Where do we hike? (scramble, bike etc)

It’s August  the 9th. Seven weeks on from the great flood, we are still checking out trails and routes and will be for a few years to come I suspect.  More roads are open, the exceptions being Gorge Creek Trail, Powderface Trail, Hwy. 40 in the Highwood, Hwy. 940 south of Highwood House and Hwy. 532 west of Indian Graves. So this is quite a big chunk of K Country we can’t yet access. Of those areas we can access, many  trails remain yellow-taped.

Re the “open” trails, their condition is naturally of great interest to everyone. So if you have hiked a trail or have info on it, please use the comment box to submit a sentence or two giving us the lowdown. And please use a heading.  Thanks!

Right now we are working on a database of trail updates that will soon be available through our blog. Keep watching.

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205 comments… add one
  • Steve Riggs Aug 3, 2013, 5:35 pm

    Hwy 66 opened using a temporary one lane bridge on Friday afternoon, as far as Little Elbow. Powderface still closed. Moose mountain road is open, but it was surprisingly quiet out there on the biking trails. We rode Ranger Summit-Sugar Mama-Sulfur Springs-Pnuema-Moosepackers-Ridgeback, all of which are in fine shape with minor puddles from yesterday’s rain.
    Bikers have been accessing the Moose area trails from the southern end of the West Bragg system for a while, using a quad track that connects the bottom of Fullerton Loop with the service compound across from the former Allen Bill pond. This would also work for hikers looking to access Fullerton Loop etc , as I understand that the former access route is completely gone. There is a sign or two saying “authorized personnel only” , but in the three times that I have used this route, the people working there have only smiled and waved as I rode by.
    I’ve marked the route on a Google Earth image, here-
    https://picasaweb.google.com/steveandjoriggs/ElbowSkiTrailBypass

  • Rachel Aug 2, 2013, 5:45 pm

    Please report back on Jura if you do give it a shot!

  • Corey Aug 2, 2013, 10:22 am

    @Peter Irwin

    Thank you for the comprehensive update! I think I’ll avoid the area.
    I might bash up Jura Creek instead and see what it looks like.

  • Alf Skrastins Aug 1, 2013, 9:40 pm

    HIGHWOOD VALLEY
    Highway 541 (Highwood Valley Road west of Longview) is now open as far as Highwood Junction/Hwy #40. Highway #40 is still closed between the Kananaskis Lakes turn-off and Highwood Junction.
    I’m not sure which day-use parking areas are open, if any… but they were always at the wrong place for the hiking trails anyhow. This means we now have vehicle access to the trailheads for Bull Creek Hills, Fir Creek, Grass Pass, Gunnery Pass, Gunnery Mountain, Stoney Creek and Junction Hill.

  • Derek Ryder Aug 1, 2013, 3:28 pm

    Heart Mountain Scramble: Unofficial trail, so it has not been touched by Parks in any way. Access is open. It’s a little different than it used to be if you’re coming in from the official parking lot. You’ll go up Heart Creek to the first bridge, cross it then head back down the creek towards the highway to the scramble start. Not sure if the sign is still there. I have heard nothing about its condition, but you can certainly get to it.

  • Abs_Hux Aug 1, 2013, 9:50 am

    HEART MOUNTAIN – Does anyone know if the trail is open yet? great news about the Heart Creek Trail and the massive effort to get that back up and running!

  • Peter irwin Jul 31, 2013, 10:54 pm

    This is for Corey’s inquiry. I was up mcgillivray canyon a week after the floods to inspect my anchors, cables, etc. The lower part of the canyon is impassable now as the cables were destroyed. The pools of water are now much deeper and would require swimming across. There’s a huge tree ( actually a few of them) wedged in the canyon which you can’t get around. The whole place has changed considerably and is much more treacherous then before. I was shocked at the damage the flood inflicted. It’s unlikely that I will replace the damaged hardware (as the same thing could happen again!). Best to wait till November when the pools have frozen and I’ve had a chance to do some repair work in there! If you do go in there be safe!

