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“The Northover Ridge loop is a beautiful trail that will take you along a high alpine ridge and past three mountain lakes”
— Adopt These Trails!
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Lake — River/Creek — Swimming — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
This is a fair way into the backcountry, so make sure someone knows where you are, and be sure you are prepared for any accidents.
To do this run in its most common form, start at the Interlakes parking lot by Upper Kananaskis Lake. The trail will head north and cross a small dam before turning west to circumnavigate the lake. The trail will split about 2 km in. The right-hand fork will take you to the Forks Campground.
At the Forks, you'll continue on toward Three Isle Lake. On the way, you'll encounter a headwall. It is a fairly good climb, but nothing overly difficult. Shortly after, you'll reach Three Isle Lake. Skirt around the south side of the lake, still heading west. Once around the lake, the trail will bend south, and you'll head through the drainage basin toward the slopes leading up to Northover Ridge. There is not much of a maintained trail through the basin, but the scree slope ahead is obvious. It is quite a climb up to the ridge, but there are some switchbacks to follow. This will take you up to a saddle, at which point, you'll turn left and head straight up another slope before reaching the top.
Follow the trail, now heading southeast. You'll skirt around a cliff edge; be careful here because it is a long drop down. After that, there is a short, maybe 20 foot, section where you'll run along a very narrow section of ridge with steep drops on both sides. After that the ridge, it is wide open. The views along here are incredible on a clear day, and you can easily see four or five mountain ranges retreating in the distance. It is covered in shale and talus, so running may be slow, but there is little concern of exposure.
Before heading up Northover Mountain proper, the trail will drop down to the south into BC and towards a couple small lakes. Often, there is snow on this slope, so enjoy the boot skiing as you descend. The trail clearly continues to the south, and you'll drop down through a gully before bending to the east, down a grassy slope, and towards Aster Lake through its drainage basin. The trail goes around both sides of the lake; the north side will require a stream crossing, but the south side is longer; the choice is yours.
Once on the other side, you'll spend a little time traveling along Aster Creek before descending the headwall across scree slopes above Hidden Lake. The view along this section look out over both Hidden Lake and Upper Kananaskis Lake, so make sure to take some pictures. Eventually you'll get back into the trees and jog around the south side of Hidden Lake.
The trail will then spit you out onto the main trail around Upper Kananaskis.