Monday, July 8, 2013

Southern Alberta Flood - Trail Updates July 8, 2013

More rain to the Kananaskis region has definitely hampered repair efforts, but some progress is being made, especially on Highway 40, where the road is now open to Wedge Pond. Most recreational areas however are still shut.

While the Delta Kananaskis remains open, the surrounding area is mostly still closed -- Mt. Kidd RV park, the golf course, the Evan-Thomas bike path and the majority of hiking trails and camping areas are close. The north Terrace Trail around the village was open, but we didn't venture out. The hotel itself is very very quiet for July.

Here is the official closure map for Kananaskis, including roads and campgrounds.

Some other updates:

Bragg Creek Provincial Park is now open. (as of July 1). The West Bragg Creek Recreational Area is open, but the vehicle bridge is out. (as of July 3)

In the Bow Valley area, Yamnuska day use is open, while Heart Creek day use and Wind Valley day use are closed. (Note: You can see from the highway Heart Creek day use isn't even accessible due to a rock slide across the road). Quaite Valley backcountry campground is also closed. (as of July 1).

Further updates to Bow Valley include Bow River, Bow Valley, Lac Des Arcs and Willow Rock Campgrounds (open), Grouse, Owl, and Elk Flats group use areas (open), Three Sisters campground (closed), Porcupine group use (closed), Barrier Dam, Gap Lake, Grotto Mountain and Lac Des Arcs day use (closed), Bow Valley admin office (closed).

Friday, June 28, 2013

Southern Alberta Flood -- Trail Update June 28, 2013

Some updates to yesterday's post about hiking, road and campground closures:

Banff has reopened a lot of areas in the past 24 hours!

Most useful is the excellent new Banff National Park flood update page. This page lists highway conditions (currently 4 lanes open through all of the park, with some detours in place), local road updates (most local roads open, Sunshine Road and parts of the Bow Valley Parkway are closed), campground updates (too many to list, check site for updates), backcountry camping, and hiking and cycling trails (again, too many to list, check site and trail updates).

Check the site often for updated information.

Lake Minnewanka Loop is now open, with many restrictions including Bankhead and some camping areas. Johnston Canyon has also reopened, along with campgrounds in the area.

Parks Canada has also made the following closures official:

Banff Legacy Trail

Fenland Trail

Sundance Canyon Loop

Meanwhile Kananaskis also has some updates:

Alberta Parks has ceased their trail updates and instead posted a notice about trail damage, clean up and volunteer information. This site will be updated as more info is available.

Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park is open, with some trails closed due to flood damage.

Detailed look at access within Fish Creek Provincial Park .

And in case it was in doubt, Bragg Creek Provincial Park is also closed.

 @TourismCanmore tweeted that Grassi Lakes trail has now reopened. The Alberta Parks site adds that access beyond the Day Use Lakes portion is closed to all.

All other sites, please refer back to yesterday's post.

Happy long weekend all!

Southern Alberta Flood - Trail Update June 27, 2013

Unless you've been living under a rock (or perhaps outside of Canada), you'll know that the worst flooding in the recorded history of the region occurred on June 20-22, 2013. As a result, the mountains, recreational areas, roads, and rivers are a mess. Bridges are gone, campgrounds are flooded and trails are washed out.

In the grand scheme of things, personal property and major road repairs must take first priority. Getting cities, towns and hamlets safe and habitable again is key to rebuilding. Knowing this, it could take some time before attention is turned to the rehabilitation of our recreational areas.

So where can we go while we rebuild? With so many different regions, it can be tough to keep track of what's open to the public. Here's a quick reference for this moment in time:

Banff National Park updated their trail report on June 26, 2013.

In summary, Sulphur Mountain and Tunnel Mountain are pretty much your only in town options, with Bow River/Hoodoo listed as Fair/Poor. All other trails, such as Fenland, Goat Creek, etc, are closed.

Lake Minnewanka Loop Drive is closed.

The popular Johnston Canyon and Castle Lookout trails are closed, while other trails further up the highway are open but muddy.

Lake Louise and area escaped the worst of the flooding, but are still wet. In fact many trails still list snow as your greatest obstacle. Remember that during the heat wave next week.

In Kanananskis, one of the hardest hit areas, there are even less options. Road closures, bridge washouts, and mudslides are extensive. It might be helpful to look at the closed areas first.

Canmore Nordic Centre is open for use! (as of June 27). Some trails wet and muddy with natural hazards. Highway 742 (Spray Lakes) is closed at the Grassi Lakes turnoff.

Bow Valley Provincial Park (as of 2:15, June 27) (too many to list, click link for details -- news is cautiously optimistic)

Spray Valley Provincial Park is closed due to access and flooding.

Cataract Creek is closed due to access and flooding.

Elbow Valley - The highway is closed at either the Bragg Creek turnoff or MacLean Creek depending on which web site you visit. The bridge right before Allen Bill Pond was washed out, so MacLean Creek is the furthest you can go. This impacts the Elbow Falls rec area, as well as the Beaver Flats campground. Paddy's Flats Group use and River Cove Groups use are also closed. Little Elbow is closed. MacLean Creek campground is open, with limited services, no power, water, or sewage disposal. The store will be open, but on generator.

Peter Lougheed Park is completely closed. Click the link for the affected areas.

Sheep River. Bluerock is closed, Sandy McNabb is open.

Lower Kananaskis River. Many of the day use areas shut down. The slalom course was destroyed and washed out in the flood, creating a very messy situation in the area.

I did not see a trail report for Highwood area, but the footage online shows the damage to be quite extensive in the region.

I'll do my best to update as more information becomes available. Make sure to also follow on Twitter (@hiphiker).

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The view from Moose Mountain Road....

The gates on Highway 66 opened yesterday and the boys were on the verge of a nap, so I steered the RAV4 out for a look at the familiar haunts. Spring may have come late this year, but we're finally through the worst of it, and the late spring/early summer hiking can begin in earnest.

God, I love living here.

(Photo actually taken April 18, 2010)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Highway 66 (near Elbow Falls) - April 1, 2013

This is what it looks like when you take your two year old twins on their first "hike". No child carriers, no wagon, just their little feet. And a highway closed until mid-May....

One day I hope the surroundings will be more interesting than the stuff painted on the road....

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chester Lake - Snowshoeing - February 7, 2010 - From the Archives

With 10-20 cm dumping in the city, and so much more white stuff falling in the mountains (Burstall Pass had over 25 cm base before this most recent storm even hit!), it's time to start dreaming about snowshoeing! While there's still not enough of a base in the mountains for winter recreation yet (and it's still expected to be a snowless Halloween in the city -- with temperatures back up to 9C by the weekend), something about that first real snow fall always seems to get the winter enthusiasts drooling.

So to get through this transition, I thought we'd look back on a snowshoeing favorite... Chester Lake...

Even at the trailhead... deep snow goodness!

Heavy, wet, sloppy late winter/spring snow. It was still hanging in the trees, rounded off and thick.

Pure sunlight and blue sky in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Perfect day!

 It wasn't quite hoar frost, but something else...spiky, well defined ice crystals clung to the trees...


And it was all over our poor frozen snowshoer too.

More ice. More crystals.

At Chester Lake. I'm not even sure the walking stick hit bottom.

Mushroom tree!