This is the third new trail to be built in the Sheep, and the first from the Sheep River Management Plan. We followed it a couple of days ago when the trail crew were just finishing up. Basically it connects the Sandy McNabb ski trails to Death Valley trail at the junction with Windy Point trail and is almost 3.9 km long.
It starts from the viewpoint with horse rail on Pine Ridge loop. (The ski trails double as summer equestrian trails; bikers tend to come unstuck in the mud.) But to continue. For anyone who hasn’t skied the Sandy McNabb ski trails, this is the highest and farthermost point on the trail network north of Hwy. 546. So first you have to get there from the Sheep District Office/Information Centre on Sheep Station Road. As you can see from the map, you have plenty of choices. We took the most direct line which was Long Prairie Loop north leg and Wolftree Link to Pine Ridge and still ended up hiking almost 17 km back to the parking lot. So this trail is definitely built with equestrians in mind.
Nevertheless, it’s a pleasant trail to hike thanks to Kyle’s ingenious routing along pine-aspen ridges with occasional meadows offering views to both east and west. It even features side trails to more viewpoints. There was talk from the trail crew that it MIGHT be trackset for skiing. Yes, it’s a wide enough trail. All I can say is, that on the nearly 800 ft descent into Death Valley there would be some screaming corners! Who will be the first to try it out?
Click on map to view larger, printable version.