Pine Top - Sibbald - Kananaskis Country - Hiking Alberta

 

Pine Top offers picnic tables and hiking in the Sibbald region of Kananaskis Country, Alberta.

 

 

The sign for Pine Top is clear, travelling west on Sibbald Creek Trail South (Hwy 68) from the TransCanada Highway west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  The left turn is on the other side of a cattle guard, (Texas Gate), a very short distance past the end of pavement.  The access leads to a very pleasant picnic area with parking and toilet facilities on a cul-de-sac.  Jumpingpound Creek is visible below from a viewpoint to the left of the main picnic area and is running fast and high in spring runoff.

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Sheltered picnic tables at the Pinetop Day Use Area off Sibbald Creek trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Jumpingpound Creek from the Pinetop Day Use Area in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Short trail drops to the edge of Jumpingpound Creek and good fortune arrives at shoreline just as a young moose is crossing the creek a short distance downstream.

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A moose, as photographed from the shore of Jumpingpound Creek, at the bottom of the path from the Pinetop Day Use Area in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The trail-head for the 9.0 KM (5⅝ mile) Jumpingpound Loop begins at a trail sign near the entrance to the cul-de-sac.  Quickly, the link leads across Sibbald Creek Trail to another sign with a map of the trail which leads left and up through beautiful, spring-brilliant, aspen forest on decent trail at an easy, warm-up grade.

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Pinetop Day Use Area, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Beginning of the Jumpingpound Loop Trail from Pinetop Day Use in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Jumpingpound Loop trailhead sign on the far side of Sibbald Creek Trail (Hwy 68) in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Jumpingpound Loop Trail, Sibbald Creek Trail, Jumpingpound, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The Jumpingpound Loop Trail has two components.  One is above (north of) and the other is below (south of) Sibbald Creek Trail.  The upper component is at a higher elevation.  Throughout the hike, which can often be fairly level, there are down and up dips through draws with rustic bridges over small, runoff streams feeding Jumpingpound Creek.  Traffic on Sibbald Creek Trail is audible throughout the hike on either side of the gravel road.  There are a variety of interesting features on this hike which travels predominantly through multiple stands of genetically linked families of brightly colored aspen groves.

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada An anthill on Jumpingpound Loop Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Jumpingpound Loop Trail, Sibbald Creek Trail, Jumpingpound, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Jumpingpound Loop Trail, Sibbald Creek Trail, Jumpingpound, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Moose Mountain from Jumpingpound Loop Trail, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Dips on the trail host rustic, sawn-log bridges at the bottom to provide easy and dry navigation over streams.  Some creeks contain sheltered remnants of winter ice.  The first, northeast quadrant of the hike passes above Camp Cadicasu and the Park Ranger Station.  Each is obvious from the road but nearly completely hidden by forest on the Jumpingpound Loop trail.  Spectacular views of snow-draped Moose Mountain, dominating the horizon to the south, command the attention as lunch is enjoyed lunch on a spring, Buffalo Bean, flower-saturated slope above the upper Jumpingpound Loop.

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Jumpingpound Loop Trail, Sibbald Creek Trail, Jumpingpound, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Hiking near Camp Cadicasu on Jumpingpound Loop Trail, Sibbald Creek Trail, Jumpingpound, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Buffalo Beans (Thermopsis Rhombifolia) per Flowery Prose - on Jumpingpound Loop Trail, Sibbald Creek Trail, Jumpingpound, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Sibbald Creek Trail below Upper Jumpingpound Loop Trail in Jumpingpound, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Family of genetically related Aspen on the Jumpingpound Loop Trail, Sibbald Creek Trail, Jumpingpound, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Typical sawn-log bridge over a stream on the Jumpingpound Loop Trail, Sibbald Creek Trail, Jumpingpound, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada  Note the residual block of ice.

 

About halfway 2.6 KM (1⅝ mile) through the upper portion of Jumpingpound Loop, a trail junction provides an option to do half of the loop for those so inclined.  The option can also provide an escape from unanticipated inclement weather. 

Following a 4.6 KM (2⅞ mile) hike along the upper Jumpingpound Loop the trail gently descends to Sibbald Creek Trail where signs on the other side of the road clearly identify the south and lower half of Jumpingpound Loop which will lead into Pine Grove and then back to the Pinetop Day Use Area.

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada About midway along Upper Jumpingpound Loop Trail, Sibbald Creek Trail, Jumpingpound, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Jumpingpound Loop Trail, Sibbald Creek Trail, Jumpingpound, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada An old, dead tree with amazing character.

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Jumpingpound Loop Trail, Sibbald Creek Trail, Jumpingpound, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Jumpingpound Loop Trail, Sibbald Creek Trail, Jumpingpound, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Fungus

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Moose Mountain from Upper Jumpingpound Loop Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Moose Mountain from Upper Jumpingpound Loop Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Terrain changes dramatically.  Aspen groves are replaced by pine forest and wide expanses of grass and marshland.  The difference is dramatic.

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Jumpingpound Loop continues on the other side of Sibbald Creek Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Fescue and shrubbery plains accent background mountains on Lower Jumpingpound Loop in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Fescue and shrubbery plains accent background mountains on Lower Jumpingpound Loop in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Fescue and shrubbery plains accent background mountains on Lower Jumpingpound Loop in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Brief, refreshing, light rain triggers an explosion of fresh forest aroma.  It is music for the nose.  Thicker, old growth forest provides protection above excellent trail.  The valley deepens on the right as the hike proceeds east and the sound of powerful water, fully concealed by forest, is ever-present in the distance.

