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Commonwealth Creek Hike

Where:

  • Commonwealth Creek

 

When:

  • April 17, 2021

 

Who:

  • Ed, Jace, Dave, Jimmy, Tomonori, Ian, Freda, Yacco, Craig, Rod, Bauer

 

Trailhead:

  • 40 km from Canmore on the Spray Lakes Road
  • park on the road 2.2 km past (south) of the Engadine Lodge/Mt. Shark turnoff
  • the trail is on the right (west) side of the road, and you start by going over the guardrail and down a steep but short embankment and then across Engadine meadow
  • hopefully, the creek is frozen over, and otherwise, you have to access the trail from the Mt. Shark Road parking lot which is a longer stroll
  • once you get into the trees, veer to the right, and you should be able to see the trail markings that lead (left) up into the valley
  • at the first junction, turn left
  • after about another km, take the right-hand turn that takes you along Commonwealth Creek as the left-hand turn leads up to Commonwealth Lake

 

 

Degree of difficulty:

  • 250 meters elevation to the end of the valley
  • 9 km out and back
  • the hike took our group just over three hours
  • the trail starts gently across a meadow, gradually up thru the cut block, and then gains a bit more elevation along the south side of the creek
  • it flattens out once you exit the trees into the valley
  • once you come out of the trees into the open area make sure you stay away from any avalanche shoots and in particular the one near the end of the valley on the right-hand side
  • Commonwealth Creek is one of the easiest trails and hence is suitable for all levels; however, on this day, we followed an ad hoc trail that resulted in a longer hike
  • as well the snow was soft, so it felt like walking on a beach, and we had a few waist-deep snow land mines along the way

 

 

Interesting notes:

  • there are some amazing views of Commonwealth Peak, Pig’s Tail, Mount Birdwood, The Fist, and Mount Smuts
  • at the end of the valley, there are some small hills that are fun to ‘bumboggan’ or roll down once enough snow accumulates
  • an alternate trail that I have not done is up to Commonwealth Lake, but you have to be careful of avalanches during the winter season
  • this was one of the most glorious backcountry days we’ve ever had, and we had the trail to ourselves