  • Derek Ryder Jul 31, 2013, 4:09 pm

    David, Aster Lake is inaccessible with all accesses to it closed. The back country campsite is closed.

    Not K-Country, but of interest: Was up at Stanley Glacier today. A wildfire has broken out at Numa Creek and its sending up one heck of a smoke plume. It wasn’t there this morning even though the fire apparently started from a lightning strike a few days ago. But by the afternoon, it had grown a lot you could smell smoke near the Stanley Glacier paring lot.

  • David Mulligan Jul 31, 2013, 4:01 pm

    Anyone been into Aster Lake area recently? Campground or trail do not seem to be listed anywhere on Parks information.

  • Franco Jul 31, 2013, 2:33 pm

    Has anyone done South Opal ridge and can they tell me the condition of the trail after the floods.

  • Corey Jul 31, 2013, 1:42 pm

    Has anybody been up into Mcgillivray Canyon since the flood? I’m hoping to do a little bit of canyoneering on the long weekend and haven’t read any beta on the area on any of the usual websites (clubtread, acmg mcrs). The parking area looked open last weekend and the yellow Closed tape had been taken down so I’m assuming it is in decent condition.

  • Derek Ryder Jul 31, 2013, 8:25 am

    Alf, the campgrounds are closed (at this moment) because of limited availability to service them. Commonly done by helicopter, that budget is now going to floor repair. However, the route you describe is high on the priority list for replacing the bridge and becoming the “official” temporary route to the campgrounds until Ribbon can be fixed. In addition, Guinn’s Pass via Buller is targeted to become the “official” temporary route into the Lilian Lakes campground until Galatea is fixed. Patience…

  • Alf Skrastins Jul 30, 2013, 11:05 pm

    BULLER PASS/RIBBON LAKE
    The trail up to South Buller Pass is in excellent shape. The first bridge (about 1 km in) is gone, but the creek crossing is trivial and just involves stepping over a few stones. The two upper bridges are intact. Otherwise, there are only a couple of very short sections with some trail erosion.
    This area was part of a prescribed burn a couple of years ago. This greatly improved views, added interest in the form of black trunks and remnant red needles and it has resulted in an explosion of wildflower growth. The trail over South Buller Pass is also a shorter, safer and more scenic way to get to Ribbon Creek. It would be a great backpacking destination for the long weekend if the campground were open. I wonder why it is still closed?
    https://picasaweb.google.com/112757355578245802406/BullerPassJuly302013?authkey=Gv1sRgCNLyhen8z9LBIQ

  • Susan/Fred Jul 29, 2013, 10:24 am

    Headwall Lakes/Col
    Thanks Brenda for the earlier post regarding headwall as we used it to take the initiative to go up on Friday July 26. Conditions were much as Brenda mentioned but we didn’t need watershoes to cross the creek where the bridge crosses near the begining of the hike. there were some parts along the hike that have clearly changed and if you are new to the hike – be carefull, as we tended to find the path again because of our own familiarity with it. The route up to the Col was as per previous years, but dropping down the other side (heading to Chester Lake) was much more difficult to descend that last year for sure. Much of the loose scree that used to help make the descent manageable has been washed away, so getting a younger (11 year old) child down was very slow and trecherous! We did get him down and were even lucky (or unlucky?) enough to walk within about 20 metres of a Grizzly Sow with her cub near Chester Lake.

  • Alf Skrastins Jul 28, 2013, 9:30 pm

    MT. ENGADINE BURN/RUMMEL CREEK
    A couple of years ago, Kananaskis conducted a prescribed burn on the slopes of Mt. Buller and Mt. Galatea. A fire break was cut along the eastern edge of the burn, near Rummel Creek. This has turned into a wonderful trail that goes up into a basin on the east side of Mt. Engadine. The burned forest has given way to the most spectacular flower show in Kananaskis Country. Within 10 minutes of walking, you are surrounded by a sea of yellow arnicas, interspersed with pink fire week and purple fleabanes. Just park at the “Rummel Creek” sign and follow the trail up the fire break. No flood damage here.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/112757355578245802406/MtEngadineBurn2013?authkey=Gv1sRgCOXThaHg_paUuAE&gsessionid=L4_ObfJMOHwnZoawaXR4_Q#

