AB Cen = Alberta Rockies Central (Banff & David Thompson) Cascade FR - ClubTread Community

User Tag List

 4Likes
  • 1 Post By zeljkok
  • 1 Post By zeljkok
  • 1 Post By zeljkok
  • 1 Post By zeljkok
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
zeljkok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Behind the Face Mask
Posts: 4,724
Default Cascade FR

Cascade Fireroad is one of most popular cross-country ski destinations in Banff vicinity. It starts near Lake Minnewanka and is usually trackset. Most elevation gain is in first ~2km, but it is very gentle and completely levels afterwards. Going is pleasant with occasional views of Cascade mountain. Around km 6 tracks descend briefly to the bridge over Cascade River -- this is usual turnaround point for shorter trips. Single track continued on the other side. I had time & decided to ski to Stoney Creek Ranger Cabin -- just past km 13. Going was more difficult as there was lots of debris from recent winds for next couple of kms, and it effectively slowed me down to walking pace. Around km 11 there was large sheet of ice that forced me to take skis off and bushwhack on the side. Finally just past km 13 side spur descends to Cascade River and Ranger cabin. Nobody was there so I indulged myself having tea and snack right on the porch -- I took good care I left everything spotless.

Tracks continued past Ranger cabin, for how long I don't know, but I'm guessing to the crossing of Stoney Creek ~1km further. Only few degrees below freezing and windless, mixed sun and cloud. Photo story:


Click image for larger version

Name:	minnewankadown.jpg
Views:	881
Size:	1.75 MB
ID:	190865
[Skiing down old Minnewanka Road with great views of Cascade Mountain. Fireroad start is visible just right of center of photo]

[Bridge just after 6km mark. Single track continued on the other side (Pic from last year)]


Click image for larger version

Name:	rangercabin1.jpg
Views:	333
Size:	1.82 MB
ID:	190857
[Stoney Ranger Creek Cabin. Very nice and open spot with great views]

Click image for larger version

Name:	elaphus.jpg
Views:	341
Size:	2.13 MB
ID:	190873
[Zoom on North end of Cascade Mountain from Cabin porch. Elaphus Mtn is to the right, and not in picture]

Full report with much more high-res photos and usual map & GPS data here

Finally, I am not entirely clear about the need for National Parks ranger cabin at this spot - perhaps somebody knows more?
martin likes this.

Last edited by zeljkok; 05-19-2021 at 05:42 PM.
zeljkok is online now  
Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 07:40 PM
Headed for the Mountains
 
PhilR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Canmore, AB
Interest: Being outside! Hiking, Scrambling, Trail running
Posts: 312
Default

Elaphus looks straightforward from that angle, except for the river, I guess.
PhilR is offline  
post #3 of (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
zeljkok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Behind the Face Mask
Posts: 4,724
Default

yes; thought has crossed my mind. Here's pic of Cascade River looking across. Certainly doesn't look like much, but I think there would be some non-trivial bushwhack on the other side. Could be interesting as summer trip as road can be cycled.

Made me go and look at Vern' site being almost certain he did it, but nope
Attached Images
 

Last edited by zeljkok; 01-23-2017 at 09:50 PM.
zeljkok is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 09:30 PM
Headed for the Mountains
 
PhilR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Canmore, AB
Interest: Being outside! Hiking, Scrambling, Trail running
Posts: 312
Default

Yeah, that access road is rather inviting to get you in there fast. Can you bike all the way to that cabin?

Bushwhacking is FUN!
PhilR is offline  
post #5 of (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
zeljkok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Behind the Face Mask
Posts: 4,724
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilR View Post
Yeah, that access road is rather inviting to get you in there fast. Can you bike all the way to that cabin?
For sure; its wide and gentle. Probably about an hour of cycling to ranger cabin (~13km)

I also believe they do guided horse-back riding there in summer; there were horse corals close to warden cabin

Last edited by zeljkok; 01-23-2017 at 09:51 PM.
zeljkok is online now  
post #6 of (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
zeljkok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Behind the Face Mask
Posts: 4,724
Default

actually I think I got it wrong; Peak on pic in main TR is not Elaphus, but north end of Cascade. Elaphus is almost in line with Stoney cabin (red pin on my GPS track) & not in photos. See below. For Elaphus you'd probably cycle to bridge over Stoney creek 1km past the cabin, then head across. Looks shorter too, wouldn't be surprised to learn there are cairns.
Attached Images
 
