The storm that battered our Town’s in Alberta has also taken a toll on our trails. Our hearts go out to those whom lost their homes or have seen the areas they live in wrecked by the massive floods. Right now the focus for many is to get back in their homes, assess the loss and deal with the damage left by the massive storm. For those that were lucky enough to escape unscathed there is plenty you can do to help your neighbours and we encourage to you to do so. As we recover from the storm, our eyes will slowly turn towards the trails we love to ride and hike…
The following report, updated regularly by us and with input from you, will provide the latest info on the status or our trails. In conjunction with our trail report page this article will serve as a place to post your comments and photos (in the comments section below), to help us all, including those responsible for trail maintenance get a better understanding of what trails are good to go and which will need some work. This latest update, following our Biggest storm in decades batters cities, towns and trails article is compiled for you courtesy of all the amazing bikepirate followers and bikepirate representatives who have started to assess the trail damage in their areas. These folks have taken the time to email us their reports and photos so that you can better plan your riding trips and also to give you the opportunity to get involved in the cleanup of our trails.
Have a look at the latest Map showing the damage to roads in Kananaskis Country along with what’s open and closed. The second map indicates which facilities are open and closed, to help plan your long weekend.
Moose Mountain Trails
If you have not heard or seen the photos we’ve posted on our Facebook page or on our website access to Moose Mountain is very limited at this point. The bridge on Hwy 66 just before (east) Allen Bill pond is washed away. This will be no easy fix as it will require a major bridge construction project. To check on the status of Hwy 66, visit the Alberta road conditions reports page.
The following report out of Bragg Creek is provided to us by Joel
Rode from West Bragg Creek, up Moosepackers, down Moose Mountain road to HWY 66 to Station flats. Sulphur springs to Moose Mt road, up road and down Moose Packers on June 23. I could see that the first part of Ridgeback at the bottom of Moosepackers is severely washed away and not rideable. Moosepackers is actually in good shape, a couple of obstacles from fallen trees and lots of loose rocks and ruts. Moose Mt road is fine. Sulfur springs is quite wet but very ridable. The creek crossing toward the bottom of Sulphur Springs is now a rushing stream with steep banks and you must get your feet soaked to get across. Overall I was pleasantly surprised and it was nice to have no traffic on the Moose Mountain road. ~ Joel
West Bragg Creek Trails
Parks closed off the road access to West Bragg parking lot earlier yesterday (June 24, 2013) pending an inspection of the gravel road/bridge. The following is a report on the condition of trails as reported by Trevor Warne, a local resident and trail builder.
Braggin Rights: clear and in good condition up until the Long Distance junction (expect ugly beyond that)
Long Distance: clear and in good condition up to the high point (5km from parking), unsure beyond that
Fire Service Road: some washed out sections and mud slides on the road (can get past them on foot)
Moosepackers: generally OK, some minor slides across a few sections (can walk over/around)
Ridgeback: very top part has a 10m chunk missing from washout, didn’t have time to check lower sections.
The trails above were our ‘best bets’. I expect everything and anything that is near a creek or in the path of run-off got whacked pretty hard. A lot of new run off routes would have been created to shed the sheer volume of rain that fell. The creek just South of the parking lot has partially rerouted and gouged a chunk out of the XC ski trail that accesses the whole South side – you can walk through it now the water level/flow has dropped but given the terrain on the South side, I’d expect it’s pretty ugly on that side. If you’ve read the Nordic Centre updates, we would expect similar conditions here in West Bragg. ~ Trevor Warne
Highway 1 between Canmore and Banff remains closed due to flooding. For those that live in these areas, here is the latest trail report. Also, please check our trail page or leave us a comment below with your latest report.
The Canmore Nordic Centre is once again open. It opened its doors back up on Sunday, June 23 after closing them due to the storm and the heavy rains that rolled in last week. The following was taken from the CNC trail report.
Please note that many trails were impacted by recent flooding and that natural hazards should be anticipated. Some hazards have been marked, others have not. Please use caution at all times. The Georgetown Trail is largely flooded, and travel is not recommended. Visit the Daylodge for more detailed trail information.
Horseshoe and G8 update provided by Paul.
Horseshoe is soggy with occasional pooling areas and should not be ridden until it dries. There is 1 large section perhaps 50 feet wide by 300 feet long that is a swamp. There is 1 large tree over the trail. The connection between Horseshoe and G8 is blocked by a tree just before the water and the drainage needs some rebuild work.
It should also be noted that the standard access to Horseshoe Loop via the right bank of Cougar Creek is washed away. That whole area is a rocky washout now. You can access these trails from lower down Elk Run. All the lower trail access routes are fine. ~ Paul
Horseshoe and G8 update from Alistair Jones (bikepirate rep).
Today I got out for a little pedal on the Horseshoe Loop to see how it fared. Considering the flooding and disaster in town getting on the bike was refreshing. Expecting destruction in creek crossings I braced for the worst.
The usual route up to the Horseshoe trailhead is rather impassable right now. Just up the trail I found running and standing water all over the place. It made for awful riding and some back tracking or walking to avoid damage. Riding up here is not recommended for at least a week. It was great to see some ambitious rider hiked up and dug drainage ditches off the trails extensively. Thanks stranger, it’s helping immensely.
