Bragg Creek is a Gateway to Kananaskis Adventure. If you’re in Calgary and you want to get to the mountain playgrounds, we’re just 45 minutes away. There is no park pass required to visit the Elbow River Valley and West Bragg Creek in Kananaskis or Bragg Creek Provincial Park and you’ll find hundreds of kilometres of trails for hiking, horseback riding, cycling, cross country skiing and off-roading. Many of the trails have interpretive signs to explain the forces that created this spectacular landscape. Other trails lead to the peaks with views of the Rocky Mountains to the west and Calgary and the Prairies to the east. You can walk for days and not see a soul.
Elbow Falls is a site to see, easy to get to, but quite as easy to get around as it was before the 2013 flood. However, there is a Renewal plan to pave new pathways and make it wheelchair accessible again. A few trails remain, pit toilets and pump water. The lookout over the falls is still there. Allen Bill
Pond is now a river with good facilities. Forgetmenot Ponds is an oasis of refreshment and relaxation, stocked with fish. It is large enough to paddle your canoe and maybe even swimable if you can stand the cold. Again there are picnic tables and pit toilets. Scuba divers use Forgetmenot to practice their sport. There is a plaque at the bottom of the pond commemorating a Calgary police officer who was killed on duty. He is remembered here. There is also a ciment block structure that looks like a castle. Their purpose was to hold down trees below the water line which as the tree became waterlogged would promote an algae growth, which would eventually promote more plant life. The trees are now totally waterlogged and the thin ropes used to tie the bricks to the trees have broken away long ago. So now divers collect the bricks and stack them for something to do in the water.
Short interpreted walks (1 to 2 kilometres) include Elbow Falls, Beaver Lodge, Little Elbow, Paddy’s Flat and McLean Creek. More strenuous hikes abound, but we recommend hiking to the summit of Moose Mountain or Prairie Mountain or a scramble up Nihahi Ridge to get a view from the top of our world. A visit to the Ice Cave by Canyon Creek was popular in the past, but access to the cave is now blocked due to the dangerous terrain. If you’re fit and eager, take the Banded Peak Challenge. This fund raiser for Camp Horizon is a cycle and scramble up to the summit of a 10,000 ft. Rocky Mountain.
The main entrance to the Elbow River Valley district is 8.5 km west of Bragg Creek on highway 66.
The west Bragg Creek gate to K-country is 10 km down Township Rd. 232.
The Elbow River Valley is the section of Kananaskis Country adjacent to Bragg Creek. Hundreds of kilometres of trails wind through grasslands and on into rolling hills of aspen and evergreen trees which turn to subalpine forests, eventually butting up against the wall of high alpine mountains. On the western edge of this district lies the Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park, an area of special protection from mechanized exploitation. Hiking, cycling and horseback are the only ways into these forests and rugged mountain terrain. Access is through the Little Elbow campground at the western end of highway 66.
Recreational use in most of Kananaskis is shared with agricultural and industrial activities. Hikers, cyclists, canoeists, campers, fishermen, hunters and horseback riders could encounter cattle grazing, loggers cutting or gas pumping stations in the back woods. The McLean Creek area has been designated an off-road playground for motorized vehicles, including snowmobiles in winter.
The official Kananaskis Country web site has a treasure trove of information on facilities and activities in this 4,000 square kilometre recreational playground just west of Bragg Creek
Kananaskis Trail Conditions
Elbow Valley Information Centre
Located on highway 66, 9 km west of Bragg Creek.
The centre is open in the summer only.
Friday 10:30 am – 2:00 pm; 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am – 12:30 pm; 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Sunday 9:00 am – 12:30 pm; 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Kananaskis Information by phone: 403-678-0760
Trailer Sewage Dump locations:
Elbow Valley Centre – At the information Centre, McLean Creek Campground and Sheep River Visitor Centre. There is a big, fancy, new dump station on the left, a few kilometres past the Info Centre, but it doesn’t appear to be open.
Hwy 66 west of Elbow Falls and the Powderface Trail are closed December 1st, reopened on May 15 and McLean Creek Trail road closed on December 1st, reopened May 1st.
Alberta Community Development
201 – 800 Railway Avenue,
In the Elbow Valley are operated by Kananaskis Country Campgrounds. Call – 403-949-3132
Sheep River Valley & Highwood Cataract
Big Elbow (6 sites)
Mt. Romulus (14 sites)
Tombstone (11 sites)
These have water, toilets and are open to equestrians.
A Backcountry Permit is required to camp at any backcountry campground in Kananaskis Country. Permits can be obtained at any K-Country Visitor Info Centre or by phoning 403-678-3136.