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.

205 comments… add one
  • Joanna May 5, 2015, 5:35 pm

    Hi William,

    I’d suggest hiking the Kananaskis portion of the Great Divide Trail. Try reading this for inspiration


  • william morgan Apr 27, 2015, 5:37 pm

    i am interested in a 5 day backpack in the canadian rockies late august 2015. have done the rockwall trail. do you have any suggestions other than the highline/skyline? thanks in advance foryour ideas and help

  • David Mulligan Sep 15, 2013, 6:33 pm

    Scrambled Mt Sarrail in a day (14 Sept) with no problems. Friends walked the complete Northover ridge circuit (car-3 Isle Lake, Aster Lake-car) same day. Not sure why K-country say Aster Lake campground is “very difficult” to access. Also south side of Upper Kananaskis Lake doable with a minor detour (comments from several people). Maybe K-country will answer my letter and explain their misleading trail reports.

  • Jason M Sep 13, 2013, 10:42 pm

    Inglismaldie (Sept 11/13):

    I know there’s a voluntary restriction on activity in this area and because there’s no real trail it doesn’t generally need much/any enforcement, but the flood damage in the approach drainage makes the hike in and out even more miserable than usual. I must have gone over, under or around 200 fallen trees (each way!). The plus side is all the loose rocks in the narrow spots got washed into Johnson Lake and the only ones that seem to be left are giant boulders and stuff firmly embedded in the creek bed. Nice stable footing. If you avoid the drainage for long, you’ll be tromping over lots of deadfall. Not sure which is the lesser evil, the dead fall or the flood-fall! The view from the top was superb, though. Well worth the huge effort (11.5h return, and I’m pretty fit!). Anyway, I’m not going to suggest that everyone run out and climb Inglismaldie, but if you’ve got the idea in your head already, you might want to reconsider unless you enjoy self flagellation AND it’s a particularly stellar day (as it was this past Wednesday when I was there).

    Oh ya, the shortcut to the Johnson Lake turnoff is still closed, so you have to go up the long way over the Minnewanka dike/dam.

  • Bernbaby Aug 30, 2013, 4:59 pm


    We did forgetmenot mountain via the ridge on Saturday August 23rd, no problem crossing the elbow, wild horse trail is a mess, but easy to follow. Cairn at the start of the trail is highly visible and easy to find. There is a lot of scree on the trails up the to the ridge and made the down climb harder than usual, but doable. The trail up to the mountain doesn’t have any damage at all.

  • Beve Aug 23, 2013, 9:43 pm

    King Creek Ridge & King Creek Canyon

    The day use area at King Creek is closed as the vehicle turnaround is completely washed away. The bathrooms are still open & clean. The Ridge was spectacular, but the chutes x 2 on the northeast corner to begin the descent down the east side are very challenging. Most of anything that could be used for footing on the very steep slope has been washed away making it quite dangerous. Following that was the steep slippery slog with very uneven footing, holes and rocks under tall grasses all the way down to the creek valley. Then began the arduous journey over giant boulders, deadfall & gravel walls to rock hop & repeated creek-crossings towards the canyon as the trail is 98% gone post flooding. Swimming seemed a real possibility, but we managed to stay dry and relatively unscathed. The 3 1/2 km leg took us about 3 hours.

  • Dustin Aug 23, 2013, 8:56 pm

    I attempted Kananaskis Peak after the floods. The approach up the creek is very difficult due to the rock bed you are supposed to follow being washed away, and also due to fallen trees criss crossing the creek.

    I got all the way up the creek but it took about 2.5 hours and required a lot of climbing and crawling over/under fallen trees, as well as some moderately sketchy creek hopping in some points. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are determined and also very confident in your abilities due to the tediousness and danger of getting up the creek.

    WASOOTCH PEAK is fine, did it the week before attempting Kananaskis Peak

    OPAL RIDGE SOUTH is also fine

  • Wayne Hortensius Aug 20, 2013, 9:36 am

    Rachel, re: Jura Creek

    I went about 2km up the creek (to within 1 km of the Palliser – Exshaw contact). The lower canyon is now tree free with the exception of one tiny one over the very first water pool. You can still keep your feet dry by using some of the strategically placed rocks and in one place bracing your feet against the wall and doing a bit of chimneying. It’s different than it was but not dramatically harder. I expect the number of strategic rocks will likely increase with time as well.