PhilR likes this.
zeljkok is online now  
post #7 of (permalink) Old 05-19-2021, 02:39 AM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
zeljkok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Behind the Face Mask
Posts: 4,724
Default

Mid May '21


I was not going to do this. Every Monday in May Lake Minnewanka road is closed for car traffic; I was licking my chops for an easy paved loop ride. Parked at Cascade Ponds and happily started cycling. And then on a whim passing Upper Bankhead turned left and up to parking lot and official start of Cascade FR. Unclear yet what to do at first I though I'd just cycle for ~1km where winter x-country ski route joins in, then cycle back to the road. But this is the problem with my trips (and main reason why I prefer to go alone) -- there is always that "let's just see what is behind next corner". And then I was cycling up the FR, being certain I'd turn back at Cascade Bridge (~6km in). And then - let's go just for a bit more. And so on, you get the drill -- I ended up at Stoney creek bridge and end of cycling trail ~14km in from Minnewanka road. Pics from this part:


Click image for larger version

Name:	cascadebridgebike.jpg
Views:	5
Size:	881.8 KB
ID:	285996
[Cascade Bridge; it is well worth getting of the bike here as it is quite scenic. Official Parks campground CR6 is at the other side of the bridge, and is quite lovely - although I don't think many camp there]

Click image for larger version

Name:	artifact.jpg
Views:	6
Size:	869.3 KB
ID:	286002
[This was at the other side of the bridge -- I am not sure what this is. If someone does, please let me know]

Click image for larger version

Name:	yogipaw.jpg
Views:	8
Size:	926.0 KB
ID:	286004
[Cascade FR valley is wildlife corridor. In the past I've seen cougar, wolf tracks - and now this. Road was bit muddy at this point and this was going for couple of km, in the direction where I was cycling in. It was fresh too. I started yelling and making lots of noise at this point, but kept going]

Click image for larger version

Name:	junctiontable.jpg
Views:	10
Size:	705.7 KB
ID:	286012
[Parks table at junction of Elk Pass trail and Cascade FR, ~1km past Ranger Cabin (see top of this thread, XC ski trip, for pics of that area]

Click image for larger version

Name:	bikesign.jpg
Views:	10
Size:	901.7 KB
ID:	285998
[There is something hilarious about this photo But I assure you, there was no transgression; this is where cycling stops, and this is what sign tells you. Stoney bridge is ~100m away and I walked that part]



At this point it was quite clear "Minnewanka loop ride" will be left for another time, so I decided to go exploring a bit. First I went to Stoney Creek bridge; it collapsed and was rebuilt. This area is quite ravaged from the floods; there is supposed to be CR15 campground on the other side but I believe it is now gone. Then I decided to hike down Elk Pass trail to check out Cascade River ford. In the past I hiked Elk Pass from Norquay; in was out-and-back, but if you continue from Elk Pass for another ~8km you'd come right here. So loop of a sort is possible, but obstacle is Cascade river. It is only about half a km, passing old collapsed bridge in serious state of decay along the way. Then reaching Cascade River I could see where Elk Pass trail continues on the other side, but ford was far from trivial. Far side looked quite serious. I walked a bit up and down the river but there was no apparent easier spot. I'd not want to do this in the spring; mid to late August is probably the right time. Few pics:


Click image for larger version

Name:	stoneynewbridge.jpg
Views:	8
Size:	839.7 KB
ID:	286008
[Stoney Creek bridge, from the other side. Trail becomes quite faint here but I didn't go further]

Click image for larger version

Name:	stoneyconcrete.jpg
Views:	10
Size:	865.0 KB
ID:	286010
[Concrete foundation of old collapsed bridge, just lying there]

Click image for larger version

Name:	stoneyoldbridge.jpg
Views:	14
Size:	951.8 KB
ID:	286006
[Old decaying bridge on dry channel of Stoney creek, already on Elk Pass trail]

