Opal Falls - Kananaskis Country - Hiking Alberta

 

Flood damaged Opal Falls in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

 

Opal Falls, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

After enjoying an early morning stroll at the incredibly beautiful Mount Lorette Ponds, the drive continues south on Kananaskis Trail, weaving through mountain sheep who are licking the road for salt, past the open winter gate to a left turn onto gravel road leading to the Elpoca Day Use Area at the south end of Mount Wilbur.

This is traditionally a popular picnic area and viewpoint for Kananaskis Lakes, but evergreen trees have grown to render the viewpoint moot.

The intent is to hike into Opal Falls and observe flood impact.  Two hundred meters (219 yards) up the road, the gate is closed.  The road can still be hiked but the sign most ominous is the yellow one that says 'NARROW BRIDGE'.

On the left, the frothy, white water of Opal Creek is pounding downhill in spring/summer runoff.  

This may be a very short hike.

 

Opal Falls, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Opal Falls, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Opal Falls, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The closed gate and yellow narrow bridge sign on the road to Opal Falls in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Opal Falls, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Opal Creek along the road to Elpoca Day Use Area and Opal Falls in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

This will be a very short hike.  The narrow bridge has been compromised by June 2013 flooding but the bridge can be crossed safely on foot however the road has been closed due to Grizzly Bear activity.

 

Opal Falls, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada The narrow bridge to Opal Falls is closed in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Opal Falls, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Flood damage at the bridge on the road to Opal Falls, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

Opal Falls, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Flood damage at the bridge on the road to Opal Falls, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

 

 

 

The posted sign shows the area of bear activity.  The risk is likely low but the effort would require hiking solo along the edge of a closed area for significant isolated distance.

Not worth the risk.  Common sense dictates waiting for the advisory to be lifted and to hike into Opal Falls another day.  

The decision is to continue south on Kananaskis Trail (Hwy 40) to Highwood Pass for a potential hike there at Highwood Meadows.  This sunny day is being compromised by accumulating cloud which is very common in spring and early summer.

There is a lot of water moving and evaporation creates cloud rapidly.  At higher elevations, the weather can change dramatically in a very short time.

Photographs for this post were taken on June 23, 2014.

 

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