    The same day I was up there another geocacher went about 1-1/2 km further (about 1/2 km north of the Palliser – Exshaw contact). They reported a few log piles in the creek bed and missing creekside trail sections but they were able to get through.

  • Rachel Aug 19, 2013, 9:45 pm

    Wayne, re: Jura Creek
    How far up did you go? Are there no new trees stranded in the lower canyon / are the usual trees still there?
    Did you see if the false fault area and upper canyon are still visible?

  • Steve Riggs Aug 19, 2013, 8:34 pm

    I had heard that via the MTB grapevine Derek, so I wasn’t too surprised to see the temporary bridges brightly painted in the Shell colors.
    At least they are letting us bike on “their” road.
    Looks to me like the GOA is footdragging on re-opening Hwy. 40 up to the pass from the north. Not allowing biking or walking on it makes little sense, and apparently to do so would be far more serious a crime than causing the death of a bear by ignoring food storage rules.

  • Derek Ryder Aug 19, 2013, 9:29 am

    Steve, I have heard 3rd or 4th hand (so take this with a grain or two of salt) that Powderface Trail was “signed over” to Shell to enable their access to their sour gas facilities and pipelines when the flood took out Hwy 66’s bridge over the Elbow. What I heard is that the GOA gave Shell a 4 month exclusive road use agreement. Shell brought the road up to their oil and gas standards by fixing washouts, culverts and adding a temporary bridge, but will pull it all out when the road use agreement expires.

    Having worked in the oil and gas biz for 30+ years, a road fixed to “oil and gas standards” isn’t necessarily fixed very well at all. Also,exclusive use road agreements are not uncommon in the oil and gas world, just not usually ones that affect the general public like this one does. These agreements commonly have upgrades to the road in them that are in place only for the duration of the agreement. Smart folks negotiating these get the upgrades left behind — like the movie company that upgraded the Fortress bridge during the filming of Inception.

    The fact that Hwy 40 isn’t getting fixed south of the Highwood Pass this year appears to be one of road repair budget management from a Government with lots of repairs to do but a big deficit. Powderface is not like this. The damage on Powderface was minimal enough that whoever took that road over (Shell, by what I heard) had it “open” to their use in under 3 days. If what I have described is true, when the road use agreement expires, there’s a good chance Powderface will re-open quickly, even if “Shell” pulls out the repairs they did.

    Now, as I mentioned, this is all 3rd or 4th hand, so don’t everyone start getting mad at the GOA or Shell unless you can get a confirmation on it. But also, don’t expect to get a vehicle down Powderface for a while yet.

  • Steve Riggs Aug 18, 2013, 12:23 am

    By bike of course, making a loop via the still closed but very drivable Powderface Road which has temporary bridges installed and a few somewhat rougher spots with little sign of ongoing work, which leads one to assume that opening might be a ways off. As a rider, I could get used to the absence of dust and washboarding.
    The footbridges at either end are out- stepping stones make for an easy, dry feet creek crossing at the bottom of JP North, and there is a very serviceable log bridge just upstream of the trail at Dawson.
    The trails are in about the same shape as in the past several years with a bit more erosion in a few spots and more loose rock here and there, balanced out by other areas where the former loose surface has been scrubbed clean. The descent off Cox to Dawson was as enjoyable as always.
    I would rate conditions as very good for both biking and hiking.

  • Kirsten Aug 17, 2013, 7:41 pm

    HEART MOUNTAIN – has anyone recently done the loop? Has it dried up in the swampy part?

  • Derek Ryder Aug 16, 2013, 10:43 pm

    A nice young man from Alberta Parks — and his chainsaw — went up the winter trail to the lake today today, cut all the deadfall, and moved it into the bush. So there’s nothing left to step over.

    He did NOT do the summer trail from the bridge up to the lake. Despite Alf’s earlier observation regarding the status of Rummel as a summer trail, this section of the trail gets no maintenance, as Parks does not treat it as an official trail. The fine gentleman mentioned that he was “cleaning up the route for winter use”.

    If you want to use the “summer” trail past the bridge, white cotton flagging has been put in on a rough “route” that avoids the landslide just before the official bridge. However, it’s FAR easier to descend to the creek, cross it on the improvised 2×10 bridge, parallel the creek on the temporary trail to the old bridge, then cross back o the official bridge.

