Ribbon Creek Update

The trail up Ribbon Creek from the parking lot to Link junction is now officially open, though a little rough in places still.  The main thing is: All 6 bridges are in place. It’s touted for hikers and snowshoers, and, interestingly, the steps up to bridge #3 have double the tread, presumably to accommodate snowshoes. Distance 2.5 km.

First bridge

The first bridge. All the main bridges are expensive girder construction with large spans.

There is still a log jam just upstream of the third bridge (the one with the steps).

There is still a log jam just upstream of the third bridge (the one with the steps).

The bridge over Ribbon Creek at Link

The bridge over Ribbon Creek at Link trail

The new ski/bike trail goes nowhere near the flagging mentioned in the last post on Ribbon Creek!  From the expected rolling cross-country trail it’s morphed into of those up-down trails in the trees with a height gain of 104 m (340 ft) from the parking lot. One skis up Hidden trail, then Centennial Ridge trail (Coal Mine in winter) for 600 m before turning off left onto the new trail that is 1.2 km in length. More easy uphill leads to the high point. After  an uncharacteristic  stretch of flat old road, the descent into Ribbon Creek across the steep hillside is a doozie: killer S-bends followed by a succession of steep hills, much steeper than anything on Link or Kovach with which it will be combined. In our estimation this trail could be rated hard intermediate, but it will be interesting to see how it skis. Who’s going to be the first to report back?

The snaking downhill on the ski/bike trail.

The snaking downhill on the ski/bike trail.

I imagine bikers will use it in the east to west direction. Snowshoeing? Lots of hard work and no views. Hiking? Unless you’re in training forget it. Distance 3 km from the parking lot to Link junction. What I  can tell you is that novice skiers and bikers will probably be using the trail up the creek.


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8 comments… add one
  • Alf Skrastins Nov 3, 2015, 1:02 am

    I was pleased to find 25cm of snow at the Ribbon Creek parking lot, so I decided to check the new, higher Ribbon Creek XC Ski trail for myself. As luck would have it, trail designer and ski groomer Jeff was also at the trailhead and about to go up there on a snowmobile. Not only did I have plenty of snow, but I’d have a packed track too!
    The first 500m or so of the new trail, heading west from Coal Mine trail is a lovely, gently climbing and slightly undulating trail. The short side trail to a viewpoint offers a nice little break. The descent back down to Ribbon Creek is short (about 500m) and is a mixture of rounded switchbacks and undulating rolls… a lot of fun, actually.
    The rest of the way to the the lovely curved bridge that marks the start of the Kovach Link trail is pretty much the same as before, but with more open views as a result of erosion caused by the 2013 flood.
    I came back on the same trail, in order to see how it skis in the easterly direction. After double poling along Ribbon Creek, there is a 500m distance of climbing. But it’s broken up into a number of short steps and you’re past it in a few minutes. From there, it is a nice, steady, fun downhill glide back to the parking lot.
    I expect most people will want to ski this trail in the easterly direction from Kovach Link.

  • Jeff Oct 21, 2015, 11:34 am

    A lot of thought went into Ribbon, at issue on the lower part was the lack of usable land for a ski trail similar to what was there before. Building large bridges capable of handling a snow cat was very expensive and in some cases an engineering nightmare. It also involved moving the creek which really isn’t an option. we really wanted to build a trail with the same beginner’s feel of the old one but after weighing the options it just wasn’t reasonably possible . The new lower trail is wide enough to ski, snowshoe , bike and hike. As a summer trail it wil be a nicer hike with six bridge crossings, close contact to the river and a nice cool shady walk in the heat of the summer. Snowshoers will enjoy being on an easy flat trail, fat bikers will have a nice 10km out and back and some skiers may find a usable skier set track . The high ski trail is not beginner but it will also offer an intermediate alternative plus it will be groomed and track set. The hilly section is roughly 500m of the overall 5 km loop and will be similar to a section of Skogan Pass. Viewpoints are being added that will allow for excellent views of Mt Kidd the Ribbon Valley and south down Highway 40. The trail had to be kept in the trees as it is South facing and will have an issue with sun exposure. The new ski trail is also a winter only trail and will be signed accordingly.

  • Pete Oct 16, 2015, 4:54 pm

    Since the lower trail won’t be track set for skiers in the winter they opted for the new upper trail which can be groomed and track set. The old road ended only a few hundred meters above ribbon creek trail so the decision was made to join the two despite the steepness.

  • GMJ Oct 16, 2015, 11:51 am

    Oh I see. Still seems odd they would go to all the trouble and expense of making two trails though…

  • Pete Oct 15, 2015, 11:51 pm

    Not sure. Probably has to do with making the trail accessible to everyone. Since it’s such a popular area they are probably trying to cater to people that wouldn’t be able for steeper trails. I heard through the grapevine the first kilometre of ribbon creek was eventually to be an interpretive trail that was wheelchair accessible plus a year round multi-use trail.

  • GMJ Oct 15, 2015, 9:57 am

    So… than I would wonder why they put all the money into those expensive bridges….

  • Pete Oct 14, 2015, 11:13 pm

    After the flood of 2013 most damaged trails are being built higher upslope to avoid future flood issues. The lower section of ribbon was severely damaged by the flood and most of the good trail building materials were washed away and replaced by rocks and tree debris. Looks like the future trend for new trails will be constructing them well away from creeks and rivers when possible. Less scenic but they’ll be around a lot longer!

  • GMJ Oct 14, 2015, 2:25 pm

    The ski trail on the photo looks like a whole lot of fun to ski but a nasty bike trail.
    But I would like to know why they don’t send a ski trail down the valley bottom like before? Maybe so they can make narrower bridges?

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