  • Winfield Jul 28, 2013, 6:04 pm

    Old Goat Glacier Trail
    Parking lot across from Sites 16/17 by culvert is closed; park at gravel parking lot by self registration kiosk.
    First 20 minutes from trailhead: some deadfall, trail erosion and creek has undercut the trail in a few places. Easily passed by working a bit higher on climbers right, or take second right fork to use a narrow trail up on the ridge parallel to the creek. (First right fork takes you back to gravel parking lot.)
    Impressive gravel/boulder field washed down into the forest along the trail from GR 143 478 up to the waterfall, about 400m long. Pieces of the trail can be connected over gravel sections, watch for pink flagging. Minor erosion on talus slope appears to have steepened the trail to the upper basin.

  • hikermike Jul 28, 2013, 5:30 am

    July 27, 2013:
    Kananaskis Lakes: PLPP Visitor Info Centre (VIC) temporarily relocated to William Watson Lodge. VIC suffered structural damage due to flood and undergoing repair. Campgrounds open. No closure going to Canadian Mt Everest Expedition Trail. On the west side of the Upper Lake dam there’s a “Caution: Flood Damage” below the Trail sign for the Upper K-Lake Circuit.

    Evan-Thomas Creek/KC Golf Course, Troll Falls, Ribbon Creek: Post-flood pictures at http://pinterest.com/yeghikermike/alberta-summer-outdoors-2013/
    Due to damage from Evan-Thomas Creek, Golf course is closed for the Season and is having a Clearance sale until Today only.

  • Richard Jul 27, 2013, 5:28 pm

    Rummel Lake and Rummel Pass:

    Just completed this trip today. Trail is in great shape except for a short section just before the bridge where the trail has been washed out. Someone has placed boards across the creek just before you get to the bridge so the creek crossing was no problem. Some deadfall on the trail which is easy crossed or by-passed. Clear sailing to the lake and pass!

  • Derek Ryder Jul 27, 2013, 4:38 pm

    SARRAIL CREEK BRIDGE/RAWSON
    Just to second Alf’s comment, there’s been a bunch of bear activity on this popular trail. When I say popular, while volunteering down there July 27th, we spoke with over 250 people (60% or so fisher-people heading up), and another 50 or so went by (a beautiful sunny Saturday). There’s two sets of bear scat on the trail, one new (last 24 hrs) and one about 48 hrs old. Plus there’s a mom grizzly and 2 cubs hanging out around the upper lake dam’s spillway, seen by many people camping in the area.

    The bridge is closed and really unsafe (though that fact doesn’t appear to stop people from using it, though it should). To get across the creek, there’s a ford (knee deep) down by the lake, a tightrope walk of 3 trees just below the bridge, or some people have been climbing up a bit. The falls are nice, the damage in the creek quite impressive.

  • Alf Skrastins Jul 26, 2013, 10:35 pm

    HEART CREEK
    The Heart Creek Parking Lot is now open, just in time for the weekend.
    Almost the entire length of the Heart Creek trail was destroyed by the flood. It was entirely re-routed and re-build by the north Kananaskis trail crew and about 75 Friends of Kananaskis volunteers. The trail was ready to go a week ago, but the access road to the parking lot was still buried under 3 meters of rock and rubble. That has all been cleared away, so check out the brand new trail!
    https://picasaweb.google.com/112757355578245802406/HeartCreekJuly11122013?authkey=Gv1sRgCLSW2v3n1KerkAE

  • Alf Skrastins Jul 26, 2013, 10:26 pm

    RAWSON LAKE
    The only flood damage on the way to Rawson Lake is the bridge at Sarrail Creek falls. Bridge looks OK, but the supports at either end need to be re-built. The Upper Lake South Shore trail is still closed from Rawson junction to Point campground. A bear decided to cross Sarrail Creek at the same time as we were crossing it the other way. He/she’s probably at Elk Pass now.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/112757355578245802406/RawsonLakeJuly262013?authkey=Gv1sRgCOyZw6mznLSZyAE

