Distance 14.4 km return, height gain 670 m, moderately strenuous
The trail up French Creek leads to larch meadows and moraines at the foot of the French Glacier. Getting there is not a whole lot of fun, so youâ€™ve got to be the dedicated adventurous sort who enjoys a long forest trudge. Skiing up this valley is a lot simpler.
Start: Hwy. 742 (Smith-Dorrien/Spray Trail) at Burstall Pass parking lot. Nowadays there are two
starts. The regular start involves a crossing of French Creek, a calf-deep paddle in summer. To avoid the paddle, use the alternative start 2.
Note: Parts of the low water trail along the way are gone, in places the creek has moved farther right leaving easy travelling on dry streambed. Just watch for various (flagged, usually) places where you must dodge back into the forest. At the second waterfall the low water trail on the left is gone and the debris outflow on the left that comes down from Cegnfs just before the waterfall is now about 5-7 meters higher than before and flowed across French Creek, which has since cut right through it. The approach drainage to Mt Murray is washed out much deeper now. The rest of the way up French Crrrk has a bit more deadfall and outflow debris. Wherever possible I added flagging until I ran out, but it can use more. On return as per the new K-C guidebook I used Gillâ€™s dry feet option that avoids wading French Creek. It,s is worth using this optionâ€”any bushwhacking on this short bypass pales compared to what awaits in French Creek itself.
Please refer to the trail description in the guidebook, especially for unofficial, off-trail hikes.
Kananaskis Country Trail Guide Volume 1 Trail #90
Trailhead: Burstall Pass 50.790847N, -115.303494W
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Last updated Jul 5, 2016