Friday, June 28, 2013

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).

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