  • Alf Skrastins Jul 25, 2013, 10:39 pm

    KANANASKIS COUNTRY
    As of today (July 25), all Provincial Parks, Wildland Parks, Provincial Recreation Areas and Forest Land Use Zones are shown as “OPEN” on the “Closed Areas” Map.
    http://www.albertaparks.ca/kananaskis-country/advisories-public-safety/kananaskis-closed-areas-(including-highways).aspx
    However, a number of highways remain closed, so large areas remain effectively inaccessible at this time. The road closures include:
    -Highway #40 from the “Lakes” turn-off in the north to Highwood Junction.
    -Hwy #940 from Highwood Junction to the south boundary of Kananaskis Country.
    -Hwy #532, the Johnstone Creek Road, from Indian Graves to Hwy #940.
    -Hwy #541, Highwood Road, from the the east boundary sign to Highwood Junction.
    -The Gorge Creek Road, north from Hwy #546, the Sheep Road.
    -Hwy #66, Elbow Valley Road west of the Mclean Creek Hwy #549 junction
    -and the Powderface Road from Dawson Day Use area down to Hwy #66.

    However, it is important to check specific areas along the “Open” roads, since many parking lots and trails remain closed. Specifics include:
    BOW VALLEY- Closed areas include: Grotto Canyon, plus everything between Heart Creek and Barrier Dam, including Heart Creek Trail, Heart Mountain, Quaite Valley, Razors Edge, Prairie View and Jewell Pass.
    There is no information Exshaw Creek/Ridge, but I would guess that the access is still a mess and replacing trail access is a lower priority than fixing homes and infrastructure in the hamlet.
    KANANASKIS VALLEY- Closed areas include: Everything between the closed Ribbon Creek Trailhead and the closed Galatea Trailhead. This means Ribbon Creek, Memorial Lakes, Ribbon Falls, Galatea Creek, Lillian Lake. Marmot Basin is closed, but the Mt. Allan Centennial Trail and Skogan Pass are open. Evan-Thomas Creek is closed, which means that there is no access to Old Baldy Tarn.
    PETER LOUGHEED PARK- Everything west of Point Campground is closed, including Aster Lake, South Kananaskis Pass/Three Isle Lake, Forks Campground, North Kananaskis Pass/Turbine Canyon… and the Upper Lake trail is closed between Rawson Lake junction and Point Campground.
    SPRAY/SMITH-DORRIEN- The “Trail Report” is incorrect about Chester Lake and Sawmill parking lots. Both are now open… not “Closed” as stated in the trail report. This means that everything on the east/north side of the road is open.
    Black Prince parking lot is open, but the trail is closed.
    There is a bear closure on Commonwealth Creek, Smuts Pass, and Tryst Lake.
    The Tent Ridge route is open, so I assume that means the Mt. Shark road is open.
    Everything else in the Spray Valley is open, including the Ribbon Lakes-Guinns Pass area, although the backcountry campsites remain closed.

  • Will Arnold Jul 25, 2013, 6:31 am

    Pigeon Mountain – The West Winds Seniors Hiking group had never been there before, and we found it was a really challenging but fantastically beautiful hike. Lots of wild flowers and once you get onto the mountain meadows you have lots of great views. The 5km of power line trail to get to the Pigeon Mountain trail had lots of minor flood damage, but no significant detours were needed.
    This is a trail to consider, but it has significant elevation gains and is quite steep once you get to the open mountain area, however the views are worth it.

  • Alf Skrastins Jul 24, 2013, 9:54 pm

    BARRIER LAKE
    Ed, I drove past Barrier Dam today, on my way to the Spray Valley. The access to the Barrier Lake parking lot is still closed, as crews are still doing repair work on the spillway. Prairie View, Quaite Valley and Jewell Pass are all still closed.

  • Ed Silver Jul 24, 2013, 3:00 pm

    Barrier Dam

    I’ve heard conflicting reports about whether or not one can now park at the Barrier Lake picnic area and cross the dam on foot. (I know that last Friday the parking area was still inaccessible.) Could someone please clarify this. Thanks.