After picking our way through what has become a series of creeks and bogs we reached the crossing to G8. Expecting the worst washouts along this trail, we were in for a pleasant surprise. The trail is rideable right to the creek bed. Again somebody has already been through clearing and placing rocks along the trail. It’s a hike over the creek, easily passable. The remainder of the trail is in remarkable condition with only one tree down and a few puddles. Though the entire trail system has lost soil making the roots and rocks protrude just that little bit more. Certainly our advice is to stay away for at least a week and let things dry out. Many areas of horseshoe are low slope and holding lots of water. Even the well-draining soil can’t cope with this.
In the next few days I’ll be heading out to check on Montane Traverse and Razors Edge. Highways remain closed to regular traffic so keep an eye on the updates at canmore.ca . Be safe out there and enjoy what you have! ~ Alistair Jones
Highline trail report provided by Sean.
I rode Highline on June 24 from Three Sisters to Quarry Lake. Generally the trail was wet and slippery, with some muddy sections, but surprisingly not too bad to ride. The bridge ~1 km in (east) from the Three Sisters trailhead is gone. Remnants of the bridge have been re purposed slightly upstream to allow dry feet, but you’ll be carrying your bike. The remaining drainage crossings are in decent albeit slightly altered condition (thanks to folks doing trail repair). ~ Sean
Banff Trail update from the BVMBA.
The higher trails on the Tunnel Mountain Bench (Tunnel Loop) such as Banff Ave, The Spine, Coastline, Teddy Bear’s Picnic and The Hoodoo Trail (but NOT Bow Falls/Hoodoo, it’s flooded down below) are fine but a bit muddy still. Please stay off the Toe as the flooding coming out of the Cascade Power Plant AND believe it or not the Cascade Ponds area is HUGE and we wouldn’t want anyone caught back there. Parks Canada has NO CAPACITY to affect a rescue of any kind at this point as they are stretched that thin. Star Wars and Return of the Jedi are fine as well.
As for Lake Minnewanka, the area remains closed to anyone and everyone. Efforts up there are solely on mitigating the tremendous pressure currently on the dam and the spillway. Once we can get in there, I’ll update this report, but tiny creeks everywhere in the valley are still raging torrents in many places and we fear the worst for the Minnewanka Trail.
We are also hearing horrible stories of the damage done in the Sunshine area by Healy Creek, and certainly that would NOT be rideable right now.
Lake Louise has more or less escaped the wrath of the storm last week. Moraine Highline and Ross Lake are both now open and good to ride. Once the Hwy opens up, these trails are ready for you to explore. Get the latest trail report on this area on our Trail Report page.
Fish Creek is once again open, with limited access to trails. Clean-up in Fish Creek Provincial Park is underway; a number of day use areas have re-opened; visitors are asked to obey all posted signs and not enter closed areas. Day use areas still closed in the Park include: Mallard Point, Hull’s Wood, Boat Launch, Lafarge Meadows and Rotary Nature Park. For a detailed report visit the Alberta Park’s advisory website.
Bowmont Park flood update from Jason Wannamaker.
*FLOOD UPDATE* 80% of the trails were perfectly rideable; however, I would say the trails are closed until the dangerous area’s can be properly marked off. Stick to Eastlands until then. I do not recommend riding here unless you know the trail like the back of your hand. If you do not fully understand where the area’s I am talking about, you could easily fly off a 20′ cliff into the river.
DO NOT RIDE ANY SECTION THAT LEADS TO THE RIVER! The multiple washed out sections are on the river’s edge, at the end of techy downhill sections and around corners. They will come up quickly at you even at a slow pace, please do not ride them yet. There are no markings to signify that they are closed. I wish I had some high-visibility tape to run across the trail to warn riders. Most are mid park halfway between the DJ’s and the boardwalk where the trail goes back down to the river’s edge.
The long flat trail with zero elevation gain that weaved in between the trees at the river’s edge is completely gone or underwater. It was sandy and muddy so I couldn’t even get close to assess it further.
The east parking lot is completely closed. The entire river bank just past the church has eroded away about 20′-50′ from its original position leaving a big cliff about 20′ or more high. Part of the church parking lot is falling into the river. The pathway is in great shape but the singletrack that goes down from the east parking lot suddenly ends at a cliff through some branches that may end up killing you as you and your bike fly of the edge. This is the only section that has markings indicating it is closed.
Sideshow is probably ridable but as an out and back to the DJ’s. The high stuff is tacky and drying out quickly. ~ Jason Wannamaker
For Calgarian’s looking for updates on roads, closures and more, please visit the City of Clagary flood information page here.
What to do if you would like to help?
Rebound Cycle trail repair (today!): Rebound is sending out a crew to help with trail repair today – call them at 1-866-312-1866 if you can help, even for a few hours. This request goes to local’s only, as driving into Canmore is still not receommended and time of publishing this article, access is still closed.
Canmore Nordic Centre Cleanup (June 26): Canmore and Harvie Heights area residents (please do not travel to area as roads may still be closed) can lend a hand at the Nordic Centre on Wednesday, June 26 to restore washed out creek crossings and to shore up bridging. Meeting place: Day Lodge at 9:30 a.m. Bike access to work sites is possible; bring your bike if you can. This invitation is for local residents only. Please do not travel for this event. For those outside of Canmore and Harvie Heights, please contact the following organizations if you would like to help restore/repair the many trails damaged by the floods.
The following organizations help maintain the trails in Calgary, Kananaskis and the Bow Valley. If you would like to help our trails, please contact them directly.
Help us keep everyone updated by posting your comments and photos in the comments section below. No need to register, just post a comment using a valid email address. Also, please keep photos under 1MB to ensure they upload.