    As mentioned by others, there’s one confusing bit on the summer trail in one of the avi slopes that’s full of rock. We could not find the “correct” way across to the old trail. There was a cairn at the start and not much else. We used an old GPS track that I had to get ourselves back on the trail. The only hint I can offer is that you’ll probably end up to the left/towards the creek of where you should be. So if you make it across the rocky mess and do not find a trail, try turning right.

  • Alf Skrastins Aug 15, 2013, 9:14 pm

    OK, so this isn’t hiking, but paddling on Upper Kananaskis Lake is a great way to experience the area from a different perspective. Watch the weather and only go out when winds are forecast to be light, as it can blow up on the Kananaskis Lakes. We checked out the bridges at Lower Kananaskis Falls and Sarrail Creek. Both are tilted a bit due to washed out foundations. People still seem to be using the “closed” Sarrail Creek bridge.

  • Gillean Daffern Aug 15, 2013, 2:18 pm

    The route mentioned previously on Aug. 12 is now flagged. Slight change above Ranger Creek. The route now goes diagonally up right on a narrow trail and through a gap in the first fence.

  • Wayne Hortensius Aug 15, 2013, 1:56 pm

    Jura Creek

    I hiked a couple of kilometres up Jura Creek this morning without any problems. It may look a little different in places (more rocks, fewer logs) but it’s no more difficult. The trails the occasionally run alongside the creek seem to have survived largely intact. The creek seems to have stayed mostly within its bed. I only saw a couple of places where sand had been deposited, and there were only a handful of trees that had been swept into the creek.

  • Will Arnold Aug 15, 2013, 10:58 am

    Rockbound Lake
    The West Winds Seniors Hiking Club went to Rockbound Lake yesterday (Castle Mountain area). The trail was fine all the way – no problems. Parks Canada has installed several really nice new stream crossings along the way, to replace washed out areas. So, it it in great shape.

  • Derek Ryder Aug 14, 2013, 5:53 pm

    I was down there today, and while we did virtually no hiking, this report with photos of the road conditions would probably be of interest.


  • Alan Kane Aug 13, 2013, 2:00 pm

    Grizzly Creek/Opal Ridge

    I hiked up the north side of Grizzly Creek on the sheep trail that runs well above the creek and continued up around to south end of Opal Ridge. Most of the animal trail is still intact and quite good. The steep gullies coming off Opal Ridge have washed out a few bits. The sheep have not completely agreed on where to make the new trail and ultimately, it is they who decide in cases like this. I flagged in places to make their job easier (Ha!) When in doubt, go upwards. The last major gully you encounter is the widest one and you can slog up it directly to the slopes at the foot of Opal Ridge. This gully is identifiable by grey rock on west side, brown rock walls on east side, narrow and steep in the middle. Almost all sheep go up this way and their trail up is very clear. If you go up it, stay above the drainage on the left (west side) mostly on rubble. It is now wet slabby bedrock in the center. This is also a quick way down from Opal Traverse and the sheep tracks heading down it were also obvious from above.

    As for access into there via the SOUTH side of Grizzly Creek, the north-facing slopes of Grizzly Peak have dumped huge amounts of rubble across those slopes but I could see a faint continuation of the original undamaged sheep trails forming across the new debris already. Grizzly Creek itself was, and is, impractical if not impassable.

  • Alf Skrastins Aug 13, 2013, 10:41 am

    The King Creek Day Use area is closed, because the floods have removed part of the parking lot, so you have to park on the side of the road. The King Creek Ridge trail is the unchanged from before the flood. It is as good (or bad) as ever. I went up the “old” trail and came down the more heavily travelled and flagged “new” trail. Both trails have their pleasant portions and both have stupidly steep switchback sections. There is plenty of good terrain on the SW flank to build a nice, sustainable route, but nobody seems to have taken the time to scout it out yet. Too bad, since the upper ridge-line is really worthy of a better approach trail. I did not descend to King Creek or try the Canyon exit. I’m curious if anyone has checked it out.

  • Joanna Ford Aug 13, 2013, 10:34 am

    SHEEP – On Saturday I did a loop up Bluerock Creek to Gorge Creek Trail and back via Indian Oils. There have been a ton of horses and/or cows on Bluerock Creek and Gorge Creek, so while the trails are fine they are extremely mucky, smelly and full of flies. I’d go elsewhere as it really wasn’t that much fun.

    Indian Oils is in good shape.