    Ed

  • alan kane Jul 24, 2013, 8:50 am

    French Creek
    I went up on Saturday July 20th. Parts of the low water trail along the way are gone, in places the creek has moved further right leaving easy travelling on dry streambed now, just be sure to 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 thanand flowed across French Crk, 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 Crk has a bit more deadfall and outflow debris. Wherever possible I added flagging ‘til I ran out, but it can use more. On return as per the new K-C guidebook I used Gill’s dry feet option that avoids wading French Crk. It worked well, and though the parking lot end of the canal rd leading left for it is closed off with yellow tape, the other end is open. The creek flowed overtop and badly eroded the canal road alongside in one place but they’re fixing it and it is worth using this option—any bushwhacking on this short bypass pales compared to what awaits in French Crk itself.

  • Alf Skrastins Jul 23, 2013, 9:51 pm

    SPURLING CK, WEST WIND PASS, WIND TOWER.
    It has always been baffling to me why Kananaskis Country has pull-outs , parking lots, and facilities where there are no trails and trailheads without any parking or toilet facilities. A case in point is the new concrete toilet and blank information kiosk at the bend in the road just north of the Spray Lakes dam. Three decades ago, there was a staffed information booth at that site, but that has long been removed. There has not been a reason to have these facilities at this site for at least 20 years, yet this is where one of the newest toilets got located.
    A few km south along Hwy #742 is the Spurling Creek “trailhead”. Despite the fact that the Spurling Creek/West Wind Pass trail is very popular with hikers and scramblers, there is no trailhead parking lot, no toilet facility and no information signage, other than a warning sign about the seasonal trail closure.
    The informal dirt parking area got wiped out by the floods, so hikers now have to park on the disgustingly dusty Spray Lake Road.
    The Spurling Creek Trail is in excellent shape, all the way up to West Wind Pass. No damage at all to the trail. The route up to Wind Tower is also in great condition right now.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/112757355578245802406/SpurlingCkJuly2013?authkey=Gv1sRgCNmCrePLjJT4rwE#

  • Winfield Jul 22, 2013, 12:38 pm

    Kananaskis Village Area
    Mt Kidd Fire Lookout (former site) is mostly unaffected. Detour on Kovach required due to construction associated w/ hotels.

  • Brenda Jul 22, 2013, 11:57 am

    Headwall Lakes July 20
    We hiked into Headwall Lakes on Saturday leaving from the newly opened Chester Lake parking lot. The Sawmill Trails we traveled sustained little damage except for the area where the trail crossed Headwall Creek. The good news is – the bridge did not get washed away. The bad news is – the bridge is covered in 6 feet of rocks and trees. Water is flowing over the bridge / debris and the bridge is now about 50 feet too short. We donned sandals and crossed a bit upstream in shin deep water. (By going upstream you only have one channel to cross – there are two channels near the bridge.) The trail up the hill after the bridge received some erosion but is still passable.

    The first part of the Headwall Lakes trail was untouched. However, where the trail passed beside the creek there are large sections (200 plus meters at a time) where the trail is gone (ends in abrupt 6 foot drop-offs) or is under water. A combination of bushwacking and dropping down to walk on the temporary creek bed made by the flood will get you through. I wouldn’t recommend this hike for novice hikers or people who don’t know the general route of the old trail. The trail along the base of the rock slide is eroded but not to the extent of previous sections. The steep and sometimes muddy section up the headwall to the first lake is now steep and rocky – any soil has been washed away. Once you get past that part, everything is as it was.

    We saw a couple of mounds of old bear scat but no signs of recent bear activity.

