Not for the weak of heart, lung or calf. A fire road that starts off at a deceptively easy angle before increasing gradually until you are scrambling up a short rock face. A great loop with amazing views of both the prairies and the Kananaskis Mountain Range.
The following maps and distances describe the Prairie View and Jewel Pass loop without going to the fire lookout
Distance: 15km (+1km return for the fire lookout)
Elevation Gain: 521m (+100m for the fire lookout)
Total Elevation Gain: 634m (+100m for the fire lookout)
To Get Here: From Hwy 1 and Hwy 40 intersection, take Hwy 40 for 9.1km to the Barrier Lake dam turnoff on your right.
Start off on the fire road at the end of the parking lot, that crosses the dam. Continue on the fire road as it progressively gets steeper and steeper until scrambling up a rock bluff. A gigantic reflective shield will mark an amazing viewpoint to make you forget about that radiating pain coming from your legs. From the reflective shield, you can either continue up the ridge for another 150m vertical to enjoy the ultimate view from the fire lookout, or start back down. There are two descent options. You can either go back down the same route, or from the shield, continue back into the woods on a trail heading to the SW. Follow this trail down to Jewel Pass. Upon reaching the trail sign at Jewel Pass summit, turn left and follow the trail southbound to Barrier Lake. Keep left past a number of adjoining trails, climbing back up a short distance until reaching the main fire road that you hiked in on.