Location: Sheep River Provincial Park
Length: 5 km one way (10 in total)
Time: 4 – 5 hrs
Elevation Gain: 210 m / 700 ft
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate (water crossing)
What I liked best about this hike was the fact that it’s not very popular. We did the entire hike without seeing another person! We had to use a stick to get spider webs out of the way and the only tracks we saw were about a week or so old. So if you are looking for a trek that isn’t very busy, this could be one to consider. The trail starts west of Turner Valley on Highway 546 in the Gorge Creek Trail parking lot.
It starts off heading west through meadows and lightly wooded areas with beautiful wildflowers and a bridge that crosses a small creek. When you get to the fork go left to get on the South Gorge Creek Trail rather than the Gorge Creek Trail. You’ll come to a slope above the creek where you will have to make a crossing. Be prepared to get your boots wet (not ideal) or hop your way across on the rocks. Be aware, it’s a fast paced creek and the rocks can be slippery so take it slow and help your friends.
Once across the trail leads up to a cattle gate and then into the trees, a relief on a hot day! The trail is fairly thin and not used as often as other trails, so pay attention so you dont wander off it. You will wind your way through gorgeous pines and aspens that occasionally open up to a meadow area or marsh. There is one really boggy area but we managed to get through with dry boots so you should be fine, it was really short.
The elevation gain is hardly noticeable so this hike is great for most fitness levels. With less people on the trail you are more likely to see animals so bring bear spray and stay alert. We saw some big horn sheep in the area and found scat from bears, coyotes and multiple ungulates. We followed the trail and turned back where it joins up with the Indian Oils Trail, but for a longer trip you can join that trail and head back on the Gorge Creek Trail to make a loop. On our way back we stopped at the creek below the falls of Gorge Creek and dipped our feet in the icy water, a great end to a wonderful hike!