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Read about proposed plans to renew the Elbow Valley facilities after the 2013 flood.

See photos of the work in progress as of September, 2017

The upgrades to the mini parks along the Elbow Valley are complete. There is a lot to like about these recreational areas now. Although we mourn the loss of Allen Bill Pond and the recreation area at Elbow Falls. The falls remain one of the most attractive aspects of the valley, along with the beautiful Forgetmenot Pond, but lots of parking has been added along with new trailheads  all along the valley, to provide access to the backcountry. One of the most notable upgrades is Cobble Flats located near the end of Highway 66, just before the Little Elbow Recreation Area. This is the place to go if you want to enjoy a picnic with family and friends. There are lots of picnic tables with firepits. Well over 50 tables, some pads have 2 tables for large groups. There is also a nice new indoor picnic are with a group firepit outside. All the tables are wheelchair accessible along paved paths. Many overlook the river which is easily accessible. This is a major change to the recreational options available in Kananaskis. Check it out.

Open all year

beaver lodge    Beaver Lodge

Open May 15 – Nov. 30

elbow falls    Elbow Falls

Open all year

elbow launch    Elbow River Launch

Open May 15 – Nov. 30

Forgetmenot Pond    Forgetmenot Pond

Open May 15 – Nov.30

  Cobble Flats

May 15-Nov.30

McLean Pond    McLean Pond

Open all year

Elbow Canyon    Elbow Canyon

Open all year

Moose Mountain    Moose Mountain

May 15 -Nov. 30

West Bragg Creek    West Bragg Creek

Open all year

Guide to Day Use Provincial Recreation Areas in the Elbow Valley

In these pages you will find useful and informative information about the beautiful places and attractive facilities available to you in the Elbow Valley of Kananaskis. But before we begin let me reveal one of the most unique and engaging attractions of all – Bragg Creek, the Gateway to Kananaskis. You will find everything you need to make your escape from the city rewarding and enjoyable – fine food, fine art, extraordinary gifts and fashions that will make your journey here and beyond something to treasure. And, if you don’t need the finest things we also have the basics; gas, food, sporting goods, snacks, liqour even duct tape. If you find all this irresistible and you decide that you just have to own a piece of paradise, we can even provide that. So come on out to the foothills, we won’t disappoint you. I say that knowing that we took a big hit in the flood that destroyed so much of the valley. But, we’ll recover and so will the Elbow Valley. Think of it like this, Bragg Creek is the Gift Shop and Restaurant that you can visit before or after a day in the Kananaskis Theme Park.

After the two most visited and most valued recreation areas in the Elbow Valley were all but destroyed on the flood of June 20 – 23, 2013, we’re going to survey the damage and take a look at some alternatives. This information won’t be updated so check the web site for current information. The photos and text in this feature were produced in early August of 2013. I assume that efforts will be made to restore some semblance of the beauty and rich resources available before the flood, but this will serve as a record of the toll taken by the raging torrent that ripped through the Elbow Valley and what was left behind.

The Provincial Recreation Areas intended for day use are only open from 7 AM to 11 PM. No Camping is allowed. Unlike campgrounds you can’t reserve space in Day Use Areas. They operate on a first come, first served basis – or “the early bird gets the worm”. Pets must be leashed within the Provincial Recreation Areas (PRA). It’s a poor rule (imprecise), but the rule of thumb is that the PRA extends about 100 metres around the parking lot. In some cases, like between Allen Bill Pond and Paddy’s Flat, the area is much larger. There are maps of the PRAs included here. Typically they have ample parking, outhouse style toilets, picnic tables, pathways and firepits. Not all have these amenities. Many are trailheads and serve as staging areas for cycling, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking off-roading and other recreational activities. Some have interpretive trails with signs along the way describing the natural features.

The bridge over the Elbow River on Highway 66 near Allen Bill was wrecked in the flood. Hopefully it will be repaired before winter, but, for now, there is a single lane bridge that has opened up the valley for visitors.

The Provincial Recreation Areas on this page are ideal for family outings, picnics and most have toilets. Use the map below to find cycling and hiking trails.

trail locatorIntreactive trail and facility locator map

If you are using a laptop or desktop with a mouse and have Adobe Flash installed, I hope you will find this helpful and even fun. You can zoom in, pan around and when you roll your mouse over a trail, it will light up and show the name of the trail. There is a lot of information here, more than is apparent.

Please contact Kananaskis Country Campgrounds for overnight camping information.

The list of PRAs below are not suitable for picnics or casual recreation. Several are staging areas for cycling or hiking. Some are closed due to flood damage. The footbridge over the Elbow in the Little Elbow Rec Area is open, but the Big and Little Elbow trails have sustained serious damage.

Photo gallery of the Elbow Valley taken May 16, 2014

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Day Use Area


As of September 2013

Cobble Flats May 15-Nov.30 Closed
Little Elbow Trailhead May 15-Nov.30 Most of the trail is gone, but you can walk along the shoreline
Powderface Road Closed
River Cove Campground Closed
Ing’s Mine All year Cycling staging area
Powderface trailhead May 15-Nov.30 Cycling staging area
Station Flats All year Cycling staging area

Map of the Elbow Valley District in Kananaskis

This map shows the Day Use Areas as well as Campgrounds

elbow valley

Both the Highway 66 Bridge and Highway 758 were wrecked during the flood of 2013. Both have been restored.

Highway 66 Bridge over the Elbow River

The bridge is a critical link to the Elbow Valley and all the facilities and activities available there. During the flood of June 20 – 23, 2013 the eastern embankment of the bridge was washed away breaking the link to the valley. Transport Alberta and Volker Stevin, the contractor, rushed to build a temporary bridge alongside. That bridge opened to the public on August 2.

Elbow River Bridge


Highway 758 in the Hamlet of Bragg Creek

The extension of White Avenue in the hamlet that connects the Provincial Park and Highway 66 was also destroyed in the flood. Alberta Transport intends to have the road rebuilt by mid September.

highway 758