TIME: 4 hours round trip - Took us 5 hours
I jumped the gun, and recommended on easy by the super fit dog walker Sharyl with Adventures in Dog Walking - went to Cox Hill Ridge. It is a far cry from our Grassi Lakes 'stroll in the park'. I would suggest doing a few shorter mountains first before this 'hill'. It is quite steep and at 14km round trip - it is quite long. The description advises the hard stuff is in the beginning, however the whole hike was a climb upwards and some loose and jagged rocks near the top. Hiking sticks and boots highly recommended.
To get here from Calgary is a quick hour drive off Highway #1. You take the Sibbald Creek Highway 68 turnoff and drive down some rocky roads. You will be making a left onto Powder Trail into a valley, drive a few more mins and make a left, before the gates, at DAWSON RECREATION AREA. If you want to make it a weekend trip, you can also camp at the parking lot by the creek. It is noted that you can also fish here.
We started the hike early on this Mothers Day - arrived at the parking lot by 9am. Weather was perfect at 12 degrees C with a light breeze and probably hit closer to 5 degrees near the top. Layer up! The bridge is at the beginning of the pathway and offers a great view of the creek, where you can picnic at. Make sure to follow the human sign and not the horse sign. You will be taking the Cox Trail. There are plenty of spots to rest - which we did plenty, being out of shape. It is greatly shaded if you go in the summer. There is no water on the way up, so make sure to pack enough water.
The 2 hours hike up was quite steep and tough - with the first hour covering most of the incline. The last 30 minutes were still quite tough, as the trail winded down in width.
Remember to stay on leash to be safe and to respect nature!
You do not get the satisfaction view, till you hit the top - so do not give up! When you think you have made it, you just have to keep going.