The Blackshale Suspension Bridge in Kananaskis is not just any suspension bridge. Imagine walking on a bridge that makes you feel like you are touching the sky while getting cooled by a gentle breeze. It is an engineering marvel and a symbol of human creativity, offering views that will leave you speechless.
Whether you are a nature lover, an active hiker, or someone seeking an escape, this is a perfect place. This place will offer you some beautiful and unforgettable memories.
So join us in exploring the captivating beauty of the Blackshale Suspension Bridge in Kananaskis.
1. The Blackshale Suspension Bridge in Kananaskis
The suspension bridge is one of the main tourist attractions that visitors want to know about when they visit Kananaskis. As the name suggests, the Blackshale suspension bridge lies 240 ft in the air among tall evergreen and deciduous trees.
Its distance is 7.1 km, with an elevation of 333m.
As you step on the Blackshale Suspension Bridge, you will be surrounded by a stunning view that strengthens below, around, and above your being. Being suspended from the ground will give you both – an exhilarating and humbling feeling. It will make you feel more connected to the world around you.
Whether a nature lover or an adventure seeker, this suspension bridge is a unique experience for everyone.
2. Views from the Suspension Bridge
The Blackshale Suspension Bridge offers travelers and hikers a breathtaking view. The verdant lined paths, aqua blue lakes beneath, and the spectacular view of the high Rockies trail is an absolute perfection to behold.
3. How to reach the Suspension Bridge in Kananaskis
The Blackshale Suspension Bridge in Kananaskis is an easy and family-friendly trail surrounded by wildflowers and mountain views. It has two trailheads that will lead you to the Suspension Bridge.
3.1 The “Official” Trailhead through the Black Prince Parking Lot
If you and your companions want to lengthen your day a bit, then you can take the longer Route from the Black Prince, which is 6.0 km with an elevated height of 333 m.
After parking at the Black Prince Parking lot, you will need to travel for 300m back on the Smith-Dorrien Highway. Once reached, carefully cross the road, and a little to the left, you will find the Blackshale Suspension Bridge trailhead sign.
This Route takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete the one round trip. However, if you are traveling with children, it will take longer, around 3 hours. This also includes rest, lunch, and snack breaks.
3.2 The “Unofficial” Trailhead
Some people prefer a longer trip by accessing it from the Black Prince Trail, but this is for people who want to use the shorter route to the Suspension Bridge.
From Calgary, head west until you reach the exit of Highway 40 (travel on Highway 1), then continue on Highway 40 for around 59 km. Once done, turn right to Highway 742.
The Hike begins just when you pass the Peninsula Day Use Area Turnoff.
This route is about 1 km (round trip) with an elevation of only 50 m. This trail consists of some gentle switchbacks, and it takes about 15 mins to reach the Bridge.
However, the problem with this route is that no parking facility is provided, so visitors have to park at the side of the highway. This is not technically legal, so park there at your own risk.
4. Stops for Lunch or Rest
Beautiful trees and lush forests surround this trail, so you can sit on logs or picnic mats (which you must carry) and enjoy nature while eating. However, if you are looking for a proper seating arrangement, you can use the picnic tables in the parking area.
The best place to stop for a break is right before or after the Blackshale Suspension Bridge and enjoy the view of the Wobbling Bridge with people on it.
5. Safety Measures
Even though there are no notable hiking hazards on the way to the Bridge, it is recommended to be careful when crossing the dusty Smith-Dorrien Highway.
The Blackshale Suspension Bridge in Kananaskis is built over Blackshale Creek, which flows through a very deep canyon. As there are no safety rails on either side of the hiking trail, it is crucial to be mindful of your safety. You should be especially careful when you are near the edge.
6. Amenities on the Trail
- Dogs on leashes are allowed on the Blackshale Suspension Bridge hike.
- Washrooms can be found in the Black Prince parking lot.
- The Blackshale Suspension Bridge hiking trail is also used for other activities, such as mountain biking, snowshoeing, and fat biking.
7. What to Wear on the Hike
It is essential to wear proper attire for your safety in the woods.
It is recommended to wear several clothes as the climate varies a lot in the mountains irrespective of the season. Comfortable hiking pants, t-shirts, fleece tops, and rain jackets are recommended.
The ground condition of the trail is impressive, with roots and rocks removed, so it will not be a problem if you wear old shoes. However, a good pair of hiking shoes is recommended for a comfortable trip.
8. Tips for Visiting
Mentioned below are some valuable tips that will help you have a memorable experience.
- As a popular trail, there can be huge crowds during peak season. The safety limit of the bridge is 20 people at once, so it is recommended not to waste time on the bridge, enjoy nature, and move ahead.
- As there will be many people, not everyone is okay with having dogs around, so it is recommended to have dogs on leases.
- The Black Prince Cirque Interpretive Trail is an extra 4.8 km loop from the parking spot because of the Glassy Warspite Lake. You can add this to your itinerary if you have time to spare.
- Mountain bikers frequent this trail, so staying aware of your surroundings on the path to the Blackshale Suspension Bridge is a must.
- Being in a forest area, the area also has sudden visits from bears, so it is always recommended to have bear spray handy and maintain caution while visiting.
- One of the most important things to do is check the weather pattern and trail reports before hiking when visiting the Black Prince area.
- There is no cell service available on the remote part of the hike.
- Carry a sufficient amount of water with you as there are no water facilities provided.
A visit to the Blackshale Suspension Bridge in Kananaskis will leave you with an unforgettable memory and an awe-inspiring experience. Walking on the bridge will excite you; the swaying sensation will add to your adventurous experience. This is a perfect place to conquer your fear of heights and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.
So, if and when you get a chance, visit this incredible marvel and return with a lifelong, fulfilling memory nestled in your heart and soul.
If you want to experience more of the natural beauty around the Blackshale Suspension Bridge, you can also check out the Banff National Park and Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.
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