Visiting Tanglefoot Lake and Windy Pass makes an exceptional day hike. The hike to Tanglefoot Lake is my personal favourite. It has everything in a single, compact alpine region, from high ridges, to larch forests, great views and carpets of wildflowers.
As a nature photographer, capturing the moment is not as easy as clicking the shutter. To find the wildflowers in perfect bloom, under a shining blue sky with no forest fire smoke and no wind, is a tall order; we have been trying for many summers.
On one exceptional day at Tanglefoot Lake, all the elements came together. The day began with crisp dew on the plants, the flowers along the trail were swaying beautifully on their slender stems and the clouds forecast for the afternoon were not materializing. Blue sky followed us to the lakeshore. We set up and after hours of photographing, we created many ideal images, culminating in the cover shot for this book.
Five Passes Trail
Windy Pass is also part of the Five Passes trail that connects alpine passes via Mause, Sunken, Dibble, Bear and Tanglefoot passes in a long and satisfying alpine and subalpine loop traverse. See entry #39.
Time: day hike to Windy Pass
Trail: small creek crossings; talus slope; steep sections; well-worn trail
Maps: 82G/11 Fernie (NAD27); 82G/12 Cranbrook (NAD83)
To Tanglefoot Pass
Distance: 3.5 km
Elevation gain: 535 m (1,750 ft.)
Tanglefoot Pass: 2345 m (7,369 ft.)
To Tanglefoot Lake
Distance: 4.3 km from trailhead at Mause Creek
Tanglefoot Lake: 2100 m (6,900 ft.)
Descend from pass: 143 m (470 ft.)
To Windy Pass
Distance: 6.7 km from trailhead at Mause Creek
Elevation gain: Tanglefoot Lake to Windy Pass 314 m (1,030 ft.)
Windy Pass: 2418 m (7,936 ft.)