West Bragg Creek Recreation Area

Lat: 50.948446   Long: -114.692441 Click for map

The Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association has been working hard to make this into a year-round outdoor recreation centre. This area was intended to be a cross-country ski centre, but they built some of the best trails you will find anywhere for mountain biking. And, they did it while the loggers have been conducting a full-scale commecial logging operation. It's a bit wierd actually; West Bragg is ground zero for the struggle over the multi-use designation of Kananaskis. Loggers, Ranchers, Recreation users and the energy industry all lay claim to this area. The area is kind of the odd man out for Kananaskis. Compared to the Kananaskis Valley and the Elbow Valley it doesn't get a lot of attention from the Kananaskis Administration, but it does get a lot of use.

West Bragg Creek isn't a great place to bring your group for a picnic lunch. It is a staging area for cyclists, equestrians and cross-country skiers. It is very popular and the parking lot is usually full on the weekends. If the conditions are good you will find long lines of cars overflowing on to the road. It can even get crowded during the week, in the evening.

There are 8 tables here and no firepits. The tables are in the parking lot or on the edge and when you factor in the amout of traffic in the parking lot, it isn't a great place for a picnic. There is one old style toilet. Several organizations (clubs) invite members to come out and join a group ride or ski. Those groups kind of take over the picnic tables to enjoy a bit of a party. Some groups even do a bit of tailgating. It can get pretty festive.

The flood had little impact here. The bridge over Bragg Creek suffered some damage and was closed for a couple of weeks, but apart from that and a few washouts, the recreational activities were relatively unaffected.

 

Meet-up and go
Meet-up and go
Clubs like the Calgary Mountain Bike Alliance organize group rides on weekday evenings. They have many members and the turnout can bring a lot of people to the area. They've discovered that some of the best mountain biking anywhere is located here in West Bragg Creek. The Foothills Nordic Ski Club and Bragg Creek Trails Association organize ski events here during the winter.
  • Meet-up and go
    Clubs like the Calgary Mountain Bike Alliance organize group rides on weekday evenings. They have many members and the turnout can bring a lot of people to the area. They've discovered that some of the best mountain biking anywhere is located here in West Bragg Creek. The Foothills Nordic Ski Club and Bragg Creek Trails Association organize ski events here during the winter.
  • If you gotta go . . .
    The parking lot is pretty big but it often gets filled to overflowing on nice weekend days. I counted about 100 cars here once. When the lot gets full people park in long lines along either side of the road. There is an old style toilet here.
  • Get ready, get set . . .
    The tables here are used most of the time to place gear and lean on while tying shoes. Occasionally people grab a quick snack, but they are principally used to get ready for a day on the trails.
  • Picnic in the Parking Lot
    There are eight tables here. Sometimes groups will use several of them to get together and plan their day on the trails. There are several different kinds of trails. The original double track trails were designed for cross-country skiing. There is a snowshoe trail and there are new single track trails that have been well designed and built, intended primarilly for mountain bikes. That said, you will find all kinds of recreational activity here; horseback riders, hikers and cyclists.
  • Information and Maps
    This is part of Kananaskis. It lacks a bit of love as it was intended to be used for skiing mostly with ranching, logging and energy extraction its primary purpose. But, Bragg Creek residents love it year-round and they have invited Calgarians to come and play here too.
  • Horseback Riding
    Everybody gets in on the action. You have to watch where you're walking as horses and cows leave piles of poop everywhere. One equestrian told me they like to use the new single track trails as they are well drained and dry. You will find hunters here, in season, although they seem to prefer the bush avoiding the trails. Outside of the Provincial Recreation Area there are virtually no rules. They don't allow motorized vehicles and drunk and disorderly behaviour, but otherwise it's kind of the wild west.
  • Making Do
    A cyclist rides over a bypass around a huge ditch dug out of the trail across from the parking lot, just past the bridge. West Bragg didn't suffer too much damage and became a very popular destination for cyclists after the flood. Access to the recreation area was closed for a couple of weeks while repairs were made to the bridge, but that didn't stop the intrepid enthusiasts. Likely many people didn't know about the super new single track trails that have been built in the past few years. Work on developing more trails is ongoing.

 

This map shows the Provincial Recreation Area boundary in West Bragg Creek. It was produced when someone installed a big ugly sign stating the law that dog owners face a $115 fine if they are caught with their dog unleashed in the PRA. The thing is, none of the PRAs have fences marking the boundary so it is impossible to know where the boundary is. It is safe to say that the boundary surrounds all PRA parking lots and dogs must be under control in them. As the area outside the boundary isn't a park, you can let your dog run if it poses no risk to anyone.

west bragg creek provincial recreation area map

 

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