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Take a walk on the wild side

There’s nothing like fresh air, friends, mountain flowers and a chance to see some wildlife to make one relax.

The Bragg Creek area offers the finest in hiking and biking trails. Take a trip to West Bragg Creek and an oasis of trails are available for hikes, trail running and mountain biking.

The extensive trail system will provide mountain bikers of all skills plenty of thrills. As well, ‘West Bragg” has become a popular location for the growing recreational activity of trail running.

Of course, it is still the ideal location to bring the family, a picnic basket and maybe some binoculars to take a peek at some of the birds nestled at West Bragg. One of the many features of the West Bragg trail system is it is well marked – even a greenhorn will be able to find his or hers way.

Here are some of the more popular hiking trails in the Bragg Creek area as suggested by the Bragg Creek Chamber of Commerce website. Remember this is Mother’s Nature’s playground, be prepared for changes in weather and it is bear country.
For more information on hiking go to www.visitbraggcreek.com

Easy

Alder Trail Distance: 1.6 km, Elevation gain: 50 metres; 
Time required:  Less than an hour 
Bikes permitted: Yes; Dogs permitted: Yes; 
Directions to trail head: At the four-way stop where highway 22 enters Bragg Creek take White Avenue which turns into Highway 758. Turn right into Bragg Creek Provincial Park about 2.4 kilometres from the four-way intersection. Look for the trailhead sign at the east side of the parking lot.

Hike Description: Alder Trail is a short interpretive walk. There are several signs describing the development of the area and its vegetation. The trail goes up a shallow ridge and then crosses Highway 758, then there is a loop on the west side of the highway approximately 1 kilometer in length.

Moderate

Fullerton Loop
Distance: 6.5 km; Elevation gain: 364 metres; 
Time required: 1 – 2 hours; Bikes permitted: No; 
Dogs permitted: Yes; Directions to trail head: Travel 9.7 kilometres west of the junction of highways 22 and 66. Turn at the sign for Allen Bill Pond, and then the trailhead is at the east end of the parking area.

Hike Description: Allen Bill Pond is a small, pretty pond with picnic tables dotted around. After serious flooding a few years ago the pond joined up completely with the river, and for fishing licence purposes was re-designated as a river.  Now, however, after some construction, the pond is back to exactly that: a pond. At the first intersection on the trail keep to the left on Fullerton Loop.

The second intersection is the start of the loop and at this junction there is a set of rough stairs cut into the hill. Keep to the right here and enjoy a long gradual ascent through the forest to the halfway point of the loop where you can view Moose Mountain and the group of mountains surrounding Banded Peak. The return trip skirts the edge of the ridge overlooking the Ranger Station and the Elbow Valley.

Strenuous

Moose Mountain — Distance: 15.2 km; 
Elevation gain: 525 metres; 
Time required: 4 – 7 hours; Bikes permitted: Yes; 
Dogs permitted: Yes; 
Directions to trail head: From the junction of Highways 22 and 66 drive about 14 kilometres, go past the sign for Paddy’s Flat campground, and about 800 metres there is an unmarked turn to the right.  This is the road to Moose Mountain.  Take this turning and drive about 7.5 kilometers up this road, which is graveled and fairly bumpy, to the parking area.

The trailhead is both in the parking lot and immediately across the road from the signs to parallel park on the road. Hike Description: Note: there are signs warning of lighting during storms and loss of footing during the ascent to the peak. The hike traverses the ridge from the right side, up and over the first rise, and ends at the top of the second rise. At the top is Alberta’s highest fire lookout.

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