  • Steve Riggs Jul 22, 2013, 7:12 am

    Chester Lake-Three Lakes Valley, July 21.
    Despite ski touring to Chester and beyond on at least a yearly basis, we have rarely been there in summer, and had never been beyond the elephant rocks without snow on the ground. Thus, Three Lakes valley and it’s enchanting tarns and meadows were a pleasant surprise. As a bonus it was not busy at all in the area, maybe for the two reasons below…
    Getting there was easy, as except for the first 200m up from the parking lot which is now largely streambed, flood effects have been minor. A rough route has been cleared and flagged through the tangle of trees and boulders, and crossing the creek that caused all the devastation is easy. It could be tough going for us early season skiers though! Beyond that it is all good.
    The parking lot is open and partly rehabilitated, and there is a bear warning posted at the trailhead, with plenty of evidence of them at Chester Lake.
    On the way out we talked to two hikers who had crossed the big meadow just west of Chester Lake a few minutes after us, just as momma griz and her cub were coming out of the trees from the north.
    A photo album here, best viewed as “slideshow”-
    https://picasaweb.google.com/steveandjoriggs/ChesterLake3LakesValley

  • Alf Skrastins Jul 21, 2013, 10:22 pm

    SPENCER CREEK
    Spencer Creek is an interesting valley about half-way between Spurling Creek and Sparrowhawk Creek. It is about 5 km to the end of the valley and the destination is a large area of meadow surrounded by the towering cliffs of Mt. Lougheed, Wind Mountain and Mt. Sparrowhawk. The trail starts just to the left (north side) of the creek drainage and stays on that side all the way up. Although the creek had obvious signs of flooding, the trail was untouched and in great shape all the way up.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/112757355578245802406/SpencerCk2013?authkey=Gv1sRgCKHhl6aegL2pxgE&gsessionid=wjHB3N6yTMfE3U6-TuOd4g#

  • Rachel Jul 20, 2013, 10:36 pm

    Gillian Chee,
    The assessment companies have just started in to the closed section of Hwy 40, and after that will come the Volker Stevin crews.
    My guess is that by early August, the road will not yet be open, but parts of it might be.
    Based on the current pace of fixing, I suspect pretty much everything else will be open though.

    Due to the lack of information from Parks, I have compiled a detailed trail-by-trail list with all updates from the trail reports, here and other sites on which people have reported their trips, which I think is currently the most complete source for checking on any trail. See here:
    http://www.clubtread.com/sforum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=57141

    It’s currently updated to July 18, as I’ve been out the last day, and am about to leave for another few days. But as soon as I get back, I will update it again with everything new that has happened this weekend.

  • Alf Skrastins Jul 20, 2013, 10:22 pm

    JAMES WALKER LAKE, SAWMILL DAY USE
    The Smith-Dorrien (Sawmill) trails were listed as open today, but Sawmill Day Use Area was still closed, so I parked at James Walker Creek and bushwhacked a short distance to get onto the trail system.
    The parking lot clearly sustained a fair bit of debris-flow damage, but everything has been cleared up and the parking lot has been rebuild. This is one of the largest parking lots in the Spray/Smith-Dorrien Valleys, which made sense when the “Smith-Dorrien” XC ski trail system was being groomed. Those trails have not been groomed for a decade and now it is rare to see more than a few cars in the parking lot. It was therefore quite surprising to see the whole huge parking lot completely re-built to the original 60-80 car capacity.
    The first 50m of trail past the parking lot had obviously become a stream during the flood, but it has been nicely repaired. Beyond here, the rest of the trail to James Walker Lake is as good as ever. At the far end of James Walker Lake, the inlet stream is now flowing in a new channel. The old stream-bed has become a great bit of trail up to the first little cascade of the “waterfall” section of the valley. After the first waterfall, the upper trail is unchanged from previous years.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/112757355578245802406/JamesWalkerLk2013?authkey=Gv1sRgCNOqxbvn_dC1ugE
    By the time we got back to the trailhead, the Sawmill Day Use area was OPEN!

  • Holger Reusch Jul 20, 2013, 5:47 pm

    Kananaskis Lookout (KCTG Vol. 1, #57) is easily accessible with two caveats:

    First, you need to start at Boulton Campground instead of Boulton Bridge, because the bridge is closed with yellow tape.

    Second, there is a major washout and a creek on the Whiskey Jack trail at about 366102 that requires a few 100 m of bushwhacking parallel to the trail. The creek has now cut about 1-2 m deep into the trail. It is best to use the old creek bed to the north of the water-filled trail for passing the unusable section.

