Bragg Creek Provincial Park

Lat: 50.94116   Long: -114.59317 Click to see map

This may be the best picnic area for your family. It has all the sevices; toilets, picnic tables, firepits, large open play areas, proximity to the river and a good trail, the Alder Trail, nearby. There is also a trail through the forest that starts on the upper level and winds through the forest down by the river. The flood did some damage to the trails.

Some of the approximately 30 tables are located up on a kind of plateau near the parking area and the play fields. There are tables scattered around the playing fields and two large firepits surrounded by a circle of benches. I haven't seen this in any other day use area. There are a lot more tables down a gradual slope near the river. I thought this area looked a lot like the way Elbow Falls used to be with tables and firepits scattered throughout an open forest with the river nearby. There is a toilet on the lower level as well. The river doesn't have a lot of drama here, but there are some impressive rock cliffs on the opposite shore.

Normally the park is easily accessible just a short drive past the Hamlet of Bragg Creek on Highway 758, an extension of the Heritage Mile (White Avenue), but that road was washed away in the flood. Alberta Transport plans to have the road rebuilt in mid September. In the interim you can get there by driving a couple of kilometres west on Highway 66 from the junction of Highway 22 and 66 to the Highway 758 turnoff to Bragg Creek. About 2 kilometres down, the park entrance is on the left. Before you get to the entrance the Alder Trail crosses the road and there is a small parking lot which serves as a trailhead for the trail.

In 2005 the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association built the Centennial Trail that connected the park to the hamlet with a branch along the gravel flats near the park. The flood destroyed a large part of the trail, but the first part of the trail, which starts across from the toilet at the end of the parking lot nearest Hwy 758, is still there. A dramatic outlook from a bluff overlooks the Elbow along this trail, but then the trail ends at the river after a steep incline down. You can pick your way over rocks and fallen trees back to the main park trail and back to the picnic area. It took me about 40 minutes.

Take a "virtual tour" of the Centennial Trail

 

Ample parking and several toilets
Ample parking and several toilets
There are two toilets near the parking lot on the upper level. There you will find large bear proof garbage bins.
  • Ample parking and several toilets
    There are two toilets near the parking lot on the upper level. There you will find large bear proof garbage bins.
  • Bring the family
    There are tables on the playing fields on the upper level. Some have firepits. These table are just a few metres from the parking lot.
  • Park Trail
    This is the main park trail that runs from the parking lot, through the woods and down to the lower forest near the water. It is a bit difficult reaching the water as you have to pick your way through downed trees and brush debris. Walking along the shoreline is also a challenge as the rocks are hard to walk on.
  • The best laid plans of mice and men
    This boardwalk used to sit in a straight line that ran through a wetland. We used big stakes to secure them so they wouldn't float away in a flood, but we had no idea that the wetland and the trail would be washed away in a flood.
  • All gather 'round
    There are two of these large fire pits with a circle of benches on the upper level of the park. There are also tables nearby. You can imagine what fun it would be to get together with a bunch of friends to enjoy the fire and toast marshmallows or hot dogs. Sure beats Facebook for sociability.
  • Maintenance
    This is one of two toilets on the upper level. Here you can see a man from Kananaskis Country Campgrounds cleaning the faility. They do a great job cleaning and maintaining the grounds as well as the toilets. That is a big job.
  • Toilet in the woods
    These old style toilets aren't the prettiest things, but this one, situated in the midlle of the forest by the river, has a certain charm.
  • Picnic in the woods
    Someone made the right choices when they decided to build a provincial park near Bragg Creek. And, they've done a great job of developing and caring for it. With Allen Bill Pond and Elbow Falls all but gone this is the best option available for a family outing in a natural setting. This isn't part of Kananaskis, but, as a provincial park, it is given special care and consideration. Kananaskis is as big as all outdoors and although the park is relatively small it has all you need to get away from the city and experience the call of the wild.
  • Your table is waiting
    The provincial park is a bit of a hidden gem. It has been here, minutes from all the conveniences in Bragg Creek, for a long time but it has been eclipsed by the much bigger and more impressive Kananaskis Country. I expect that will change as people begin to look for alternatives to the perennial favourites in the Elbow Valley. Certainly its location along the riverside will be a big draw.
  • Down by the river
    Whether you're out for a picnic with a group or a stroll with your honey, the park has a lot to offer. I've always been amused that I can pull into a crowded Kananaskis parking lot and then head out for hours without seeing a soul. That won't happen here. On a busy weekend the place comes alive with people playing and relaxing. In many respects that just adds to the vitality and interest of the area.
  • Centennial Pathway
    The Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association built this path in 2005. Up untill the flood wrecked a long stretch of the path along the river you cold walk on the wild side and into the charms of a small rural community filled with fine restaurants, interesting gift shops, art galleries and then get an ice cream or a coffee topping it all off with a concert or a party in the bar at night. Hopefully we'll get that back, but for now the trail ends at the bottom of this hill about 10 minutes from the parking lot.

 

Bragg Creek Provincial Park Map

Bragg Creek Provincial Park Map

Click to enlarge. Click to reduce.

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