An optional extension of the McPhail Creek Trail, this takes you right up to a very nice little alpine lake, complete with fishies & great views. Be prepared for 400 climbing in about 2km.
This trail is near (but is 42km North and 100m higher than McPhail):
SW of Calgary, 85km at a bearing of 215 degrees. You're looking for the Cat Creek Provincial Recreation Area (Equine). From the North, go W on #1 to Hi-way #40 and drive about 102km S, Cat'll be on your right. The Southern approach is to go W on #22X, then S on #22 until you get to Longview. Back up 300m and go W on 541 about 42km until you get to the Highwood Junction (#541, #40, and #Forestry Trunk Road). Keep going on the pavement back up North about 5.2km and you're at Cat Creek. Find a parking spot.
Trail head starts at North end of parking loop, at end of equine uses parking area. Go around the locked gate and down the sorry excuse for a road (but a good example of a MTB path).
NOTE: This section of hi-Way #40 (from the Highwood Junction up to Peter Lougheed Park) is closed from Dec 15 to June 15 (or there abouts) to let the Elk and the Sheep do their thang. It's probably too snowy or too much water flowing then anyways.
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Posted By: longleggedhiker
- Thu Jun 17 02:01:49 UTC 2010
UpsideBackpacking up McPhail Creek takes you into a spectacular wild basin that is completely enclosed by mountains and ridges.
The scenery is beautiful and the length of this hike makes for a very nice backpacking trip DownsideCrossing the Highwood River about 2.2 km from Cat Creek; wait until mid-July for opitimal water leves for crossing
The climb from the campsite to Lake of the Horns is very steep; the lake is 1.5 km (one way) and you gain 400 m
The headwall can be tricky; especially on the way down CommentThe total length of the hike is 23 km (11.5 km one way).
I reccomend that you bring a backpack and camp at the campsite. This will allow you to enjoy the many forays from the capsite including: Lake of the Horns - 3 km, 400 m round trip Weary Creek Gap - 7 km, 435 m round trip Hill of the Flowers - 4.2 km, 550 m round trip
Attempting this as a day hike is not reccomended as it will require 9 hours of hiking, not to mention the trailhead is 2 hours from Calgary. Total outing time of 13 hours. I made this mistake once.
Posted By: mhleniuk
- Mon Aug 03 04:57:11 UTC 2009
UpsideWell used path, which for most of he way is actually an old camp road, still used by horses and wagons. Beautiful! Good length for a back-country overnighter. Very Manageable. DownsideLast climb up to the headwall is super steep! Dangerous on the way down, too. Hard on the knees. In 3km about a 450+m gain.
The ground squirrels can be a problem. They bite! and go through your packs! if not kept in your tent. CommentI have done this trek twice (A week ago, and 8 years back). This last time up we accidently took the horse trail, up the Hill of Flowers, and continued on around the McPhail Creek Valley, oops! Which was almost double the distance as the regular trail up to the headwall. Which took us 7 hours flat, including all our breaks, to get up to the lake, carrying 60lbs each.
Coming down, we took the "proper" trail, and it took us 4.5 hours to get back to the car, which was parked at the Cat Creek rec area.
Posted By: mhleniuk
- Mon Aug 03 04:44:27 UTC 2009
QuestionI have done this trail as a hike twice, and I do not believe it is 27km, as you have listed. I think it is about only 12km, maybe 14km at the most. Where did you get 27 from? Just wondering...
ANSWERS are in this forum: Length?