Walking Merlin View

Merlin View

An interesting section of up-trail

The newest trail at West Bragg is a big hit. Supposedly a multi use trail, there is no question it was built as a mountain bike trail with its banked corners and mini undulations beloved by bikers. It’s a 6.2 km loop converging on a treed hilltop (rustic table and stumps), with a couple of viewpoints and benches along the way.

We went anti-clockwise on the advice of the bikers (bad advice for walkers), the reason being, as we found out, is that bikers get to enjoy a tremendous downhill run on the west leg. Met only one biker going clockwise, the rest — I stopped counting after 100 — going the same way as us, forcing us to step off the trail how many times?  We got a bit uptight on that west leg, envisaging bloody pileups as bikers hurtled down one after the other with no chance of stopping on a dime. They were all terribly polite as they passed by in a blur. “Thank you”, “thank you” was their mantra. Someone even slowed down to ask if I was OK, thinking I had fallen off my bike. It was then I got a touch of the old fogies. Has the age of walkers at West Bragg now passed? We were the only hikers on this trail, or on ANY trail it seemed. We didn’t meet another  foot traveller until nearing the parking lot on Braggin Rights and he was a runner with a dog.

I advise walking this trail clockwise on weekends or better still clockwise on weekdays before 5 pm. Could be good as a winter walk, though the latest fad is snowbiking. Note: It is 3.6 km each way along Braggin Rights from West Bragg parking to the start of the loop for a round trip of 13.4 km.

Merlin view
4 comments… add one
  • Wayne Hortensius Oct 28, 2014, 8:56 am

    It’s quite a nice walk going clockwise. Going on a weekday before the late afternoon rush seems to work out well. I only encountered two cyclists and that was quite late in my walk, as they huffed and puffed their way up the reclaimed road. Up until that point I hadn’t seen a soul.

  • Steve Riggs Oct 22, 2014, 10:52 pm

    A great and very popular addition to the trail network! Riders have quickly caught on to CCW being the preferred direction, as it gives a way longer downhill run than would be expected from the short uphill. Plus, the stone sofa gives an excuse for a break to take in the view at the “meadow”, instead of probably just blowing by in the heat of the descent going CW.
    Close encounters with a very friendly fox have been reported by many riders on the loop. I met up with it on Monday evening, on Long Distance between Reconnect and Disconnect, where it maintained a distance of about 15 m in front of me for a minute or two as I rolled slowly along, trying to extricate my camera from its bag without stopping. By the time I had the camera out, the fox had veered off into the brush.

  • B. Oct 22, 2014, 9:24 am

    Looks bikish all right

  • Alf Skrastins Oct 21, 2014, 9:27 pm

    I’ve hiked Merlin View several times while it was under construction and I think it makes a great hike, especially in the clockwise direction. This gives you the best views along the ridge line and heading south along the reclaimed well site road portion. As you noted, it also gives you the best chance of seeing mountain bikers as the come towards you.
    You can make the total hike shorter and more of a complete loop by starting out on Mountain Road, then taking Moose Connector to Moose Loop (east) until you get to Merlin View…then return on Braggin Rights.
    Or you can do a longer Figure 8 loop by going up Braggin Rights to Long Distance, then down Disconnect to Braggin Rights, then clockwise around Merlin View and back via Braggin Rights.

    There never were many hikers in the West Bragg Creek area in the past because the only routes were boggy ski trails, old cut-lines or overgrown logging roads. In the past 5 years, 10,000 hours of volunteer time and hundreds of thousands of donation dollars have gone into the creation of a 106 kilometre network of all-season (hiking, mountain biking, equestrian, snowshoe), snowshoe specific and XC ski trails. There has been some increase in hikers and equestrians, but there has been a spectacular increase in the number of mountain bikers, snowshoers and XC skiers. There were over 90,000 users recorded at West Bragg Creek in 2013 (despite the impact of the June flood) and the numbers for 2014 are expected to be much higher than that!
    This is a success story and it should be recognized as such!

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