Kananaskis Trails Update – Mainly Good News

Memorial Lakes Trail. The dicey traverse of the shale bank, lately equipped with a rope that showed just how bad it had got, has been  replaced by a brand new trail that crosses the creek, runs along the mossy west bank, then returns to the east bank beyond all difficulty via a second new bridge over a small cascade. (Jeff E always looks for the best crossing places.) There are future plans to tackle the trail up the headwall, but you’re gonna have to wait awhile. In the meantime this new bypass will put travelling to the canyon waterfalls in winter on the cards, as they say.  It’s 7 km one way from Ribbon Creek parking lot. But you’ve  got to do it before December 3 when the valley closes until next June 15.

The new trail on the west bank.

The second bridge.

Picklejar Lakes. Jeff’s counterpart James C in Peter Lougheed P Park, has greatly improved the route up Lantern Creek. Everyone I met on the trail is especially happy that the steep flog to the col is a thing of the past. Now we can enjoy some easy zigs through the trees to the left.

On the final zig to the col.

Tom Snow Trail has been completed along the east bank of Moose Creek to the watershed boundary with Bragg Creek. With adequate snow, its undulating, winding nature should give excellent skiing and snowshoeing. See the next entry.

Tom Snow trail below the cutblocks.

Accessing the Tom Snow Trail from Spruce Woods day-use area. After the 2013 flood demolished the footbridge over Jumpingpound Creek, connecting  to the Tom Snow became problematical. The two options were walking the Husky well road or waiting for low water when one could cross logs at the narrows. Well, finally there is action. Just before snowfall, Jeff E and his crew built the Tom Snow Connector that heads north from the parking area down a ridge with 17 steps to Jumpingpound Creek at a small waterfall and swim hole. From here it veers south to join the Tom Snow and Husky well road at the Coxhill Creek road bridge. Right now the only thing missing is the bridge over JP Creek, a fiberglass model that will go in next year.

Steps down to Jumpingpound Creek.

The site of the forthcoming bridge.

The trail between the bridge and Coxhill Creek bridge.

Moose Creek Interpretive Trail. While  you can walk sections by climbing over and manoeuvering around deadfall, you can’t do the loop because of the washout above Moose Creek. The only possibility of getting round this impasse is to run a new trail from the far side of the Tom Snow bridge over Moose Creek to the interpretive trail beyond the washout which means putting in another bridge. Unlikely to happen anytime soon.

After years of neglect the trail is growing over and has derdfall across it.

Mustang Hills. It seems odd that after paving the road to Cobble Flats and promoting the area as a picnic site, the whole area is due to be logged by SLS in either 2019/20 or  2020/21. This of course affects trails on the Mustang Hills. SLS is aware of the trails  we use, but because they are unofficial, they are not required to protect them.

Mustang Hills logging courtesy Alf Skrastins and SLS.

Despite protests from all quarters, logging around Highwood Junction is slated to start today, Saturday the 18th. Adjustments have been made to reduce the visual impact from the highway.

View from Junction Hill of the proposed logging.

5 comments… add one
  • Gillean Daffern Jan 31, 2018, 3:27 pm

    The latest logging news: Logging around Highwood Junction has been postponed for at least a year; logging in the Mustang Hills has been brought forward to next winter.

  • dave Dec 26, 2017, 12:40 pm

    Mustang hills , as with any crop which is why these trees were grown there , there comes a time to harvest , having said that I dont like clear cutting ,the forests will be replanted and will in many years time look like they do now, sadly we as humans use a huge amount of wood and it has to come from somewhere, its a rotational crop but as it takes decades to grow we tend to think its always been there just take a look at the photos of kananaskis valley in the last war most of Mt Baldy etc had no trees at all. the will grow back , what I would like to see is spray lakes improve trails and bridges etc when they are done this would have a great impact on public perception after cutting etc.

  • RyderDA Dec 11, 2017, 5:56 pm

    Worth mentioning that Friends of Kananaskis volunteers helped with Tom Snow work and all the sections of the Picklejar access up Lantern Creek.

  • TimO Nov 28, 2017, 10:32 am

    I finally felt I should try the trails around the Mustang Hills for the first time after reading this article. Interesting terrain and multiple viewpoints, no Horses this time but their calling cards were around. You can unfortunately see Spray Lakes clearcutting in every direction. Despite that I think I will be back again.

  • Pete Nov 19, 2017, 6:43 pm

    That’s a shame about Mustang Hills. One of my favorite places to hike. Once again we can blame spray lakes sawmills for turning another beautiful part of Kananaskis into an eyesore.

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