We decided to tackle it from the YMCA side, going up the Yates route which leaves from Camp Chief Hector. We found the start a bit confusing; the trail starts from the extreme west end of the parking lot, not the middle, and the forest is a rabbit warren of trails as one would expect for being a YMCA camp. On the bright side, the Yates route itself is actually signposted with a "Lookout" sign at the intersection with the Big Tree Trail (which seems to just end at the Yates access). Gillean warns that Yates "steepens alarmingly" at one point, and on this point she is markedly correct. This another one of those trails built by people who don't believe in switchbacks.
|Arrow straight up a 30° slope|
|A Venus Slipper orchid. At least that's what KC says|
|Looking past Barrier Lake to Wasootch Ridge and the Kananaskis Valley|
|Why this is called Prairie View trail|
|Yamnuska & environs from the top|
|Rain hitting Jura Creek valley|
|The Quaite Creek valley & Lac Des Arcs|
|Please don't feed me|
I like the Yates access better than the "normal" route up from Barrier Lake, even though there's no obvious loop trail like you can do with Jewel Pass. Even though Yates is steep in parts, the steep parts don't last too long (or maybe they do but they don't seem like it). And Yates is not full of mountain bikes, so the trail is in good condition and not a rutted, muddy mess like Jewel Pass.
BTW, we were told by two bikers that they spooked a black bear in the vicinity of the Jewel Pass/Quaite Creek trail intersection. Play safe out there people!