A natural break along Alder Trail in Bragg Creek Provincial Park, 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.
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.
Access to Alder Trail in Bragg Creek Provincial Park from the other side of Hwy 758 south of 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.
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.
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.
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 Flat, Bragg Creek Provincial Park Trail and Alder Trail.
Photographs for this post were captured on June 15, 2014.