The observation sites
The Mount Lorette site is located on the valley floor by the Kananaskis River and is an easy 15-minute walk from the Stoney Trailhead parking area.To find this spot leave the TransCanada Highway (Highway #1) and drive south on Highway #40 (Kananaskis Trail) for about 25 km.
At the sign for Kananaskis Village and Nakiska turn right and drive west 1 km. Pass the turn to Kananaskis Village on the left and almost immediately turn right unto a good gravel road.The turning is signposted "Stoney Trailhead". You will find a good parking area just a few hundred metres down this road. Leave your vehicle there. There are two ways to the site. You can follow the gravel road to the north and, just after it straightens out after swinging west to avoid a wet area, fork right.The road crosses the Hay Meadow to two wooden huts (pump-houses) beside the Kananaskis River. The viewing site is located to the south of these huts. For a prettier, slightly shorter route you can turn right just north of the parking area on to the ski/hiking trail and follow it until you arrive at the site. On occasions when we cannot access the Mount Lorette site (owing to heavy snow or Government closure ) the watch is conducted on a hill immediately south of the Nakiska Road just west of the Stoney Trail turning. The hill is just north of the Kananaskis Wilderness (previously Ribbon Creek) Hostel, which we have called the "Hostel Hill" site.
There are a variety of hotel and hostel accommodations available in the Kananaskis Valley. The closest accomodation to the site is the Kananskis Wilderness Hostel (see map under FAQ: site). For more luxurious accomodation, Kananaskis Village provides three hotels which include The Lodge at Kananaskis, The Kananaskis Inn, and The Hotel Kananaskis. The Hotel Kananaskis is a five-star hotel with almost 70 rooms each of which has a view of the surrounding mountains. The Lodge at Kananaskis contains about 250 rooms and almost 60 suites. The Kananaskis Inn is a Best Western hotel which provides the most economical accommodation of the three hotels.
Frank Slide Interpretive Centre, Crowsnest Pass
From Highway 3 in the community of Frank, turn north on the well-signed and smoothly paved access road to Frank Slide Interpretitive Centre. On observation weekends (each weekend of October in 2011), look for the EagleWatch.ca banner at the east end of the parking area. A guide should be waiting to greet you. If not, please wait for the guide to return from the observation site.
Vistors who are unable to walk the trail to the observation site may observe migrating eagles and other raptors from the observation deck of the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre. Bring binoculars and, if you wish, a folding camp chair.
Visitors are welcome to use the Interpretive Centre washrooms.
There is a choice of overnight accommodation in Crowsnest Pass. The closest, and most comfortable, is Goat Mountain Getaway which offers several modern cabins with kitchens and fireplaces.
Piitaistakis (South Livingstone Ridge), Crowsnest Pass
This is the original observation site that was the base for scientific counts until 2010. This site provides the most dramatic perspective of the migration route but is accessed by a demanding one-hour, uphill hike not recommended for those in less than excellent physical condition.
The Blackfoot name Piitaistakis means "Place of the Eagles" and suggests that the great Golden Eagle migration was known to pre-contact indigenous people, forgotten with the abandonment of ridge-top chert mining, and then rediscovered in 1992. This traditional name for the southern reach of the Livingstone Range was provided by elders of the Piikani First Nation whose reserve lands are located nearby.
"P" in Blackfoot speech sounds like "B". Thus Piitaistakis is pronounced: "Beeta-ish-takah"
Turn right from Highway 3 onto the road to Frank Slide Interpretive Centre. At the hairpin bend continue straight ahead over the cattle guard. Drive 3 km east (pass road to left at 1.7km). The road is gravel and steep in places. Park in obvious open grassy area whose GPS coordinates are 0690636 5497945.
Walk northeast along an obvious trail through a wooded gully. Continue up the trail to a ruined coal mine hoist house and take road north to site. Site is on open knoll with fibreglass tower (not visible from parking lot). Site coordinates 0691258 5498619.Google Map . . .