Cranky Fitness: Hike Info


Reader Submitted Great Hikes:

Crabby asked readers to submit some favorite hikes, but she didn't really think through the fact that hikes need instructions.  And that if she included all the instructions, the blog post would be as long as a phone book.

So here are Descriptions and Further Instructions, if available, for each hike mentioned.  Crabby has not been on these, so if her smart readers are somehow mistaken and accidentally lead you into a bear cave or into a raging river or off a cliff, don't blame her.  Proceed at your own risk!

Crabby will just be lazy and copy emails pretty much verbatim.  (A little personal info has been deleted). If any of the writers of these submissions want them removed, just email Crabby at the address on her website.

Geosomin's recommendations: 

Prince Albert National Park – There is Waskesui as well as 4 main day hikes in the park: http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/sk/princealbert/activ/activ3_b_E.asp

One of the hikes is out to Grey Owl’s cabin, as well as a lot of other trails that are nice short hikes or full days (~40 Km). I can personally vouch for the Kingsmere and Waskesui trails and camping areas. The back country camping routes are great and a few places like Waskesui have canoe camping packages where you can spend 3 or 4 days out and canoe and camp. It’s amazing. Here’s a map to the hiking in the area: http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/sk/princealbert/visit/visit5_e.asp . If you’re feeling even braver you can drive a few hours further north from the park through LaRonge to Otter Lake/ Lake Missinipe -- the lodges up there have canoe and fishing packages that last for varying lengths. The Churchill River canoe company have some great holiday ideas whether it’s rentals or trips: http://www.churchillrivercanoe.com/

 Also…further south Cypress Hills Provincial Park: http://www.se.gov.sk.ca/saskparks/ParkInfo/parks/maps.asp?park=cypress%20hills .  There are so many different kinds of forests up there, a cliff (highest pint in the province), and even an area of the forest where all the trees grow crooked and strangely.

And there’s always Banff and Jasper in Alberta. Miles and miles of lovely mountain hikes there.

Leah's recommendations: 

The area where I live has some incredible hikes ranging form easy walks to earn -your-goat legs- damn-near-straight-up-in-places scrambles.
My recommendations are: Siffleur Falls along Highway 11 (aka David Thompson Highway). From the Banff Park boundary on Highway 11 go east for 21 km to the trail staging area. The trail is broad and well-used  and goes immediately down a bit, flat for a moment or two, then up slightly and then you have to cross a suspension bridge over the North Saskatchewan River.
There's boardwalk for a few hundred metres after the bridge then you're back on  the ground. Follow the main trail straight ahead and then cross the Siffleur River Bridge. This is about 2 km in and is about halfway to the first set of falls. Keep to the trail on the  right and go about another 2 km. You'll climb up a hill, but it's not too bad.  Soon you'll be walking in some lovely cool trees and then you see the Siffleur River and the falls up ahead. The canyon is steep and the lookouts are fenced.
I have sunned myself on the rocks. I in no way recommend you do this, I merely point out there are people who do.
The walk is fairly easy, very popular, and kid-friendly. The 8 km (five mile) round trip can be done in two hours.
There are other falls further down the trail but I've never ventured that far.
If you're coming from the east the staging area is 62 km west of Nordegg. There are plenty of campgrounds in the area including Two O'Clock Creek which is one km east of the staging area.
Siffleur is the French word for marmot.
 
I also like to do part of the Coral Creek hike. The staging area is just off Highway 11 36 km east of the Banff park gate or 47 km west of Nordegg. The trail is a hard-packed horse trail and very popular. There's a small stream to cross near the beginning, but it's very shallow and usually you can cross on rocks without getting wet. After about a half-hour of steady walking the trail goes right and  heads uphill through an evergreen forest.  This is regular walking at a normal, steady pace.
 
After about a half-hour of this you come out of the forest and see the mountain peaks to your left. This is a great place to rest and usually this is where we turn around.
 
The trail continues down to the creek, across the creek, through the bush, (bushwhacking required) and back up to a ridge where the books say you can see actual, embedded marine life. Never did that myself.
If you choose to not turn right another, thinner path goes straight ahead. It leads to the Cline River canyon. You can cut through the bush later and get back to the main trail if you like.
 
I could go on, but instead I recommend that anyone who comes to the area get a book called "The David Thompson Highway: A Hiking Guide" by Jane Ross and Daniel Kyba.
 
How to get there from known places:
 
From Banff go north on the Jasper-Banff Parkway to the Highway 11 turnoff. Turn right and head east bound.
From Jasper, head south on the Parkway to Highway 11 and turn left. The hiking guide is very likely available at Saskatchewan River Crossing on the Jasper-Banff Highway very close the Highway 11 turnoff.
If you are in Calgary or Edmonton follow Highway 2 ( aka the Queen Elizabeth Highway if you are leaving Edmonton) and head to Red Deer. Highway 11 heads west from Red Deer, through Rocky Mountain House (about an hour's drive from Red Deer) and on to Nordegg (about another hour). From there use the above-noted directions.
 

Christina's recommendations:

A little known campground called The Noligchucky Gorge Campground. The Noli is a river starting in NC ending up in TN. This particular campground is set right on the river with great views of the mountains. The AT (Appalachain Trail) runs within about 200 yards of the campground. I can't speak for the scenery on the trail because regrettably I never hiked that portion. I have driven up to the "put-in" for the upper section of the river and walked the train right-of-way. Although there is one scary bridge near the beginning of this hike (rail road ties over water) the rest of the hike is genuine pleasure. The river is visible for most of the hike. You can go 11.5 miles before joining the AT back near the campground, but I always preferred only going 2.5 miles to "Quarter Mile" rapid and then walking back to my car. This way I didn't need a shuttle to retrieve my vehicle. You will know when you are at Quarter Mile when the river gets really loud for about a quarter of a mile. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it on the huge boulders extending out into the river. Be sure to get to the campground for Sunday nite pot-luck and jam.  Bringing a  dish is not normally required but it is a nice gesture.  Some of the "locals" are regular participants of this event. 

 There is excellent fishing and Cherokee beach (a wide sandy spot on the river) about 1/4 mile upstream from the campground. Cherokee Beach is one of the local swimming holes on the river. Next door to the campground is a rafting company. Even for the unexperienced paddler the Noli is sure to provide you with a days worth of scenic views and a few thrills.  Separating the camp ground from the rafting company is a spring fed creek. This is where the tap water for the campground comes from. The water in the creek is soooo clean and cold. I can't say enough good things about this place. The campground offers pitch-a-tent camping, platform tent camping, and cabins ranging from rustic to cozy.  The noli is also about 1.25 hours from another section of the AT called The Virgina Creeper Trail. It runs from Damascus VA to Abingdon VA. I have walked this mild and very scenic trail on several occasions. It is also perfect for leisure (flat ground) biking and there are places to rent bikes for the day without having to run shuttle once you have completed the ride. 

 

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