West of Tunnel Mountain, at an elevation of 1884m, Stoney Squaw is a promontory extending east from the slopes of Mount Norquay. It lies at the end of a meandering, 2.2km trail that makes its way steadily upwards through the trees before offering up great views of Banff, the Bow Valley and Mount Cascade. From there you can loop back to the trailhead along a fast, twisty and at times steep and technical descent. Covering a total distance of around 4.5km, with some 393m of elevation, it’s a shorty but a goody.
On Strava it looks like this:
The trailhead is located just past the entrance to the main car park of the Mount Norquay ski resort, about a 10 minute drive from Banff. It’s hard to miss and from there begins a mostly gentle, twisting climb through dense forest:
After around 1.8km, you get a first glimpse of the views that lie ahead as the trail ventures briefly out of the trees…
…before eventually delivering you to Stoney Quaw and views like these:
From the summit, you can take the trail that continues to the north-west and descend along a fast, technical single track through the forest. If you happen to be running this anytime soon or anytime in the winter months, spikes are almost a necessity as it can be very icy.
At around the 3.8km mark you’ll emerge onto a wider forest trail. Follow this to the right and before too long you’ll see a trail to the left that drops down to the Norquay ski lodge:
From here it’s a short run past the lodge and back to the trailhead.
What this run might lack in distance it more than makes up for in challenging climb, fast descent and excellent views. It was a great way to spend 36 minutes and 51 seconds.