The Trap Creek Valley - SEPTEMBER 1996
The Trap Creek Valley is situated in the Highwood Range of the "Great Divide" and is the most easterly range of mountains before the prairies of Alberta.
It takes approximately 1 hour to drive from Calgary to the trail we took to get into the valley. We had to climb one of the foothills to cross over from the
Highwood Valley into the Trap Creek Valley. The weather was clear and beautiful for the start of this trip. It was about a 4 hour horseback ride to get to
the area we were planning on camping in.
Once we were over this pass the trails followed the creeks and valley bottoms. Where we set up camp was in the middle of several areas to ride into, just
off the creek in a quiet meadow. From camp we were able to ride up on top of the ridge overlooking the Sullivan Creek / Coal Creek headwaters, or
around the peaks to a ridge overlooking the Trap Creek Headwaters. Our other choice was to go up the valley, past Trap Creek, to the west where there
is a small lake in a high mountain basin.
The first day we rode up to a summit overlooking the Sullivan / Coal Creeks Headwaters and then around the ridge to overlook the Trap Creek basin. We
then climbed down off the ridge on a narrow trail to the bottom of the trap creek valley and did some exploring. On the Sunday we rode to the far side of
the Sullivan / Coal Creek Drainage to the slopes of Junction Mountain. These high basins and valleys are green and plush and then they fade into rock as the
elevation gets higher. From here we could actually see Calgary in the distance. Monday was our only day of bad weather. The clouds rolled in on us as we
went up the Trap Creek Headwaters, and visibility was extremely poor. There was only a moderate bit of rain though so the day was still pleasant. We
rode and climbed into most of the high little hanging valleys looking for Rams. It was spectacular to ride and climb to the base of the cliffs in these mountains.
We had decided Monday night that we would ride out on Tuesday. The weather was overcast all day Monday and there would be no point in riding up to
the lake since visibility was so poor. When we woke up Tuesday morning it was clear and beautiful, so we looked at each other and decided to stay
another day and ride to the lake. The basins we rode into were incredible. The valley bottom was dry and semi-arid and then we rode into the basins. They
were like a tropical rain forest! Right at tree line and the base of the cliffs yet incredibly lush and green.
Looking up to the last basin we climbed into, we could
see a narrow sheep trail in the scree slope which was to
be our way into the basin. We walked along this trail into
the basin and then climbed almost to the peaks. Where
we were standing, at the base of the peak, had taken us
about 6 hours to get to from our camp. We had ridden
for about 3 or 4 hours to get into the lake, and then
climbed up the slopes of the mountain to get to this point.
We rode back to camp and then packed up on
Wednesday and rode out. We finally got home about 7
PM. Over all the trip was spectacular and extremely
These areas of the mountains are accessible from Calgary by either horse,
mountain bike, or even backpacking. The advantage of horses is you are able to
pack in much more and have a more comfortable camp.
More pics of the
Trap Creek Trip