Alder Trail - Bragg Creek - Hiking Alberta

 

A natural break along Alder Trail in Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Alberta, Canada.

 

Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

 

After leaving pristine, old growth forest in the Bragg Creek Provincial Park Trail the labyrinth of trail exits near the entrance to the park from Hwy 758 and another potential opportunity.  The sign reads 'To Alder Trail' and a fine gravel trail, partially covered by needles from towering evergreen trees, begs entrance into the cool shade of a beautiful forest soaring above a magnificent moss carpet.  The still, aromatic forest is visually powerful, peaceful and calming.

 

Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, CanadaThe invitation to Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

 

Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada Winding trail leads invitingly into the shade of tall evergreen forest at Bragg Creek Provincial Park near Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

 

Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada Evergreen trees tower over delicate ground cover on the access to Alder Trail in Bragg Creek Provincial Park near Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

 

Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada Bird calls punctuate eerily hued forest on the access to Alder Trail in Bragg Creek Provincial Park near Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

 

The Alder Trail is a short, easy, 1.6 KM (1 mile) loop which begins on the other side (south and east) of Hwy 758 connecting Bragg Creek to the Elbow Falls Trail (Hwy 66) into the Elbow Valley component of Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.  Highway 758 can be busy and traffic is unlikely to stop.  Caution is expedient.  Children need extra attention for crossing.  An underpass would be sensible.  This hike is an interpretive trail along a circular loop very suitable for beginning, elderly or casual hikers.  The interpretive stations explain elements of the forest and specific logic for the pristine collection of plants which thrive in the area.

 

Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

Access to Alder Trail in Bragg Creek Provincial Park from the other side of Hwy 758 south of Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

 

Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada A clockwise hike of Alder Trail keeps the interpretive stations in proper sequence in Bragg Creek Provincial Park near Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

 

Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

 

Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

 

Interpretive plaques are interesting and educational.  The trail is mainly flat but climbs minimal elevation towards the far end including steps that pass signs of animal activity markings on trees.  These are the insignia of moose feeding on the bark.  The small and casual elevation gain sets up a pleasant, gradual descent on the way back to the beginning of the loop.

 

Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada 

Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

 

Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada A short, shallow, single set of steps at the far end of Alder Trail in Bragg Creek Provincial Park near Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

 

Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada Animal activity markings along Alder Trail in Bragg Creek Provincial Park near Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

 

Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada The artistic result of accidentally touching the shutter while hiking on the Alder Trail in Bragg Creek Provincial Park near Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

 

This forest oasis is a fitting prelude to the wide assortment of experiences and adventures nearby in the Elbow Valley section of Kananaskis Country.  These include fishing, canoeing, kayaking and a wide range of hiking opportunities which are well documented in Gillean Daffern's Kananaskis Country Trail Guide, 4th Edition, Volume 2.  In each of the Daffern Hiking Guides, the most important information is on the first page directly behind the cover.  Experienced hikers will understand this implicitly.

 

Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

Arrival back at the beginning of the Alder Trail loop near the crossing over Hwy 758 in Bragg Creek Provincial Park near Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

 

On the way into the hamlet of Bragg Creek, reconstruction efforts are underway along the Elbow River at the heavily flood-impacted southwest corner.  Cleanup and repair has been consistent and Bragg Creek is consistently recovering from the June 2013 floods.

 

 

Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

 

Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

 

Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada Alder Trail, Bragg Creek Provincial Park, Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada

 

The only sensible and traditional thing to do after hiking near Bragg Creek is to stop in for ice cream at the mall.  While there, we pick up the free Foothills Country Visitor's Guide which contains a wealth of information for Bragg Creek and surrounding communities.

This has been an excellent Father's Day, hiking with my daughter and exploring Paddy's FlatBragg Creek Provincial Park Trail and Alder Trail.

Photographs for this post were captured on June 15, 2014.

 

 

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Comments

the loop for alder trail turn around is not clearly marked. We had 3 year old at 37 week pregnant woman, a 10 week old dog and a lady with a concussion . We parked at provinicial park entrance. We were not prepared for a long hike but missed the loop turn around and ended up going past the school and ended up on a 10 km with no water or snacks. Can you make sure the turn around is clearly marked as I was talking to a few staff members and 2 other people had the same thing happen to them. Thanks Lauren

Sorry for your experience.  Your comment will be left here to potentially help others. It has also been forwarded to Alberta Parks for advisement.  Forward planning.  Due diligence.

Well, I wish I had come here first for the info on the signage! lol Did the trail today with a few other hikers. We were on the trail we thought was for Alder trail but didn't find a loop. We all turned around after walking 2.6 kms in with no "feeling" of a loop. Is there any way to let the park know they should get better signs or maps on the trail? Would have been a great help. Thank you.

Thank you for your comment, Anita.  Yes, the signage can be confusing and it does need to be improved.  In defense of Alberta Parks, their workload since the June 2013 floods has been daunting.  Bragg Creek was specifically devastated and substantial evidence of damage still remains.  My understanding is that Bragg Creek Provincial Park is due for renovation in the near term and the expectation would be to include improvements in trail signage. I believe park administration would welcome comments on your experience and provide information about planned improvements.  Contact information is available on their website.

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