  • Gillean Daffern Aug 12, 2013, 6:27 pm

    Anyone wanting to hike Fullerton /Elbow or access Snagmore Hill from Allen Bill Pond is in for a big surprise. The trail has been severed just a little way along, the river now running in rapids below a high bank. The lovely meadow has completely disappeared, and in its northward push, the river has come within a few metres of the gate in the fence before the climb up the hill to the Fullerton Loop junction.

    What hikers are doing is climbing one of two very steep muddy chutes to the bank top just before the trail ends and picking up a trail on the far side of a barbed wire fence. This is in no way ideal. I mean, some people were using a rope! I suppose it would be OK if a zigzagging trail was built up the slope.

    There is an easier way. At one time there was talk of putting a parking lot on the north side of Hwy. 66 opposite Allen Bill Pond specifically for people using these trails. Now may be an opportune time to rethink that idea?
    So you start from Allen Bill Pond parking lot near the entrance. Walk out to Hwy. 66. In the angle with Ranger Creek Road, head at 2 pm on the clock across grass and through a few trees to Ranger Creek. Two logs at a narrowing make the crossing easy. Climb up the far grassy bank—easy going— and near the top wend right on a bit of a trail and hop over a fence. Keeping right, follow the obvious trail along the bank top. Out on the point, the trail heads left and winds through a few trees, then emerges into a meadow to the left of a fence. This is where the route from the chutes comes in. Continue to follow the trail which is now very good. Come to the powerline right-of-way used by the bikers. Cross it and cross the fence at the “stretchy” gate with red flagging. A sign reads “Please close the gate.” Descend a short steep muddy hill to a creeklet. Cross and in a few metres intersect the original trail just before the climb up that first hill. Turn left. Then all is as before.
    Interestingly, if you follow the powerline trail uphill you come to where the right-of-way makes a right-angled turn to the left. Should you cross the fence here at yellow flagging (no gate) and follow the flagging for just a few metres, you emerge on Fullerton Loop, the ridge section, twixt the steps and the gate. http://bit.ly/18qKP5W

  • Maurice Gaucher Aug 11, 2013, 7:15 pm

    BURSTALL PASS –Our club did this hike on Tuesday, Aug. 6th. From the regular parking area all was fine all the way to the top of the pass. The usual picking a way through the braided streams in the Robertson flats — no problem. Only one area of very modest flood damage before the flats and no snow anywhere on the trail.

  • Alf Skrastins Aug 10, 2013, 10:37 pm

    Mt. Indefatigable
    Did the Mt. indefatigable scramble today. The trail to the junction of the south summit route and the Indefatigable Outlier is better than it has been for years. The flood has flushed most of the loose gravel off of the trail. Beyond the junction, the trails are the same as ever. The seasonal pond in the basin is pretty much dried up right now. The flower meadows are not as flower filled as most years. The views are as spectacular as ever.

  • Gillean Daffern Aug 10, 2013, 8:49 pm

    This mostly pertains to access.
    #31, SHEEP TRAIL WEST: the Burns Bridge has gone.
    # 30, JUNCTION CREEK: The usual crossing place of the Sheep River now has a stoney flat on the far side, then a steep bank up onto the old logging road. A detour trail farther to the left gains you the road. The crossing place is a bit more bouldery than it used to be and horses were having difficulty crossing as of Aug. 10. An easier crossing place lies a little upstream: Start from the first of the lower parking lots as you go round the loop road, then head straight for the river bank and down the steepish bank to an upright picnic table firmly entrenched in the muck. Cross here onto the stoney flat and walk left along it to the logging road crossing.
    # 9, SHEEP TRAIL EAST , access to JUNCTION LOOKOUT, GREEN MOUNTAIN trail, MT. HOFFMANN etc from Indian Oils day-use. Since we lost the bridge over Tiger Jaws Falls, the only option is wading the Sheep River. Equestrians were crossing at the first bend upstream but the water was as high as a horse’s belly and the falls are a bit too close! Hikers will likely have to walk another 200 m upstream to the end of the new stoney flat and cross a relatively calm stretch of river on a diagonal downstream to reach Sheep trail upstream of the T-junction above the falls. As of Aug 10, the water was too fast and too deep to cross safely.
    #25, INDIAN OILS WEST LEG. The equestrian trail that connects Sheep trail upstream of Sheep Falls to Indian Oils trail has almost completely disappeared between Sheep trail and Hwy. 546. Ironically, the Sheep River has changed its course here and what was once a really bad river crossing for two-legged hikers is now much easier. Or will be when the water levels drop. The trail on the north side is eclipsed by stones, mud and fallen trees. From the stoney flat, it’s best to get onto the damaged Sheep Falls parking lot road at the loop and walk out to Hwy. 541.
    SHEEP FALLS ACCESS: The little trail to the viewpoint for Sheep Falls has a washout at the side creek crossing. When we were there, a family with many kids was busy building a bridge out of logs.
    #7 PRICE CAMP, #4 WOLF CREEK trails: The access road to Sandy McNabb day use area is closed to vehicles. Park at the skating rink parking lot and either walk down the road or use the equestrian trail. The river here was fast flowing, brown and bank to bank, as wide as I have ever seen it. No stones showing. When the flow lessens, doesn’t appear to be any difficulty crossing to Wolf Creek trail. There are ways through downed trees on the far bank into the meadow. No problem either getting onto Price Camp trail from the far bank.
    SANDY MCNABB DAY-USE AREA: Opposite a bite out of the road, a diagonal step across the entire Sheep River has appeared. It’s quite attractive with mini waterfalls cascading down runnels in the stones. The biffy is OK. The picnicking place is buried under mud and silt. The tops of picnic tables are now at ground level.

