A loop that has everything for the mountain trailrunner! Great views, some challenging climbs, fast technical descents on beautiful singletrack, and rocky ridge hopping! At 21.5km with around 1200m of cumulative climbing, it's challenging but not extreme.
Park on the side of the TCH and head up the Quaite Valley trail. After 5 km of gradual, and very runnable trail, you arrive at the Jewell/Prairie View junction. I recommend continuing along the Jewell Pass trail.
Soon you are dropping down a beautiful technical and rocky single trail that criss-crosses a creek. After some great views across Barrier Lake, you will reach the wide doubletrack trail that heads south to Kananaskis village. Turn left, and head north east.
After a few rolling hills the climb up to Prairie View breaks left. After multiple switchbacks through the woods a steep section looms. Soon the trees part however, and as the angle eases, the view across Barrier Lake makes for a good spot to catch the breath. A few minutes later you will be on top of Prairie View, after a short, steep and technical rocky section. Take care if it's muddy or icy.
Enjoy the vista from Prairie view, then take a breath, as the descent off the back is a blast. Fast singletrack, not too steep or technical, it will test the leg turnover; pay attention for the 2 blue signposts guiding you back to the Jewell Pass junction. It's an easy spot to blow by. Between the two signs, is a somewhat indistinct junction on the right. This is the beginning of the Razor's Edge. It's a technical mountain bike trail, but an even better trail run in my opinion! I've been on it 4 times this year, and never seen a soul!
At first the trail traverses and climbs a little. It's a blast to run quickly along here. Soon, the trees thin and you will be racing along steep limestone fins and slabs. A fall would be painful here, so watch the footing. The rock is razor sharp. The trail can be hard to follow in places, but keep a look out for occasional cairns or download my GPX data from Movescount here.
A steep descent through the trees will eventually deposit you at the top of the final rock slab. If it's windy, hold on to your hat, and try to ignore the eyesore that is Lafarge far below. In a few minutes you'll pop out onto the side of the TCH, a few hundred metres from your vehicle.