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).