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Spencer Creek Hike

Where:

  • Spencer Creek

 

When:

  • October 31, 2020

 

Who:

  • Ed, Jace, An, Geoff, Lynn, Bailey, Craig, Ian, Keri, Tomonori, Rod, Shonda, Bauer, Todd, Kellie, Angela, Mike, Jane, Luna, Mike, Brenda, Peter, Lisa, Michael, Django, Ken, Stacie

 

Trailhead:

  • the trailhead is on the Spray Lakes Road and is 16 km south of the Goat Creek parking lot, and 4.4 km south of the Driftwood parking lot
  • the trailhead is not marked, and this trail is not in the guide books or on the trail maps
  • look for a large washed out creek bed on the left (east) side of the road and the trail is on the left side of the creek bed
  • if you get to the Sparrowhawk parking lot you have gone too far, so retreat 2 km back towards Canmore

 

 

Degree of difficulty:

  • 600 meters of elevation gain and 9 km distance if you go all the way to the end of the valley
  • the trail is fairly moderate and well marked and maintained despite not being a well-known trail
  • after a short distance (350 meters), the trail crosses the High Rockies biking trail, so be careful to continue up the valley and be careful on the return voyage to not turn onto the biking trail (this was the second time that we had folks miss this turn and we had to send out search parties in the three directions to find them as they had gone all the way down to Sparrowhawk and then walked back on the road)
  • there are a few shorts climbs and some portions of the trail that are on a narrow path along steeper sections of the creekbed where one needs to be watching the trail and not the beautiful scenery, especially in the slippery winter conditions
  • near the end of the valley, the footing is tricky along the creek, and there are two creekbed crossings that are more challenging at this time of the year due to the flow of the creek from the runoff (we only went across the first one)
  • you need to be careful to cross in the correct spots, which are marked with rock piles
  • the hike took us 3.5 hours, and we moved at a fairly leisurely pace

 

 

Interesting notes:

  • Spencer Creek is majestically flanked by the majestic Mt. Lougheed range to the north, Wind Mountain to the East, and the Sparrowhawk range to the south
  • the trail was initially built for scramblers to gain access to Mt. Lougheed and this appears to be the reason that it is not an official trail
  • near the start of the hike, there is a moss area with a gentle creek running thru it that is one of the most beautiful features of any hike I have ever done, especially if the sun is shining thru the trees which it was on the return voyage
  • the views are very impressive for most of the hike, and the U shaped valley at the end is very picturesque
  • our typical summer lunch spot is at the end of the valley on the left-hand side, where a beautiful waterfall is nestled into the mountain (on this day, we stopped about a half km short of the end of the valley due to the slippery and deep snow conditions)