Razor's Edge

photo: Saul Greenberg

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Location. East of Canmore, near the entrance to the Rockies

Maps. Topo Map, Elevation Profile, Google Earth Map(PDF File)

GPS. GPS data.

Type. All mountain with technical ascents and descents. Rating: Black diamond

Distance. 10.6 kms if accessed via Jewel Pass. Can be extended many ways, e.g., by doing Jewel Pass / Prairie View circuit, where you access Razor's edge as you descend back towards the top of Jewel Pass.

Time. ~2.5 hours

Elevation gain ~400m .

Trailhead (see access map above):

  • From Canmore, AB: take Highway 1 East to the parking spot for the Quaite Valley group campground (this is the same as the start for Jewel Pass). You will see this spot several kilometers after Heart Mountain, where cars pull off into the grass and there is a gravel access road with a gate on it. If you have left the mountains, you have gone way too far.
  • Alternate Access. You can also access this from Barrier lake, where you could go up the back way of Jewel Pass, or go up Prairie View and pick up Razors Edge as you descend to Jewel Pass.

An exciting trail for technically competent cross-country riders and all mountain riders. Its young, rough, and has huge variety: views, challenges, and workouts. Its really unlike most trails around here. Razor's edge actually starts just above the actual Jewel Pass, so you can get to it by several ways, e.g., Jewel Pass, Prairie View, or by doing the Jewel Pass Prarie View Circuit, or by combining it with any of the other popular rides if you want a long outing. But the Jewel Pass/Razor's edge way, marked on the map, is probably the most direct and fun.

From the Trans Canada parking spot, take the Quaite Valley/Jewel Pass trail to Jewel Pass (easy gravel road, then more grunty uphill on rocky double track ~4km). From the Pass, don't descend the other side of Jewel Pass. Instead, continue up the Prairie View trail (this is normally the down trail from Prairie View) (technical uphill 0.6 km ) to a somewhat hidden junction that marks the start of Razor's Edge. Turn left, and contour along trail through tight trees to the col on the ridge (rolling technical uphill, 1 km). Follow the ridge line, where you will be going up and down to another col below a small peak (technical cross country: trees, meadows, rocky ridge, 2.3km). Descent steeply through trees, then contour briefly uphill. Finally, descend rocky slabs to highway (technical downhill; pick your path carefully, 1.7km). Follow highway back West to trailhead (1km).

Note: Since I did this, a better way down the rock slabs at the end has been created, so my GPS coordinates may be a bit off. Just follow the visible markers i.e., logs, rock cairns, etc.

Variation: Lengthen this and your workout. Start at Heart Creek. Do the complete Jewel Pass trail, up Prarie View, then pick up Razor's Edge on the Prarie View descent.