Cameron Fire Lookout on top of Mount Burke in the Cataract Creek area of Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada located on the Forestry Trunk road.
Length ~5.6km one way Elevation Gain 884 m (2900ft) Route Type Out & back Time 2.5-3hrs up, ~2hrs down
This structure caught our eye while we were sitting by the Cataract Creek one afternoon about 6 years ago. We made an attempt to hike up there and find out What’s At The Top Of Mt. Burke? As you can see, we didn’t make it all the way because of the weather! So close, yet so far away.
It’s been 5 years since we have seen an Alberta summer but here we are on our COVIDcation and making the most out of this beautiful weather in Canada.
Things to know on this hike?
WEATHER is a very big impact on this mountain. Tends to be very very windy, if perhaps you do some research, you might be able to find a nice pocket of weather, which allows you to enjoy the top, the views while maybe you catch your breath and enjoy a snack.
Tip #2 If you hike too early in the season, be prepared for snow!! And lots of it.
Tip #3 With those in mind, bring all 4 seasons of clothing, gloves, beanie, hoodie, wind/rain jacket.
Tip #4 Basic items: Water as there is none to collect along the mountain, trekking poles if that’s your thing, other typical hiking items.
You could say this hike is straight up the mountain, and straight down. Sweaty hike up, with lots of breaks, and some zig zagging before you pop out of the tree line. The way down can be a little more relaxed. The top offers some breath taking 360′ views of the Canadian Rocky Mountains on one side, and the prairies on the other side, even a glimpse of The City of Calgary in the distance.
Cameron Fire Lookout is located at 2560 m (8400 ft) which was abandoned around 1954, constructed in 1929. Used for about 25 years before they established the Raspberry Fire Lookout which is close by. You can find a Geocache inside, as of 2020 this structure is still in surprisingly good shape all things considered. Worth making the trek up!!
Option B is to complete the Mount Burke loop which takes you ~18km round trip and a little more time (~<5 hrs up including lunch break, ~2 hrs down). We personally haven’t done it, but word-of-mouth it’s a little less of a strenuous climb to the top, with a peaceful walk across the ridge up to Cameron Fire Lookout.