  • Alf Skrastins Aug 9, 2013, 9:36 pm

    I did a quick loop by heading up Powderface Creek (Trail #21) to Second Gap Trail (#23), then along the ridge line to the Corri Robb Trail (#24) and down under the White Buddha to the old Powderface Creek Pack Trail (#21A), which I followed back to the parking lot.
    There is lots of evidence of flooding along the Powderface Creek Trail (old road), but the route is quite hikeable. No problems at all with the Second Gap Trail. The route from Second Gap to Corri Robb is much better than I remember. Perhaps traffic to a geocache site on the ridge has helped? The Corri Robb trail on the White Buddha side is in very good shape. The old pack trail is excellent and as enjoyable as ever.
    The creek crossing at the parking lot is quite deep right where the trail crosses, but it is possible to hop across a couple of stones just upstream.

  • Alf Skrastins Aug 9, 2013, 9:19 pm

    Joanna, the trails in the Sheep Valley generally survived the floods quite well, except right along creeks and rivers. I have not been up the Sheep Valley past the Bluerock Campground, but from what I have seen elsewhere along the Sheep, I would expect no bridges and a lot of damage around every river crossing.
    Bluerock Creek should be good for the most part, since is generally stays away from the creek. You’ll have to ford the creek to get to the ridge.
    As an alternative, I suggest you check out the Indian Oils trail. It is in good condition.

  • Kelly McDonald Aug 9, 2013, 7:37 pm


    Perhaps I misunderstood, but I thought the ministerial closure for Peter Lougheed was lifted several weeks back. We did encounter some caution tape at the Upper Kananaskis bridge, but no closure tape. We did change our plans to do the Northover Ridge route due to the facility closures at Three Isle, but until the latest trail report Astor Lake wasn’t even mentioned.

    Either way, the latest report has Astor Lake, Three isle and Turbine as open

  • Kananaskis Info Aug 9, 2013, 1:54 pm

    Alberta Parks’ Peter Lougheed Provincial Park Trail Crew staff have reconstructed bridges on the Three-Isle Lake Trail opening up access to parts of the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park Backcountry. Visitors can now access the Forks, Turbine and Three-Isle Lake Backcountry Campgrounds. The Aster Lake Backcountry Campground and access route are also open, providing access to the popular, but difficult, Northover Ridge Route.

    Please be advised that many hazards exist along all trails, including Three-Isle, the Upper Kananaskis Lake Circuit between Point Campground and the Aster Lake Route, the Aster Lake Route itself and Maude-Lawson Trail. Hazards include washouts, route finding where trails have washed away and bridges being passable but incomplete.

  • Derek Ryder Aug 9, 2013, 10:01 am

    Kelly McDonald: In order to get to Aster, you need to cross closure tape (in at least 2 places) and enter areas closed under Ministerial Order. In other words, you need to break the law. While I think we all appreciate the trail status report, I really can’t recommend breaking the law and entering closed areas as a hiking strategy. I can attest to the fact that the Conservation Officers don’t have any patience with this. I’m not in the policing business, but they are.

    There’s probably a number of people who are on this thread who disagree with the closures, but they are in place. If you’re in there and get in trouble, the rescue you will expect and require will put the Kananaskis Emergency Services folks at risk, which isn’t fair to them.