    Apart from that there is only occasional minor damage. The fact that the access from hwy 40 to the lookout is closed makes the hike very pleasant because there are not many visitors.

  • Gillian Chee Jul 20, 2013, 3:54 pm

    Hi mickeyroo, thank you for this. We do know about the flood phone line, however info is very limited, and they are very busy indeed. The woman couldn’t answer all our questions about individual trails and directed us to “trail reports” on the albertaparks.ca website. This blog seems to have more info, postings by people who have explored a number of trails recently and who seem to know the area very well. But it is all quite confusing to us here in the coast. It’s pretty clear that a large number of trails are currently closed or under advisory, including in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. There seem to be more open a bit further afield from our campground, near Canmore, in Bow Valley and in Elbow-Sheep Wildland Park, but not necessarily the ones we had planned on doing. The lady on the flood line had no sense of when Hwy 40 south of winter gate might reopen. We’ll continue monitoring updates on the alberta parks website and we’ll call back in a few days since work on trails and roads is ongoing, and access to trails the big issue. That said, it is impressive how quickly the pace of recovery is happening. Wish B.C. Parks would work as quickly!
    Oh, and yes, the Indefatigable hike is well within the capability of many in this group, based on Gillean’s and the Where Locals Hike guidebooks. Love to read more comments from this blog.

  • mickeyroo Jul 20, 2013, 10:57 am

    Gillian Chee: Your group might want to call the Parks Info Line Parks Information Line at 1-866-427-3582 (Monday through Friday 8:15 am – 4:30 p.m.) and check if there’s road work or some construction going on in the area (Hwy 40 was shut down immediately after the June flooding). Hope you did your research on the trail (classified as Difficult – info as of 2007): http://hikealberta.com/hike/mount-indefatigable-trail

  • Gillian Chee Jul 19, 2013, 9:32 pm

    30 hikers from our Vancouver based hiking club, the North Shore Hikers, are planning to visit the first week of August. Highway updates say there is access to our campground located at Lower Lakes, however:
    1. I note that Highway 40 south of the winter gate is still closed (as per the advisory of today), which would suggest that trail repair work in the Elbow Lake, Pocaterra and Highwood Pass areas would be very minimal;
    2. We are concerned about major road delays from road work. Most of us would be travelling via Highway 1 and entering K-country from either Highway 742 and Highway 40.
    3. Has anyone tried hiking Mt. Indefatigable, which all guides say is the “must do” hike of the area?
    Most of us have not hiked in this area at all, so we’re K-country neophytes. Any comments from you seasoned K-country hikers would be very welcome.

  • thepassionatehiker Jul 19, 2013, 5:26 pm

    South Volcano Ridge:

    A perfect bike/hike today starting at Ware Creek trailhead, taking in South Volcano Ridge and back down Cockerton’s Corkscrew. Ref. KCTG 4th Ed. Vol. 4. Routes: #56 by bike, then hiked up #52A to summit of South Volcano Ridge (haven’t done this now decommissioned route for decades!), back down #52 (Cockerton’s masterpiece) and biked back. All routes in perfect condition with all bridges intact, with one exception. 100m north of the old (decommissioned) Volcano Ridge picnic area and trailhead, the road is washed away and culverts lying in a heap. Easy detour. Highly recommend this approx. 28 k trip. Access road from Threepoint Creek over the hill is easily driveable, minor damage mainly along edges of the road.

  • Kelly Mcdonald Jul 19, 2013, 6:12 am

    Thanks for the correction on the Sarrail Creek bridge. Has anyone made it up to Hidden Lake?

  • Wayne Hortensius Jul 18, 2013, 10:38 pm

    Rawson Lake

    The only flood damage we saw was at the bridge at Sarrail Falls and at the water control gabions where Rawson Creek leaves the lake. The bridge is still at the falls but is listing badly due to the eastern end being washed out. At the water control gabions, the creek has eroded its way around the eastern gabion. That doesn’t impact the trail at all and so far as least doesn’t appear to have lowered the lake level. The trail appears to have had some water running down it recently but there are no washouts or other significant damage.

