On June 15th, at 12:01am, the gates to the Highwood Pass are opened. The Highwood Pass is the highest paved road in Canada; it is over 7000 feet in elevation at the top of the pass. The road can’t be maintained over the winter (you know, avalanches and all), so it is closed from December 1st to June 15th.
This road is known as a hotspot for wildlife activity and offers breathtaking views. There are amazing hikes, great fishing and unlimited adventure opportunity.
While I didn’t line up to drive the highway at midnight when the road opened, I did wake up early to drive it. 7am found me piling my camera gear into the truck and heading out. Because of where I live, the Highwoods pass is only a 20 minute drive from my house. I just drove up to the top of the pass and back, not going all the way to Longview since I had to work that day.
The drive definitely did not disappoint; there were bighorn sheep galore and alpine wild flowers out en masse. I highly recommend making a day-long road trip out of the Highwood Pass; if you do it right you, you can make a big loop that takes you to and from Calgary, passing through Kananaskis, Longview, High River and Okotoks, with the highlight obviously being the drive over the pass. There are lots of view points to take in the stunning panoramas and lots of great spots for picnics and hikes along the way.
The best part of my drive yesterday was actually on the way home. Spring and early summer is the Grizzly Bear mating season, and I got to witness two gorgeous bears going through their mating rituals. I was even luckier to be able to photograph the event.
Here are some of the highlights of my drive yesterday: