Bill Milne Bike Path - Kananaskis - Hiking Alberta

 

Hiking the Bill Milne Bike Path in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Bill Milne Bike Path, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The Bill Milne Bike Trail begins from the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis, west of Calgary, Alberta and 25 KM ( 15¾ miles) south on Kananaskis Trail (Hwy 40).

The lodge is up the hill on Centennial Drive past Ribbon Creek.  A right turn into Mount Sparrowhawk Crescent and a quick tuck left provides a parking spot close to the trail-head. 

The Bill Milne Trail is a paved trail with a yellow line down the middle for alternate direction bicycle traffic.  In winter the Bill Milne Trail provides a popular path for cross country skiers.

The trail is open from the Delta Lodge to the Kananaskis River, closed for flood damage and repair between the Kananaskis River bridge and the Mount Kidd RV Park, then open again from the RV Park to Wedge Pond.

There is a problem with bridges, the most visible being the 'Bridge to Nowhere' at Evan-Thomas Creek.  The Bill Milne trail-head is clearly signed, back a bit, on the other side of Centennial Drive.

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Bill Milne Trailhead on the east side of Centennial Drive at the Delta Lodge in Kananaskis, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The paved Bill Milne Bike Trail has a bridge crossing in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Bill Milne Trail winds its way down through forest in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada. There are rest stops along the way.

 

The Bill Milne Trail descends through beautiful dense forest adjacent to the relatively inconspicuous Centennial Trail road access.

Periodically there are openings which provide spectacular views of surrounding mountains on a journey through fond memories of past adventures. 

The trail pops out of forest, after a quick 2.4 KM (1½ mile) descent, near the bridge over Ribbon Creek.  Although the large bridge survived, there has been significant flood damage here.  Substantial, but fundamental, restoration has been underway. 

On the other side of Ribbon Creek, the trail is either washed away or covered with rock.  The gravel road to Kovach Pond offers an alternative.

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Bill Milne Trail at Ribbon Creek in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Bill Milne Bike Trail is washed away or covered with stone at Ribbon Creek in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Ribbon Creek at runoff where the Bill Milne Trail is damaged in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A hundred meters further Bill Milne Trail resumes near Kovach Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Kovach Pond survives the onslaught of flood and is worthy of a brief detour to enjoy the phenomenal mountain view in the background before returning to the Bill Milne Trail at the Kovach Pond picnic area.

A short distance east leads to Kananaskis River and a brass plaque in tribute to the man for whom the trail is named.

From the bridge over the Kananaskis River there are classic views of Mount Lorette and Mary Barklay's Mountain to the north, and the traditional southwest photograph of Mount Kidd past the flood-altered Kananaskis River is always a stunning image and particularly resplendent on this fine, sunny day.

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Kovach Pond with Mount Allen and Mount Lougheed in the background, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mount Lorette downstream on the Kananaskis River from the bridge along the Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada. Mary Barklay's Mountain is further on photo right.

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The classic photo of Mount Kidd on the Bill Milne Trail looking upstream on the Kananaskis River from the bridge to Nakiska in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The next step is the hike out to Kananaskis Trail to walk the shoulder of the highway south to Mount Kidd RV Park as the route around the flood damaged and closed portion of the Bill Milne Trail. 

Although the next section of the Bill Milne Bike Path is published as closed, there are no signs indicating closure and there is visible evidence of recent bicycle and foot traffic.

Venturing a bit further on the Bill Milne Trail may require a reversal but nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Hiking south now on the Bill Milne Trail, there is significant flood damage which has been cleared from the trail.  The first bridge held firm in spite of the rock which saturated the creek bed and the timber debris clogging the side rails.  

There are delightful ponds at trail side and the next bridge has fared better than the first.  Sections of forest alternate with massive open meadows which provide sweeping vistas of surrounding mountains.

There are large numbers of deer enjoying this day but they take flight from significant distance.  Timber debris confirms these huge meadows were inundated with water from the river and Fisher Range drainages to the east. 

Further along Bill Milne Trail, arrival at another bridge occurs where the pavement is interrupted.  Transition is a careful step down, then up onto the secure, albeit debris-surrounded bridge.

Whoever built these wooden bridges knew what they were doing.  Clearly there is a 'Trail Closed' sign with yellow warning tape.  The regroup is a long way back, and again, there are clear signs of traffic in the mud on the other side.

The temptation to continue is strong with the understanding to exercise high caution.  There is temporary guilt.

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Flood damaged bridge on the Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A beautiful pond beside Bill Milne Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Another bridge has fared better along Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Past debris strewn meadow, Mount McDougall looms over the Kananaskis Emergency Services Facility along Bill Milne Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Access to one of the bridges is washed out along Bill Milne Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Surrounding views are awesome.  Breathtaking!  Open meadows provide fabulous vistas of surrounding mountains which still photographs cannot capture.  Further south, the Bill Milne Bike Path passes entrance to a construction and maintenance yard.  New path has been laid down here.  The new asphalt path tracks beneath power lines. 

The heavily damaged and closed-for-business Kananaskis Country Golf Course periodically peaks through the evergreen apron on the right.  Heavy equipment operation on the trail forces a detour through eerily vacant parking areas for the golf course.

Again curiosity takes charge for a half an hour spent touring the grounds close to the trail. 

A separate post of golf course flood damage photos will follow. 

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Closing in on The Wedge at the far end of the Bill Milne Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Beautiful meadow views closing in on The Wedge at the far end of the Bill Milne Trail Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Trail repair along Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Back on the Bill Milne Trail hiking continues along excellent paved path until arrival at the infamous bridge which was previously over the Evan-Thomas Creek.

The June 2013 flood altered the creek substantially and swept away a section of the trail.  The bridge is stranded as the raging creek changed course.  Major reconstruction has been underway on this channel for many months.

One of the final steps will be to re-link the trail.  It is not a small or inexpensive effort.  Although the bridge seems stable, there are sections washed out and collections of debris against the foundations.  The replacement solution is different than anticipated.

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Back onto the Bill Milne Trail at the Kananaskis Country Golf Course in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Arrival at Evan-Thomas Creek Bridge along Bill Milne Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Bill Milne Trail continues on the other side of the relocated Evan-Thomas Creek in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The Evan-Thomas Creek bridge is the intended objective for the day, however a further 6 KM (3¾ mile) round trip distance will allow the opportunity to hike the entire trail and also to have lunch at Wedge Pond.

Evan-Thomas Creek is in spring run-off.  The sensible route to continue is the short hike to Kananaskis Trail and around to the Bill Milne Bike Path from the other side.

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Kananaskis Trail bridge is nearby in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada View to Evan-Thomas Creek Bridge on Bill Milne Trail from Kananaskis Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Bill Milne Trail south from Evan-Thomas Creek to Mount Kidd RV Park in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Closing in on Mount Kidd RV Park a short distance south of Evan-Thomas Creek along Bill Milne Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Bill Milne Trail looking north from Mount Kidd RV Park entrance in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Looking back at signage, at the north access to Bill Milne Trail from Mount Kidd RV Park indicates penalty for trespass of up to $100,000.  Good Lord!  On the other hand, not a place for the inexperienced and definitely not a place for un-escorted children.

Danger management and risk is above average.  Parks will certainly want to resolve this easily accessible exposure as quickly as possible.  The next section of trail leads to a crossing over Kananaskis Trail on the path to Wedge Pond.

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Trail jog at Mount Kidd RV Park on the Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Approaching Kananaskis Trail crossing on the Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The section of trail to Wedge Pond is a forest walk on rolling, twisting path through huge stands of lodge pole pine.  Sunlight, shadow and dead fall create fascinating geometric images along the trail.

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Bill Milne Trail crosses Kananaskis Trail near The Wedge in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Geometry in the forest along Bill Milne Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada
Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

 

Lunch at nearly vacant Wedge Pond, in the sun, with Richardson Squirrels in attendance is glorious as boots and socks dry out.

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Wedge Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Long lens view of the Fortress from Wedge Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A Richardson Squirrel at Wedge Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The Wedge above Wedge Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Leaving the lunch bench for the return hike from Wedge Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

There are excellent views on the return hike.  It is difficult to choose just a few images from hundreds of photographs taken on this hike.

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Returning on Bill Milne Trail from Wedge Pond by the same route in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada View of Mount Kidd on the crossing over Kananaskis Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada A chipmunk along the Bill Milne Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada. Note the stripes on the face as well. Tiny animal. The fly on the rock provides scale.

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Looking west at the entrance into Mount Kidd RV Park in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Old Baldy Knoll is prominent to the east along Bill Milne Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The view from the opposite direction at Evan-Thomas Creek is poignant and representative of the flood water's power.  This 'bridge to nowhere' icon is temporary but none-the-less fascinating.

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Old Baldy behind Evan-Thomas Creek Bridge along Bill Milne Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada View north of runoff on Evan Thomas Creek from Kananaskis Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Circumventing the hazard with magnificent Mount Kidd in the background in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

With hindsight, the bicycle would have been a better option.  It is a long walk but there is greater opportunity to absorb the non-stop, surrounding scenery.

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Back at the Kananaskis Country Golf Course on Bill Milne Trail in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mount Lorette and colorful Mary Barklay's Mountain across a meadow as seen from Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada An excellent view of Mount Allan across the meadow taken from Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Flood damage is constantly evident but much of it has been repaired between Evan-Thomas Creek and the bridge over Kananaskis River.  The best approach is to honor trail closures.  Many people do not want to give up another hiking season on some of the parks best and most traveled trails.

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Flood damage on Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Flood damage on Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Mount Lorette and Mary Barklay's Mountain in afternoon sun from the bridge over Kananaskis River in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Flood damage on the stretch between Kananaskis River and Ribbon Creek on the Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

The final stretch between Ribbon Creek and the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis is an ascent on tired legs.  On this day hiking covers about 25 KM (15⅝ miles).  Hiking on pavement is less forgiving than good trail.  When the Bill Milne Trail is fully restored, it will be a grand trail experience on the bicycle.

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada One of five rest stops along Bill Milne Trail between Ribbon Creek and Delta Lodge, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Bill Milne Trail, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada This Bill Milne Trail bridge looks good in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada. I am near the end.

 

 

 

Trail repair teams need time to complete restoration of the Bill Milne Bike Path before the public begins using the entire, one-way 11 KM (6⅞ mile) length between Delta Lodge at Kananaskis and Wedge Pond.   Check progress with Alberta Parks.

Photographs for this post were captured on June 1, 2014.

 

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