  • RyderDA Jul 18, 2013, 10:24 pm

    Alf: Access to the Spray Lakes West campground across the dam opened today at 4 pm, meaning the campgound is open, too. If you head up to Old Goat, would love a trail report.

  • Rachel Jul 17, 2013, 10:17 pm

    Richard,
    The Burstall Pass trail is fine.
    The Commonwealth Creek trail is in good enough shape, though you’ll have to wait until the bear closure lifts.
    No news on the traverse between the passes, but being right up at the head of the drainages, I think it’s likely that there is little damage. Most similar terrain is doing okay

  • Richard Jul 17, 2013, 7:57 pm

    Has anyone tried the Smuts-Birdwood-Burstall traverse? I am mostly concerned about the trail above Commonwealth Creek and the decent from Birdwood to the Burstall trail.

    Thanks

    Richard

  • Marcin Jul 17, 2013, 6:26 pm

    GORGE CREEK TRAIL from Sheep River

    The road is closed right at highway 546. There is a major washout at 1.1km that may be impassable after heavy rain. There is a partial washout at 2.1km, but this one will not affect hikers. This is a very nice little hike and the views of the canyon are great. The only real downside is cattle herds on the road. Otherwise, the road is in good shape all the way down to Gorge Creek trailhead. Those comfortable with off-trail travel can choose to return through Missinglink Mountain. To do so, turn right (East) 350m past the gate and climb onto the ridge. Then continue South along the ridge. Please be aware that black bears are very active in the area; we saw four individual bears!

    Link to trip photos: http://mmhikes.com/?p=1603&show=slide&pageid=1603

  • rachelo Jul 17, 2013, 4:18 pm

    Yamnuska is open and in good shape. Take the 1A EAST of the 1X, and it’s the first trailhead on your left (north).
    If you’re finding houses, you’re looking in the wrong area.

  • Fuad Abboud Jul 17, 2013, 4:06 pm

    Wasootch ridge is open. hiked yesterday (july 16) to summit, it’s normal. originally wanted to hike up peak opposite Kananaskis village turn-off, but couldn’t find the trail (or creek that used to be there) and they were busy working there.

    Is access to Yam parking lot normal and how do you get there? couldn’t find it, all roads led to houses that didn’t exist the last time i was there.

  • Winfield Jul 16, 2013, 6:52 pm

    Mt Baldy Descent
    Normal descent route down scree from col GR 369519 is surprisingly unaffected. Minor damage from erosion through the lower trees easily managed. The significant damage visible from the highway only extends apx 200m uphill into the forest.

  • Alf Skrastins Jul 15, 2013, 9:34 pm

    INDIAN OILS
    I did a quick loop on the Indian Oils trail (#25), as well as visiting the pond (#25B), an off-trail route over the hills to the west of viewpoint hill (#25C) and returning via the spectacular escarpment route (#25A).
    Absolutely no damage or even any deadfall on these trails and routes.
    Trail numbers refer to the descriptions in the Kananaskis Country Trail Guide, 4th Edition, Volume #4, Sheep-Gorge Creek-North Fork.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/112757355578245802406/IndianOilsJuly152013?authkey=Gv1sRgCO36x8uPrOH8Bg

  • Alf Skrastins Jul 15, 2013, 9:25 pm

    OLD GOAT GLACIER
    Regarding Ed’s question: As of Sunday evening, the road across the Spray Lakes dam was barricaded, so the Spray West Side road is closed. Not sure when it is scheduled to re-open, but I am looking forward to getting back to the Old Goat Glacier for a bit of summer skiing!

  • pathsupport Jul 15, 2013, 9:22 pm

    Grass Pass/Hwy 541. Sunday.
    The highway remains closed to vehicles, although the damage at Sentinel has been filled in with gravel. Road work still on-going west of Eyrie Gap, where the highway was completely taken away by the river. Eyrie Gap PRA survives, so K-Country will still have to pay to dig it up, if they so decide.
    I suspect it’s a good year to be a wildflower – Grass Pass is in full colour. Lots of cows too. The ranch hand I encountered up there told me the locals expect it will take another two weeks before the highway reopens.

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