Most Alberta Hikes will take you to Instagrammable places. However, there is something about the Blackshale Creek Suspension Bridge that just takes your breath away the moment you see it.
I teach you how to get to this highly instagrammable suspension bridge even with toddlers in tow, and where the best spots to take photos are. Read on…
Driving To The Trail
Blackshale Creek Suspension Bridge is located in Kananaskis, Alberta. If you type in Blackshale Creek Suspension Bridge on Google Maps, it will lead you directly to the trail head. This works on both desktop and iphone app versions of Google Maps.
Driving from Calgary to the Blackshale Suspension Bridge, in Kananaskis, will take about an hour and 45 minutes.
This only works with the Google maps, not with Apple Maps. I don’t know why Apple maps can’t find this spot. I would suggest downloading the map before you enter Kananaskis country as cell service in the area is spotty at best.
The route takes you through a gravel road towards the end. Don’t turn around. You’re on the right track, you will get there soon.
Hiking the Trail
Once the map lady says you’ve reached your destination, it’s time to park on the side of the road. There is no official parking lot for this trail, hence some people have a hard time finding it.
Make sure that you are parked on the side of the road, but not too much that your vehicle might fall on the edge. The road here is pretty wide for an unpaved road, so parking on the side should be safe and easy.
Once parked, the trail will be to your right, the side going up the mountain. The trail is not as easy to see when standing on the road because there are no markings (when we went in June 2020 anyway). Just go to the area where the creek meets the road, you will see the trail there.
The Blackshale Creek Suspension Bridge trail is a 1 kilometer loop trail. So it doesn’t matter if you choose left or right, you’ll still end up on the bridge.
We chose to hike up on the left trail and hike down on the right trail (when facing the creek from the road). I think the left trail is the better way to go up and down. The left trail is quite shorter and less muddier compared to the right trail. Also the left trail is clearer while the right trail has more trees and bushes blocking your views.
It took less than 10 minutes to get up to the bridge, even with a 3 year old in tow. So this is a very easy hike.
Note that the trail is not stroller-friendly, even if you have one of those single jogging strollers. It’s better to bring a carrier for the little ones that don’t want to walk all the way up.
Marc ended up giving Kenzie a piggy back ride going down the trail and he had not problem doing so. It was Kenzie’s naptime by the time we we’re going down the trail. LOL
Gear To Bring
If you’re hike is a do it for the ‘gram type, then make sure to bring that DSLR and tripod.
I prefer taking photos with my iphone. I bought a selfie stick/tripod combo that came with a remote. I pretty much don’t leave home without this. Best purchase ever!
You might also want to bring props and change of clothes if you’re turning this hike into a full blown photo shoot. I won’t blame you, because it really is an awesome backdrop.
Since you’re in bear country, I would suggest bringing (and knowing how to use) a bear spray. We bought ours from Canadian Tire.
Note that there have been reports of bear sighting in this area for the past couple of weeks (July 2020).
Hiking in groups and making a lot of noise while hiking also helps. Noisy hiking is pretty easy to accomplish with kids. LOL
Since you will be in an open space and possibly doing this during summertime, don’t forget the sunscreen.
Applying the sunscreen before leaving your car would be ideal as that’s one less item to take with you on the hike. But if you plan to stay longer than 3 hours up there, then just take the sunscreen bottle with you.
There are also a lot of mosquito in the area, so make sure to apply bug spray.
Remember to apply sunscreen first, give it about a minute or two to settle on your skin, then you can apply bug spray.
There are several spots where the right trail meets the bridge perfect for lunch or snack time. Blackshale Creek Suspension Bridge is actually a part of a longer biking trail. There are lots of bikers that stop here for lunch when taking the bike trail.
We just had breakfast when we went, so I didn’t bother packing a lunch. We had snacks in the car afterwards.
Again, be careful when bringing food to the trail. Wild animals tend to be attracted to the smell of food too.
The Best Photo Spots
To get the best photo opportunities, I would suggest going on the trail early morning on a weekday. This way you avoid the weekend crowd and also the afternoon crowd.
We went to the trail on a Saturday, but arrived at about 10 am. There were 3 groups of people when we arrived on the bridge. One group was a set of bikers stopped for a snack, the other group was just leaving, while the 3rd group was the only one that stayed on the bridge.
If you are taking the left trail up to the bridge, like we did, cross the bridge first. The best photo spot would be facing the bridge from the top of the right trail. This gives you an awesome background of snow capped mountains.
Another spot to take a panoramic photo of the bridge is on the right trail side. At the top of the trail where it meets the bridge, go up further. You would have to go up a big stone landing that is just at the entrance of the bridge. Walk up a couple of feet and you’ll see a clearing where you can take as many photos as your heart desires. 🙂
That is it!
Enjoy your hike friends!