The elevation gain indicated on the trailhead kiosk is inaccurate according to my altimeter. My reading indicates an elevation gain of 230 metres.
The easiest place to find a trailhead is at the Quarry Lake day use parking lot. It’s also the parking lot for the main off-leash area in Canmore. If you’re coming from downtown Canmore, or on Three Sisters Drive, go towards the Nordic Centre on Spray Lakes road.
Approximately .5K after turning onto the Spray lakes road, you’ll encounter the parking lot on your left. There is no sign. Chances are, you’ll see happy dogs frolicking in the big open field. Park your vehicle, and proceed to the information Kiosk for the Highline trail. The trail starts at the kiosk and proceeds for .5K through the off-leash area at which time you’ll emerge from the trees and find yourself under the powerline. You can do the loop in either direction, clockwise or counter-clockwise. I prefer clockwise.
You can also find a trailhead at the Peaks of Grassi residential neighbourhood at the east end of the cul-de-sac. There’s limited street parking available. There’s no informative kiosk, however, at this trailhead.
Another trailhead is at the end of Three Sisters Blvd. There is lots of street parking available on Hubman Landing. This is the extreme eastern end of the trail, and would be the best place to park if you want to hike along Three Sisters Creek. There isn’t even a sign at this trailhead. The first trail marker is about 450 meteres into the hike.
The Kananaskis Trails blog has some good information on the Highline trail Kananaskisblog.