    In my volunteer work with Parks, I’ve had the opportunity to go into some of these closure areas to work in there or work to open them, and universally I’ve learned there are reasons for the closures. It’s in Parks best interest to open as much as they can as fast as they can, and there are a whole lot of folks working hard to open stuff, Parks staff and volunteers alike. There are a lot of areas still closed, but there’s an awful lot open, too. There’s no reason to go into Aster and a closed area when other equally wonderful places are open.

    There’s lots of room to help if you want to get these closed areas open sooner. Join the Friends of Kananaskis or sign up on the Parks volunteer page. Energetic hikers who want the trails to be fixed are always welcome.

  • Joanna Ford Aug 9, 2013, 5:45 am

    BLUEROCK – I am headed out to Bluerock to camp for the weekend. Usually when I am in this area I run up Sheep Trail to Rae Lake. I have read that the area by the cabin is ‘impassable.’ Has anyone been up in this area to confirm this? The valley is so wide that I am having a hard time picturing this.
    I am also curious about the state of Bluerock creek. Has there been a lot of trail damage?
    Thanks for your help.

  • Alan Kane Aug 8, 2013, 9:10 pm

    Elk Pass
    First bridge over Fox Creek okay but then washout and debris start soon after that. The 2nd bridge is intact, 3rd bridge gone, easy wade or log crossing, then more washout for a ways after that but no great problems. You’d be carrying your bike for some distance now though instead of riding all the way. Trail to Frozen Lake is fine.

    Same as ever going up. I took a close look at the optional gully descent and decided against it. Could be problematic as has been scoured clean due to all that water, but I’d like to know if anyone does descend it. Looked slabbier than I recall (and steeper too!) Water flowing in it.

    Exshaw Creek
    The first obstacle is the dam which is now 30 ft above you since they dug it out. You need to be high on the righthand hillside well before you get there (maybe 50-75m above creek level about where powerlines are) to get past it and then immediately descend to the creek on an animal trail. This meets the creek just 10m upstream of dam. Travelling up the creek is not as bad as travelling up Stewart Creek is, but not much fun as a hike anymore. Some parts not bad, like the first half hour. Otherwise, wall to wall gravel and rock for much of it, occasional jumbles of trees and slumping hillsides. Every little side gully has brought down debris. The turnoff to Mt Fable looked so different I did not recognize it. Occasionally you can still find the old trail on the right hand side in the trees. Went as far as next side valley north of Fable and it hadn’t improved much to there.

    Stewart Creek/Middle Sister
    Some bits of the old trail do still exist on left side when going up Stewart Creek but it’s definitely a chore to travel compared to before. Harder than the ascent of Middle Sister for sure. Like Exshaw Creek, you’d need a reason to go all the way. Toward the end where the drainage steepens and curves right I found it better to go up on the open hillside on the right side close to the trees, then angle across back into drainage when you’re well past the steep ugly looking parts below in the scoured out drainage.

  • Steve Riggs Aug 8, 2013, 5:49 am

    Powderface Ridge, July 7.
    By bike, I went north up the closed gravel road from the end of Hwy 66., up the shortcut to 3 trail pass, then over Powderface ridge trail back down to the highway. Generally things are much the same as before the floods- eroded, rocky, rooty, only more so now.
    This bumps it up a bit in terms of challenge for riders, but for hikers it really hasn’t changed that much, other than an impressive landslide about halfway along the “below the ridge” section that has taken out 30 m of trail and a lot of trees and rock, but is easily walked across. There are 5-6 trees down, between the summit and south end, some of which have been there for a year now. Removing most of them would require more than a pruning saw.

  • Kelly McDonald Aug 7, 2013, 6:15 pm

    Hiked up to Astor Lake with a few friends for the weekend. The trail around Upper Lake is generally good with some damage around the Upper Kananaskis Falls and the turn off to Hidden Lake.

    The water level at Hidden Lake is still very high so the only option is to take the unofficial trail through the forest around the lake. Lots of deadfall and a few rock washouts so don’t expect to move quickly through this section.

