Mount Burke
2542m (8340ft.)

Located north of Salter Creek at the head of Pekisko Creek; south buttress of Salter Pass. Livingstone Range, Kananaskis Park, Alberta
Latitude 50; 17; 25 Longitude 114; 31; 25, Topo map 82J/07
Can be seen from Highways 40S and 541 and 22 and 940S

Named in 1919. Burke, Denis Charles (Denis Burke ranched below the slopes of what is now Mount Burke.) Official name.

Looking west to Mount Burke
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Other Information
Looking southeast to Mount Burke from Highway #40

Two broad shoulders with a symmetric summit in between characterize this peak which is the second highest in the Livingstone Range and only six metres lower than Centre Peak which lies thirteen km northeast of Coleman at the other end of the range. Located south of the Highwood Valley, Mount Burke lies directly east of Cataract Creek’s headwaters which flow towards the mountain before turning north to a confluence with the Highwood River.

The summit was the site of one of the first fire lookouts built by the Alberta Forest Service in 1929. To protect the building and its inhabitant from lightning, steel cables ran from a post on the roof to a main cable which extended 1.5 km down the mountain to be grounded in moist earth. Thus the building was said to be safe if the telephone line which connected the lookout with the Forestry Station building below was disconnected. One Lookout forgot to disconnect the phone. Entering through the phone line, a charge of lightning exploded the bed, leaving it in small pieces, and broke a hole in a window as the forgetful resident sat beside it. It is said that the Lookout, who had admitted to being afraid of lightning before he went up, burst out the door and descended Mount Burke as quickly as possible wearing only his long underwear and boots. He never returned.

Known as Cameron Lookout, after Duncan Cameron, an early rancher in the area, it was operated until 1953 when it was replace by lower, more easily serviced lookouts on Raspberry Ridge and Hailstone Butte.

D.C. Burke served in the NWMP veteran from 1896 to 1901 He later established a small ranch on Pekisko Creek at the foot of the mountain and also was employed as a forest ranger for a period of time. Official records show that Mount Burke was named in his honour by a survey crew mapping the area in the early 1900’s. However Mr. Burke’s grand daughter recalls, being told the mountain was, in fact, named after Mrs. Burke whose excellent meals and hospitality were enjoyed by the survey crew.

Mount Burke is easily recognized from the Highwood Trail (#541) near the Stampede Ranch but is most impressive when viewed from the east on Highway #22 where, with binoculars, one can still see the old lookout building clinging to the very top of the mountain.

*A hiking route to the summit is described in Gillean Daffern’s Kananaskis Country Trail Guide Volume 2.

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