Click image for larger version

Name:	cascadeford.jpg
Views:	10
Size:	855.2 KB
ID:	286020
[Cascade River ford. Thank you, not this time]

Click image for larger version

Name:	confluence.jpg
Views:	10
Size:	795.7 KB
ID:	286018
[Confluence of Cascade River (L) and Stoney Creek (R)]

Click image for larger version

Name:	elaphus.jpg
Views:	10
Size:	760.2 KB
ID:	286016
[Mt. Elaphus. It is non-technical ascent, but you must ford Cascade River first (unless you want to approach from Norquay side). There is even faint trail that brings you to treeline, branching off Elk Pass Trail ~1.5km past Cascade ford]

Click image for larger version

Name:	beer.jpg
Views:	115
Size:	694.7 KB
ID:	286000
[I was going to drink this sitting at Two Jack lake Adirondack chairs, but it tasted just as well by Cascade River. Cheers Spectrum!]


Return was twice as fast. Funny thing is, cycling in I did not even notice steady elevation gain. Coming back it was mostly coasting and heck of a ride. Think it took me almost 2 hrs (from Cascade Ponds) going in, but less than an hour going back. Last 2km before Minnewanka road was a riot *** zoom *** burn the brakes. I am not much of MTB cyclist, but sure as heck enjoyed this. Pics:

Click image for larger version

Name:	frride.jpg
Views:	8
Size:	804.0 KB
ID:	286014
[Typical section; push the pedals and yell]

Click image for larger version

Name:	cascadebridgesunset.jpg
Views:	8
Size:	734.6 KB
ID:	286022
[Storm passed by and sun breaking through clouds already back at Cascade Bridge]


Finally now that I've been here several times: Cascade FR is NOT a hiking destination, but it is quite nice as XC Ski or Mountain Bike trip and I recommend it as such. What lies further? Few people ever venture past Stoney Creek bridge, and solitude would be guaranteed. One could even do multi-day crossing from Minnewanka to Ya-Ha-Tinda, although transport logistics would be serious.

I might come back later in August to give Elaphus a shot. Now that I know where to go I estimate 8-9 hr day (3 hr cycling max, 5-6 hr hiking incl. breaks. Stay tuned.
samdk likes this.
zeljkok is online now  
post #8 of (permalink) Old 05-19-2021, 07:52 PM
Hittin' the Trails
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 3
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeljkok View Post
Mid May '21


I was not going to do this. Every Monday in May Lake Minnewanka road is closed for car traffic; I was licking my chops for an easy paved loop ride. Parked at Cascade Ponds and happily started cycling. And then on a whim passing Upper Bankhead turned left and up to parking lot and official start of Cascade FR. Unclear yet what to do at first I though I'd just cycle for ~1km where winter x-country ski route joins in, then cycle back to the road. But this is the problem with my trips (and main reason why I prefer to go alone) -- there is always that "let's just see what is behind next corner". And then I was cycling up the FR, being certain I'd turn back at Cascade Bridge (~6km in). And then - let's go just for a bit more. And so on, you get the drill -- I ended up at Stoney creek bridge and end of cycling trail ~14km in from Minnewanka road. Pics from this part:
Nice report! Nice having a relatively direct and bikeable access to peaks in the area like Elaphus.

This area is on my list this summer--I always like following old fire and logging roads and checking out the various states of reclamation en route... ofc until the alders start.
samdk is offline  
post #9 of (permalink) Old 05-20-2021, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
zeljkok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Behind the Face Mask
Posts: 4,724
Default

Besides xc-ski and MTB, Cascade FR sees equestrian use so reclamation won't be prevalent; plus there is that ranger cabin by Stony creek. Lots of exploration can be made further north; over to Flints park along Cascade, or Dormer Pass following Stony creek. There are some non-technical peaks there too -- Flints, Panther etc. It is not "Icefields spectacular", more like Foothills but still interesting enough. You have to backpack though, and cycling Cascade FR with overnight pack is probably not too pleasant


If I could solve transportation problems (incl. "abandoned" bike at Stony Creek junction) I might do at some point Cascade -- Elk Pass loop (start at Minnewanka, end at Norquay). Feasible as (long) day hike without trail running.
samdk likes this.
zeljkok is online now  
Reply

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome
 

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.1