    The first headwall is fine, while the second headwall has a 20 foot section of rotten scree just before the cliffs. There is a partial washout that can be navigated by climbing higher over the areas. Once into the upper col most of the trail is fine, except around Foch Creek where a 30 foot section is covered by the creek which is running pretty high. The campground is fine and Astor Lake is beautiful with all of the alpine flowers out In spectacular fashion. Bumped into another group who were doing Astor, Northover Ridge and out through Three Isle as a day hike, not sure how they planned to make it out as there are still several bridges out on the Three Isle Lake trail

    Above all bring your DEET, the Mosquitos are out I full force

  • Derek Ryder Aug 7, 2013, 4:45 pm

    I didn’t go very far today, but I did cross the Galatea suspension bridge to the new trail that provides access to the Terrace Trail. See the photos of the other side of the Galatea Bridge here.

  • Alf Skrastins Aug 7, 2013, 9:29 am

    One earlier comment noted that Rummel Lake was an official winter trail, but an unofficial summer trail. That is actually incorrect. Here is the direct quote from the 2006 Peter Lougheed/Spray Management Plan.
    “The Rummel Lake trail will be designated for hiking and upgraded or rerouted where necessary. Parks staff will work with Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation to determine a suitable location for a trailhead parking area with standard facilities to serve this trail. The trail may be used for backcountry ski touring in winter but will not be groomed. A new backcountry campground of about ten sites will be developed at Rummel Lake for winter use only.”
    Seven years later, part of the winter route has been built and signed. There are still no trailhead facilities or signage for the first half of the trail.

  • Alf Skrastins Aug 6, 2013, 10:10 pm

    Wayne, the “Sawmill” trails were originally logging haul roads. Some of them were cleared of debris and designated as the “Smith-Dorrien XC Ski Trail System” and as a mountain bike trail network for the summer. The only exception is the 2.4km west half of the “Sawmill Loop”, which used to wander back and forth along James Walker Creek. XC trail grooming became sporadic with the Ralph Klein cut-backs and completely stopped about 15 years ago. They were re-signed as snowshoe trails two years ago.
    The old Red/Yellow/Green XC trail (now re-named “Snowdrift”) gets to the same place on the trail system, also in 2.4km, and is in great shape.
    There has been damage to this trail system wherever it came close to Chester Creek, Headwall Creek, James Walker Creek or Sawmill Creek, so it will take some trail repair work and/or rerouting to get the area back in shape. However, the bulk of the “Chester-Sawmill” trail system is still in good condition.

  • Alf Skrastins Aug 6, 2013, 9:38 pm

    I took advantage of the new one-lane bridge on Hwy #66 to head up the Elbow Valley to Rainy Summit. I did a quick hike up Rainy Summit Ridge (Hike #30 in the Kananaskis Country Trail Guide, 4th Edition, Volume #2, West Bragg/Elbow/Jumpingpound). I followed the route as described in the guidebook to the viewpoint. The easiest route to the Rainy Summit Overlook is to go left and slightly up from the treed col and contour on a pretty good trail around the south slope of the overlook. This brings you to a cairn on the ridge, at a spot that is almost level with the second col of the Powderface Ridge Trail. In fact, the Rainy Summit Ridge route is a faster, more enjoyable way to this point on Powderface Ridge than the normal Powderface Ridge Trail.
    On the way down, I followed the older version of the Rainy Summit Ridge trail to the old logging roads. All of the trails are in good shape and are free of deadfall or debris.

  • Alf Skrastins Aug 6, 2013, 8:23 pm

    I believe that the Spencer Creek trail is included in “The Kananaskis Trail Guide, 4th Edition, Volume 3 “, which should be available in bookstores any day now.

  • RyderDA Aug 6, 2013, 6:23 pm

    Based on Alf’s short comment in this thread, I went up Spencer Creek on Aug 6. See the full trip report in the forums section. Great trail, great place. Deserves to be better known.

  • Wayne Hortensius Aug 6, 2013, 5:35 pm

    Sawmill Snowshoe Trail

    A good portion of the west side of this trail is gone. The creek came right down the trail and wiped it out from just past the first meadow to as far as I got up it (about 1.3-1.4 km). All that’s left is huge washouts, massive piles of broken trees and rocks and gravel everywhere. It didn’t look too bad at first but by the time I was turned back by a thunderstorm the devastation was total. From the bit of the trail at the start that survived I don’t imagine this ever was a summer trail but I have my doubts about it ever being a winter trail again.

  • Rachel Aug 6, 2013, 4:23 pm

    (excuse my uneditable misplaced ‘unfortunately’)

  • Rachel Aug 6, 2013, 4:22 pm

    Thanks! That’s really unfortunately about Marmot Creek. I had a feeling it might be gone with the cliff edge having likely lost a significant amount of ground. Not sure whether it’s even safe to check it out, or if the edge might be undercut and still stabilizing.

