Junction Creek Trail is a trail used by hunters, horseback riders, and hikers. You can use the main trail to access Junction Lake, the pass to Picklejar Lakes, or to summit a few of the local peaks. The side valleys are not well-travelled although the main trail is in good shape. Be prepared for mud and water as there are stream crossings and a major crossing of the Sheep River. The depth of the Sheep River really determines if you can do the hike at all. We went in the middle of June, and the water level was about 3 feet and moving pretty fast. We almost didn't make it across. From the parking lot there is an obvious trail to where the most common crossing location is. About 200 yards upstream there is a shallower crossing which we used on the return trip.
The Junction Creek trail heads south from the day use area about 10km to the south with various branches on the trail as you go. The trail starts as an old logging road which has progressively been reclaimed by the forest. Over the years, hunters have laid trees over the more wet areas to help keep from being up to your knees in mud. The trail follows Junction creek and offers some interesting highlights of waterfalls and manmade structures in the creek to assist with the logging that took place around the turn of the century.
After about 3km from the Sheep river crossing, on the wide logging road, you'll reach a clearing from the old sawmill site. There's still large piles of sawdust you sink into as you cross the clearing. Mountain Bikers won't want to go much further after this. Another 1.5km or so, you'll reach a junction. Heading west will take you to junction lake. Go straight to continue on the main trail. There's a stream crossing that was done without getting our boots too wet. Continue on along the trail following Junction Creek. There are some stream crossings when the creek becomes braided and is easier for horses, but hikers can avoid the crossing by sticking to the right.
A little over 7km from the Sheep river crossing, there are some unofficial campsites with fire rings and deadfall arranged in benches. We camped at this location for two nights and enjoyed the beautiful 3 tier waterfall from one of the tributaries entering junction creek. There is a nice deep swimming hole at the base of the waterfall if you can handle the cold mountain water. Exploring the canyon is a fun and relaxing way to spend the day.
Probably the biggest plus of this trip is the Sheep River crossing. It's tough, so it deters most people from exploring beyond the day use area. That meant we didn't see any other people the whole long weekend. We had a large cow moose and her twin calves walk right between our firepit and tent one morning. Woke us up with all the noise. So popping out of the tent with nothing but bear spray and my boxers, I was treated to seeing mom and her calves saunter off across the creek only to give me a passing glance. The hike is in Bluerock Wildland Provincial Park and also the Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park, so check the guidelines, and in speaking with the ranger we met as we started our weekend, it's a good idea to let them know where you're headed so they have an idea who is out in the bush.
To get there from Calgary, head to Turner Valley, and take highway 546 West to the very end. Simple as that. You'll be at the Junction Creek Day use area.
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Posted By: jdocken
- Sun Aug 12 20:57:36 UTC 2018
Questiontrying to find out the condition of the junction Lake trail which starts from Blue Rock.
Apparently a lot of flood damage, and wondered if debris has been cleared.
Friend tried to do it in 2014, turned back because trail immpassableANSWERS are in this forum: Junction Lake
Posted By: Mfamily
- Sat Jan 01 22:36:39 UTC 2011
Questionhey i was wondering, to get to the swimming hole and the waterfalls, would it be easier to take highway 546 to the end. or kananaskis trail to mt allen. and where is the sheep river which i must cross? is it near highway 546? thanks alot, and im hoping ti complete this hike when it gets warm out.ANSWERS are in this forum: Junction creek trail
Posted By: longleggedhiker
- Thu Jun 17 01:27:31 UTC 2010
UpsideDefinitley one of the bset hikes in the Sheep River Valley DownsideRiver crossing right at the start, ruts caused by horses CommentThis is a very enjoyable hike that provides views of numerous waterfalls and mountains above. Due to the river crossing, try this in August, September, or October.
Posted By: Bretan
- Sun Aug 12 17:06:16 UTC 2007
UpsideGreat views in the valley, camping next to the waterfall is always great. About half a kilometer south along the main trail, there is a great swimming hole. Basically a natural jacuzzi, with water coming into a pool from a small waterfall. There is also a ledge to sit on as the water flow by. ...If you can handle the cold... DownsideHiking can be a bit awkward from the ruts made by horse travel. CommentWrote the initial trail report about a year ago, and went again this weekend (Aug/07) Was a little dissapointed at how much the deadfall and trees have been picked through at the campsite. Please try to limit the size of your fires.