• 06-27-2013
    1 Attachment(s)
    Bragg Creek & Moose Mtn. - POST FLOOD REPORT
    TRAIL UPDATE: As of Wednesday, June 26, 2013

    I had buried the following information in a different thread, but thought it deserved a thread of it's own since so many people are wondering about how (or if) they will be able to ride any of the Kananaskis trails immediately west of Bragg Creek that can no longer be accessed via Highway 66. This should clear things up considerably (information is current as of Wednesday, June 26/2013).

    I've ridden a lot of the trails in the west Bragg and Moose Mountain area this week in the days immediately after the flood, and they are all in surprisingly good condition, with a few wet spots (as can be expected), but it's drying out quickly.

    Access is via the west Bragg trail head parking lot. The restricted access closure immediately following the flood was lifted earlier in the week. There was what appeared to be a homemade road block about a kilometer before the parking lot, early this week, but that has been removed and it is possible to drive all the way in now. They don't want cars going over the small stream crossing bridge at the entrance to the parking lot, so cars aren't allowed into the lot. You'll need to park on the road and ride in the last 50 meters or so.

    If riding up the Tom Snow fire road to access the Moose Mountain trails at Station Flats via Ridgeback, be aware that there are some sections of deep erosion on the steep sections of the fire road where the water channeled down. It is still rideable to the top, though, by keeping to the edge of the road. Ridgeback is in very good condition with some minor wet spots after the rock garden as well as a few on the lower two sections. The usual bogs on the lower sections of Tom Snow are worse than usual (surprise, surprise) so stick to Ridgeback and stay away from lower Tom Snow.

    Sulphur Springs is in good condition, with the usual boggy sections, but otherwise in good shape, as is Pneuma. From Sulphur Springs last night I dropped down on Pneuma then rode up the Moose Mtn. access road and onto the fire lookout trail at the top. I've never seen it as rocky on the lookout trail in the section that drops down to Moosepackers, as it was yesterday (but I haven't been up there for a few years so I can't say for sure if it was due to the storm or just bad memory on my part). Moosepackers is in stellar shape and you wouldn't even know there had been rain in the area except for a few small wet spots near the bottom. I saw tracks in a couple of spots indicating a number of riders have been through there since the storm.

    Boundary Ridge and Snagmore are good, with a few boggy spots in the usual early season places. The big problem, as we found out earlier in the week, is that Snagmore/Boundary or Sugar Mama can't be accessed from the south side without serious bushwacking (which we did but won't do again) because the course of McLean Creek has been diverted and now runs over the trail that used to take you from the Allen Bill parking area to the trail heads. The only way around it is to climb a ridge on the left and go around (not recommended). From the west Bragg parking lot, however, you can ride Boundary Ridge and Snagmore and turn it into a clockwise loop back to the parking lot by climbing up Sugar Mama to Ranger Summit, and from there either ride back to the parking lot on Ranger Summit or Strange Brew (or do it in the reverse, of course).

    A final parting comment about the bridge closure on Highway 66... I have taken a look at it from both sides (below is the first public photo I'm aware of that has been taken from the west side), and I think it's safe to assume the damage won't be repaired until next year (my opinion). The bridge itself seems to be fully intact. What happened is that swollen McLean Creek eroded about 50' of riverbank that supported the road leading up to the east end of the bridge, and the road approaching the bridge deck collapsed. At the east end, the steel piles that are the end supports of the bridge and are driven into the bedrock (but are normally hidden by the embankment) are now fully exposed as a result of all the road fill and embankment that was washed away. It will be a significant repair job that will obviously be much lower on the priority list than highway damage that has occurred in more heavily traveled areas. In the mean time, the West Bragg trail head is the alternate way into the area, as it always has been.

    Attachment 826486
  • 07-02-2013
    TRAIL UPDATE: As of Tuesday, July 2, 2013

    I've been away in Los Angeles since I posted the original trail report last week, and today was my first ride back in K-Country. Considering it was mid-day on a work day, and the avg. temp according to my Garmin was 37C (98.6F), I was surprised how many other riders I passed while I was out (12 in total). I rode up Boundary Ridge and Snagmore, then short-cut north via the fire road/XC trail to get to Strange Brew and climbed SB up to Ranger Summit, then dropped down Ranger Summit to the parking lot trail head, followed by another climb to the summit of Boundary Ridge and back for good measure. After that, the heat was getting to me (on an exposed section of fire road the temp. jumped up to 41C/106F from the radiant heat) and it was time to call it a day.

    Everything I rode today, with the exception of sections of the fire road/XC trail that were in the shade, were bone dry, and in better condition than last week (and I considered them "good" last week). The scattered wet areas from last week have pretty much dried out, and the conditions are exceptional and as good as I've ever seen them in the area. It's definitely great riding weather and conditions.
  • 07-04-2013
    Thanks for the updates, Brent. Hoping to get out to Canmore on the 13th to pre-ride the 24 Hours course!
  • 07-09-2013
    TRAIL UPDATE: As of Tuesday, July 9, 2013


    Repairs to the approach to the McLean Creek bridge on Highway 66 are underway, and heavy equipment is presently working to rebuild the washed out embankment of the east bridge approach. I had a good talk today with one of the Volker Stevin workers, and he told me they expect to have the bridge open with a temporary fix in one to two weeks. He said the only thing that might delay the bridge opening is whether or not they discover the span has been overly stressed, as the steel piles supporting the east end of the bridge deck apparently dropped slightly in the flood. That probably won't impact a partial opening, but if they discover the eastern most span has been overly stressed, they will replace it before fully opening the bridge. At the moment, though, expect the bridge to be partially open again within two weeks. Let's keep our fingers crossed that all goes according to plan.

