Trail updates: Southern Alberta flooding report

posted in: Alberta Floods | 30

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.

Kananaskis Flood Damage

KCountry Facilities Open Map

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.

Hwy 66 bridge next Allen Bill Pond

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

Canmore Trails

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.

Horseshoe Loop
Original trailhead for Horseshoe Loop on right of creek is gone.
Please consider Horseshoe Loop closed till it has time to dry. Photo of low lying area on Loop.
Stream crossing across to G8 from Horseshoe in good shape.

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 . 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 Trails

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

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.

Calgary Trails

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 Low lying section below sideshow - Bowmont
The Low lying section below sideshow – Bowmont
This cliff will lead you to your immediate demise. Just down the hill from the east parking lot - Bowmont
This cliff will lead you to your immediate demise. Just down the hill from the east parking lot – Bowmont
Leads to the lower trail along the river Mud and Sand - Bowmont
Leads to the lower trail along the river Mud and Sand – Bowmont
Mid Park - Bowmont
Mid Park – Bowmont
Mid Park - Bowmont
Mid Park – Bowmont
Mid Park - Bowmont
Mid Park – Bowmont

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.

Friends of Kananaskis

Moose Mountain Bike Trail Association

Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association

Calgary Mountain Bike Alliance

Alberta Parks

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.

~ Peter Oprsal

Related Post

  • The Legacy Trail will be open to cyclist and pedestrian traffic by July 20, 2013. However, due to damages in infrastructure and on-going repairs please note that there is one detour, starting just east of the

    The Legacy Trail will be open by July 20, 2013 to cyclists between the Banff town site and the East Banff Park Gate.

    There is one detour in place due to damages in infrastructure and on-going repairs; CYCLISTS SHOULD EXERCISE CAUTION.

    Cyclists MUST respect all signs, fencing and traffic personnel.

    While Parks Canada is working as quickly as possible, safety remains our number-one priority. We are working to get the Legacy Trail fully accessible with no detours as soon as possible, and as soon as it is safe.

    Parks Canada thanks the community and visitors for their continued patience as we continue to work towards re-opening all structures and facilities impacted by the floods.

  • Greg

    Rundle Riverside is now open and rideable. The trail sustained some heavy damage along several sections and is now rougher, if you can believe it, then before. Still a fun and very challenging ride for those who like the old school tech trails.

  • Alistair Jones

    Did a little 36km ride tonight. Spray rd then back down and up Highline. Went dog park across to three sisters descent. It’s all in great shape. Below are some photos of the new bridge work and marking rocks leading into it. Great work!

  • Matt

    Rode Cox Hill via the north Jumpingpound Ridge trailhead. I parked at Dawson Recreational Area. Powderface trail is closed to traffic from Dawson south. Rode Powderface Trail to the first trailhead going up JP ridge. The road is safe to bike. Every bridge got washed out but they have temporary bridge for the logging company and road workers so you know they’re solid. The small bridge at the north JP trailhead is gone. The stream is easy to cross but you’ll get your feet wet ( I crossed it barefoot ). There was minimal trail damage on the way up. As for the small downhill section between JP & Cox. The first switch backs are just as rough but the rot where the tree starts is now pretty darn deep. Great condition all the way up to cox hill summit. The first portion down cox hill is gnarlier then it has ever been. The bottom half has minimum damage except for the bridge that got washed out. There’s a small make shift bridge made out of 3 trees about 100′ upstream that somebody made.

  • AJS

    West Bragg Creek Report: Braggin Rights, Reconnect and Long Distance (Northern Flow loop) are in great shape other than a few spots. Braggin Rights has two wet spots on the trail that are barricaded; first at km-1.6 and second at km-1.85 because of trail damage – please walk around these sections. The initial climb on Reconnect has lots of erosion and loose rock. Long Distance is dry and fast.

    The bridge 300 m east of the West Bragg Creek (access to parking) has sustained significant undercutting on the east bank, therefore the bridge will probably be closed for a long time. (see attached photos). However, the area is open to riding – see photo.

  • Pete

    Map of Fish Creek, showing affected flood areas and minimal closures.

  • Doug Topp

    The Minnewanka trail is an amazing new adventure. Once again open after the floods and until July 10 (annual seasonal bike closure July 10 – September 15). Huge washouts have completely changed the landscape in places, and streams that have been around for decades are now flowing in completely different locations. Absolutely amazing and very fun as there are now multiple flowing crossings to carry the bike and get the feet wet, as well as numerous new hike-a-bikes over rock. Parks has a big job to rehab it, but we got down past LM22 today and there is evidence all along the trail of new saw cuts and planned reroutes so they are on it big time already! In general, the trail is in excellent shape with the exception of the huge rock runoff fans that were never there before and are impassable without walking. Plus it’s 28C so we had a GREAT ride!

  • lars goeller

    This is so sad Pete. Thanks for posting this and keeping everyone up to date on what’s going on.

  • The Banff Legacy Trail beside the Trans-Canada Highway remains closed from Rocky Mountain Resort to the Banff National Park East Gate, due to impassable sections. Cycling on the Trans-Canada Highway is not a recommended alternative at this time.

    The Vermilion Lakes Drive & Banff Legacy Trail EAST of town (connector to Bow Valley Parkway) is OPEN. Only this small section of the Legacy is open at this time.