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Lower Jumpingpound Loop Trail off Sibbald Creek Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A very old log bridge on Lower Jumpingpound Loop off Sibbald Creek Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Lower Jumpingpound Loop off Sibbald Creek Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Lower Jumpingpound Loop off Sibbald Creek Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Lower Jumpingpound Loop off Sibbald Creek Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Later in the hike, the trail provides excellent views above swollen Jumpingpound Creek.

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Jumpingpound Creek from Lower Jumpingpound Loop off Sibbald Creek Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Jumpingpound Creek below Lower Jumpingpound Loop off Sibbald Creek Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

There are several bridge crossings over small streams at the bottom of dips.  Near the end of the hike there is the occasional re-occurrence of aspen in predominantly old evergreen forest with an occasional grassy field.

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Lower Jumpingpound Loop off Sibbald Creek Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Lower Jumpingpound Loop off Sibbald Creek Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Pine Top, Jumpingpound Loop, Sibbald Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Lower Jumpingpound Loop off Sibbald Creek Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Jumpingpound Loop is a hike close to Calgary definitely worthy of consideration. This interesting hike is an excellent experience with lots of variety at lower elevation for a good season opener.  The hike is not difficult but the length and accumulated gross elevation would prevents rating the hike as easy.  Easy for some.  Not so easy for others.  Portions can be hiked.  Net elevation is zero.  The loop delivers a hiker back to where they started.  Gross elevation is estimated near 320 m (1,050 ft).

Following yesterday's romp through snow on Jumpingpound Ridge and a brief, pleasant visit to Sibbald Viewpoint, this hike around the Jumpingpound Loop has been a wonderful, partial day gem.

Next hike up is Terrace Trail.

 

 

 

 

Categories: 

Tags: 

Comments

No argument from me, Leslie. Plenty of fresh air and forest aroma this spring on a series of three-season days. Looking forward to reading about your Colorado cycling adventure. Thanks for your comment, Leslie.

I think this loop was my first trail run, ever! I remember having no trail dexterity, coordination or nimbleness but love, love, loved running on the trail. I can still smell the scent of the leaves. It made me feel like a kid! All the more reason to get out there and enjoy those trails at any speed, in any weather, to breathe that fresh air.

The northeast quadrant of Kananaskis Country called Jumpingpound is less frequented. It contains Sibbald Creek Trail and Powderface Trail which are primarily gravel roads. There is good and unique hiking in this quadrant east of the Rocky Mountains front range which is often available earlier in the spring for lower elevation season opener hikes. It is less developed than other parts of Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta but worthy of investigation. It is also a shorter drive from Calgary to get in there and Sibbald Creek Trail South (Hwy 68) heads south first, then west to link up with Kananaskis Trail (Hwy 40). It is always exciting to see a moose in the wild. The gentle giants have always been kind to me but they are wild animals which deserve substantial respect. Thanks for your comment, Leigh. Best wishes on your across Canada adventures.

I've gone by the sign to Sibbald Creek numerous times but really know nothing about the area. I love the fresh lime green foliage in your pictures and the fact that you saw a moose.

As your lady bug says, 'Nature is awesome" Your memory is better than mine, Helen, but I do seem to recall the brilliance of spring Aspens last year in the Kananaskis Highwood area, perhaps on Grass Pass, Gunnery Pass or Bull Creek Hills. Every spring new foliage on Aspen trees is bold and bright. All the leaves are new and shiny and they stand out with white trunks and greenish-yellow leaves against the darker evergreen backgrounds, particularly when the sun is shining directly on them. It is something I look forward to every year. Later in the year the different greens become more similar in color and contrast. Thanks for your comment, Helen. I am enjoying the unique Australian flora and fauna on your blog.

Another great hike. Seem to recall commenting last year on the fresh foliage on the 'aspens' [am I correct] in one of your spring posts. Lovely to see it again.

You're welcome. Without you publishing your recent post, the Buffalo Beans would have been called 'small, pretty, yellow flowers'. Thanks for the assist and education. Good timing! Jumpingpound Loop is an old favorite. The only drawbacks are more crowded weekends due to easy access and the road running through the middle of the hike. I believe you will find it a horticultural heaven in a broad variety of terrain. I hope you and your husband enjoy this classic hike. It is a great trail that many people could do. Maybe a bit long for inexperienced young children.

This looks like an excellent hike to try...putting this on the list of "must-do's" for this year. My hubby and I are hoping to get out once all this rain lets up.

Thank you for your comment, Amy. I will do my best. Looking forward to dry trails free of snow.

Beautiful photos, Barry! I visited these places in Kananaskis with my husband. Gorgeous places! Keep it up!

Mar. 14, 2016 - Thank you for your coverage on this trail, Barry. One of our favorite hikes. Just did the trail this weekend. Upper portion is mostly bare and dry with some snow and icy sections. Bottom portion has snow and icy on up and down hill sections. Flat sections of the trail are muddy with some dry sections. Will give it a few more weeks with no snow and warm weather before doing it again.

Thank you for the update.

This trail is now closed due to bear activity. Injured Grizzly. Trail was closed on Saturday April 24th.

Thanks for the update.  This closure is posted on the Kananaskis Country website and thanks for the reminder that checking trail status is always an important component of any hike.

Add new comment