CALGARY -- Access to Mount Yamnuska — an area popular for climbing and hiking west of Calgary — will be closed from the end of May until November as crews work to upgrade some sections of trail, build new ones and decommission others.

Found in the Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park just north of Highway 1 near the Highway 40 exit, Mount Yamnuska features a recognizable, 360-meter cliff face.

Members of the Stoney Nakoda First Nation call it Îyâ Mnathka, or E-Yamnuska, which means "flat-faced" mountain.

Some of the planned upgrades include:

  • Main East Trail — Upgrading to Raven's End, decommissioning all other unsanctioned routes;
  • Main West Trail — Upgrading to the bottom of the scree slope;
  • Climber's Access Trail — Upgrading to the base of Yamnuska Cliffs;
  • New West Col Descent Trail — Constructing a new descent trail that connects the west col to the bottom of the scree slope and the Main West Trail, and;
  • Scramble Route — Installing directional wayfinding signage.

The area has become increasingly popular for hikers and climbers in recent years. Officials respond to more than 50 calls for rescue each year.

"Public safety incidents include lost or exhausted hikers, minor injuries, life-threatening and life-altering injuries, and fatalities," read a statement from the province.

"This high number of public safety calls on one mountain is training limited resources. By upgrading the existing mountain trails, increasing wayfinding signage on the scramblers route and constructing a new descent trail off the west col, Alberta Parks is striving to reduce the number of public safety incidents on the mountain."

Erosion is also making many of the unsanctioned routes dangerous, officials say.

The closure includes:

  • The trailhead parking lot;
  • All access and all trails, routes and climbs on the mountain;
  • The scramble route and hiking trails accessing the east and west sides of the mountain;
  • The Yamnbuska Cliffs, Yamnuska Bluffs, and Big Choss Bouldering;
  • Access from the Yamnuska Day Use parking lot to CMC Valley, and;
  • Access to the mountain from Goat Buttress and CMC Valley.

Visitors looking for alternatives can call the Kananaskis Information Line at 1-403-678-0760 or visit any Kananaskis Visitor Information Centre.