    Photo of bridge out on Legacy Trail between east gates and Banff.

  • Jonathan

    Razors Edge update: The old double track trail Quaite Valley has been completely destroyed by flood waters at least as far as the campground. Boulders and fallen trees make it impassible on a bike and even a difficult slog on foot.

    We did not try doing the route backwards as an out and back, but that might be possible with a lot of pushing.

  • Russ

    West Bragg Creek – South:
    Strange Brew / Boundary Ridge are in pretty good shape, wet in the usual locations. Bridge to parking area still closed, but multiple routes around it. The foot bridge immediately south of the parking lot is OK but just beyond it the creek has washed everything out – easily passible but watch your footing. It looks like Alberta Parks is using a gator/quad to run down into the Elbow district (Allen Bill area) along the elbow connector and iron springs – lots and lots of chewed up mud everywhere from the machines.

    • Thanks for the update Russ. It’s good to hear that some trails have escaped major damage. Just getting to them is tricky.

  • Gord

    I’ve attached a photo I took on the Rundle Riverside Trail on June 22. I accessed the trail from the west and there was no closure notice at that time – now there is one in place. The new debris is on the easternmost rock slide area. It wasn’t hard to cross but I couldn’t go much farther at the time, the trail was just water.

  • Adam Kahtava

    Quaite Valley and Jewel Pass are in rough shape. Saw these on Google Plus. First two photos Quaite, last two Jewel.

  • Sylvain

    Horseshoe loop/ACC loop update. Went for a walk and most if not all obstacles now removed. Still lots of running water in places. Upper horsehoe/slab down trees removed. Lower 2 slabs have a big pond/marsh at the bottom. Hasty water bars done for certain part of trails.

  • Justin

    Bridge out at the Dawson Recreation Area; heading up the trail from the parking lot to the start of Tom Snow or Cox Hill. Access denied.

    • Mat

      You can now cross it on a makeshift tree bridge about 100′ upstream.

  • It’s great to hear and see that overall our trails have weathered the storm well. Yes, there will be clean up to do and yes there are bridges out, but overall the trails themselves remain standing (for the most part) according to all the reports coming in so far.

    The following photo was taken last night. It’s along a section of new trail being constructed in Banff. As you can see it’s in great shape. This is primarily because of the BVMBA’s and all the awesome volunteers’ efforts to build it in a sustainable manner. The trail is holding up just fine and is on schedule for completion in the fall 2013.

  • Justin

    We went to go for a ride on Wednesday night (June 26). We were planning on doing prairie view and jewels pass in kananaski, but highway 40 was closed at the junction with highway 68. However highway 68 was opened and we decided to try cox hill. Powderface road was closed at the Dawson staging area.

    Do not attempt to do cox hill or Tom snow, the pedestrian bridge from the cox hill trail and Tom snow to the Dawson staging area has been completely washed away. The creek is also moving too fast to attempt to cross.

    We ended up doing jumpingpound loop, the trail is mostly dry in most section, but there are some ver wet and muddy spots.

  • Rachel

    Highway 68 is now fully open, allowing access to Ole buck Loop, Jumpingpound, and such, as well as the road as far as Dawson, opening Cox Hill. Someone posted on KananaskisTrails blog that they’d done Jumpingpound Loop since it opened (last day or two) and it was muddy, but fine.

  • aje

    Anyone have any info on Eastlands in Calgary? Heading there tonight

    • We’ve not heard anything about Eastlands Aje. If you do end up going up there for a spin tonight, please let us know how it was. Cheers,

      • aje

        Eastlands is half dry and half wet! Not suprisingly you will find puddles and lots of mud in the gullys and treed areas. Stay down on the grassland portion of the trails if you want to stay clean.

  • corsham

    Devon Mountain Bike Trails are 100% wet and gross. Trails running along the river are submerged and will need some time to dry out.

  • Kokaneer

    Nose Hill is open. Conditions were generally quite dry given the amount of rain Calgary has had recently. Noticed some minor erosion but nothing of consequence.

  • Alistayr

    As of 2pm 25th June – the west part of sideshow Bob has multiple land/mud slides, making those parts not rideable at all, trail will need recut/dug out and in a couple of spots the trail has fractured and is about to fall away …..I was running it and had to tip toe through it, had mud round my ankles. Once past sideshow stay on trails not immediately beside the river, those have pretty much been eaten by the river. Stay high where it’s dry.

  • CBV

    We walked up to the
    G8 entrance from the ACC last night and did a bit of work on the entrance /
    exit. Someone had already been up there doing lots of work. The trees are
    cleared now and the access into and out of the creek is good. We walked back
    along the lower horsehoe and cut some drainage in the puddles. When you go down
    the big dip and back over towards the ACC there is a section that will need a
    chainsaw. There are three large spruce laying across the path at the junction
    to head back up to the Horseshoe or down to the clubhouse. It is pretty soggy
    in the lower section, but the trails are in surprisingly good shape.


    Banff update: I was able to walk around the back out Tunnel
    Mountain this morning. Trails that were under free flowing water only a
    couple of days ago are now exposed, but some standing water remains, and it’s
    muddy. A few riders have made their way through the area, but the damage
    they’ve caused in the mud is an embarrassment to riders who care about their
    trails. Give it a couple more days please!

    No access to Minnewanka, it could be a while.