    Viewing the bridge work from the Snagmore trail, I couldn't tell whether the equipment in the river was pulling rocks out to rebuild the riverbank, or whether they were moving rocks around to tray to squeeze off the diversion that is now flowing where the access road (the Elbow XC ski trail) connected from the Allen Bill parking lot to Snagmore, Fullerton Loop and Sugar Mama trails. There is essentially a new tributary about 300 meters west of the main river course, which has overrun the connecting trail and completely cuts off Allen Bill from accessing the trails to the north (without some serious climbing and bushwacking around it). It would be great if they are trying to close off the new tributary so they can re-establish access to the trails to the north, again.

    Volker Stevin is also working to repair the erosion around the stream crossing at the entrance to the West Bragg Trailhead parking lot. You can no longer get over the small bridge due to the work, but today they built a temporary stream crossing to allow riders and hikers to cross the stream (to the left of the bridge). The worker I was speaking with said they were really surprised at the volume of riders and hikers that were accessing the area, so they brought in materials to create a stream crossing today after they started work.

    The trails, as expected, are in excellent shape. After the recent rain they are firm, but not muddy (with the exception of a few scattered, small wet spots). The main fire road/XC trails like Elbow and Iron Springs are extremely boggy, however, and not worth using even as a short cut.
  • 07-09-2013
    Great to hear, thanks for the update
  • 07-30-2013
    Bragg Creek & Moose Mtn. - POST FLOOD REPORT
    On our way from Ontario. Wondering how the trails are and if there are any places/ trails to avoid or be cautious of. We should be in the area Thursday August 1. Any camping recommendations? Please note we do have a camping trailer.
  • 07-30-2013

    Originally Posted by rocks'r'friends View Post
    On our way from Ontario. Wondering how the trails are and if there are any places/ trails to avoid or be cautious of. We should be in the area Thursday August 1. Any camping recommendations? Please note we do have a camping trailer.

    Check out my comments in the Bragg Creek Trails thread HERE.
  • 08-24-2013
    TRAIL UPDATE: As of Saturday, August 24, 2013

    Lots of things have happened in the past month, so I figured it was time for an update.

    As was previously discussed, Highway 66 has re-opened, so access is now open to all the trails around Station Flats, Moose Mountain, all the way to end of the Highway at the Elbow Campground/Powderface Trail junction. Powderface Trail (the road), itself, is still closed off.

    A new single lane bridge was built to cross McLean Creek, and it doesn't look like there will be any attempt to re-build the embankment leading up to the original bridge this year. Traffic signals are in place to alternate the flow of cars, so you can expect a maximum 5-minute slowdown if you hit it wrong.

    There will never be access to the west Bragg trail system again via the connector trail that used to run under the bridge from Allen Bill Pond and connect to Snagmore, Elbow, Sugar Mama, and Fullerton Loop trails, because the river has diverted itself from its old course and runs right up to the ridge the connector trail used to skirt (a 200 meter change in course, at least). When I first tried to bike it within a week of the flood, I had to climb a cut in the ridge where the connector ended at the river and do some serious bushwacking from there. What I discovered yesterday, however, is that a trail has become run in where I bushwacked, and it has an easier access point to it. If you park at the Allen Bill parking lot, the start of the new trail is directly across the highway and to the right of the road that runs up to the Ranger Station. It's difficult to spot, but it is marked fairly well at the start and along the route with fluorescent surveyor's tape. Enter at that point and you will be able to access the west Bragg trails eventually at the spot just below the short climb to the Fullerton Loop trail junction (it involves some pushing, negotiating a barb wire fence, and a small stream crossing, but will get you to the trails in less than 10 mins.

    Other than that, all the trails around Moose Mountain and west Bragg Creek are in awesome shape. The bridge just before the west Bragg trail head parking lot has been rebuilt and the parking lot is open again.

    One other point of note is that the Little Elbow/Big Elbow Loop at the end of Hwy 66 is not ridable in either direction. Going counter-clockwise there is a lot of trail damage along the lower section that requires negotiation, but it's impossible to go any farther than the stream crossing where the first climb begins. In the clockwise direction they have a closed sign at the suspension bridge, but you can actually ride in to about the 8 km mark, at which point the diverted river has wiped out about a kilometer of trail (you can see where it picks up again in the distance, but getting to it will involve crossing the river and hiking a kilometer through a massive boulder field). It's going to require some serious new trail building before the route is rideable again. It's a shame because that's one of the 'classic' rides in these parts.

    Little Elbow/Big Elbow Loop Video

  • 08-27-2013
    Thanks for the update! Will be heading down this Sunday, but will probably be riding the 24 Hour loop at the Nordic Centre.