  • RyderDA Aug 5, 2013, 11:41 pm

    Rachel: Partial reports, but it’s a start.

    Hogarth Lakes: I’ve been in around them doing volunteer work, though up until recently had never been there, so have no pre-flood info to compare to. Aside from the old fire roads filling in with trees, I saw no issues. Note, if you’re going higher up (trail 87B in Gillean’s 4th Edition), the creek crossing of Burstall was knee deep last week.

    Three Sisters Pass: I haven’t done it, but suspect having driven by it looking at the start that the first part could be quite ugly. The creek bed is twice as wide as it used to be, and the old trail was in that creek bed. I saw no cairns marking any sort of trail when I scouted the start.

    Bow Valley Park Interpretive Trails are all fine.

    Stoneworks: I’ve been up just beyond the Montane Traverse trail junction. The canyon is twice as wide as it used to be up there. Still, the trail was OK on the bank as far as I took it.

    Stoney Trail: Water main construction at the Stoney Parking Lot should be finished soon. Barrier Dam is now open. Major debris on the trail near Jewel Pass trail start (Jewel Pass still closed — heavy equipment needed for repair — Jewel Bay Back Country Campsite now open). Trail in OK shape but creek and drainage crossings are a mess; in this case, it’s REALLY hard to go astray, though.

    Marmot Creek: Have not been up it, but have it on good authority that trail is likely gone forever, at least as a summer trail.

  • Rod Wood Aug 5, 2013, 11:39 am

    I hiked up Three Sisters Creek to Three Sisters Pass on August 4. This is the north approach from the Canmore side that starts from Three Sisters Blvd on the Highline trail. There is a new bridge over the creek made from a section of the wood and wire pipeline (old bridge was washed out). Immediately after the new bridge you get off the Highline trail and follow the creek. The trail to the mining dam and the waterfall are in good shape. Beyond the waterfall the trail has been entirely washed away except for an isolated 50 m section. Although clogged with dead trees, these can be avoided and it is basically a boulder hop. The so-called route to the pass up the right hand fork is a figment of the imagination (although the fork itself is marked with pink flagging). Sturdy boots and topo map essential.

  • Rachel Aug 5, 2013, 10:11 am

    Hi all,
    I have summarized all the reports I have seen, and made a list of the trails/routes/areas for which I have seen no or uncertain posts. Has anyone done any of the following?

    Bow Valley Provincial Park interpretive trails
    Yamnuska Natural Area trails
    Cougar Creek route and climbing routes
    Stoneworks Canyon
    Diamond T, Elbow Vally, and Sulphur Springs loops
    Moose Mountain trail
    Canyon Creek
    Powderface Creek
    White Buddha
    Rainy Summit area trails
    Junction Creek
    Grass Pass
    Gunnery Mountain and Creek
    Junction Hill
    Lower Kananaskis River trail.
    Stoney Trail
    Porcupine Creek and Ridge
    Wasootch Slabs
    Marmot Creek
    Terrace Trail
    Old Baldy Ridge
    Opal Ridge
    Grizzly Peak
    King Creek Ridge
    Mount Lawrence Grassi
    Three Sisters Pass
    Hogarth Lakes

  • Kirsten Aug 4, 2013, 6:51 am

    Re: Old Goat – hiked it last Wednesday and you are able to drive into the campground right to the trailhead. Plenty of ripe strawberries there at the moment!

  • thepassionatehiker Aug 4, 2013, 4:57 am

    Sparrowhawk Tarns:
    No issues with the trail – plain sailing all the way up through the forest and up the various rock bands to the furthest of the tarns below the mountain wall. These upper two tarns are starting to shrink as the year goes by, and have muddy edges. In particular, the level of the right hand tarn has dropped quite a bit, leaving a muddy strip of meadow on its lower edge. It almost looks like there had been a surge of water over the lower edge, perhaps during the floods? Probably not! But it would be worth seeing these tarns in early summer when they are full.
    A beautiful walk with bright green grass, lots of wildflowers and mini-waterfalls. On the way back, if you keep a high contour across the valley it’s worth dropping down to the first tarn from above, down into a rocky creek.

  • Steve Riggs Aug 3, 2013, 5:38 pm

    I forgot to add in the comment below- that if people want to use this access, they should park at Allen Bill and not in the service area.

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