Yarrow Canyon

Pincher Creek, Alberta

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3 Reviews
3 out of 5
Yarrow Canyon-it's an exciting name that conjures up images of hidden treasures and secret places. From an inauspicious beginning on a gravel road leading to a gas compressor station, to its terminus at the foot of an alpine waterfall, Yarrow Canyon is full of beautiful places. The scenery is typical of the southern Rockies; the flat-lying strata are very colourful with the steel blue basalts of the Purcell lava flow surrounded by red and green argillites. In addition many of the cliffs are covered by lush plant growth induced by high rainfall. Unfortunately, you will have to share it with the rude sounds of the gas compressor and with a bunch of rambunctious cows. The gate at the start of the trip brings good news: motorized traffic is restricted beyond this point. A short stretch of gravel road leads past the gate to the gas wells and compressor station. Beyond the wells the trail is doubletrack and singletrack riding all the way to the head of the valley. There are no fords—that’s right folks, it’s a dry-feet trip and the trail surface is gravel and rock, unlikely to become muddy in any weather. The trail climbs steadily but, with only a few steep sections, pushing is minimal. It then wanders along the timberline, passes a small lake, and ends at a camping spot beside a beautiful waterfall.

Yarrow Canyon Professional Review and Guide

"Yarrow Canyon-it's an exciting name that conjures up images of hidden treasures and secret places. From an inauspicious beginning on a gravel road leading to a gas compressor station, to its terminus at the foot of an alpine waterfall, Yarrow Canyon is full of beautiful places. The scenery is typical of the southern Rockies; the flat-lying strata are very colourful with the steel blue basalts of the Purcell lava flow surrounded by red and green argillites. In addition many of the cliffs are covered by lush plant growth induced by high rainfall. Unfortunately, you will have to share it with the rude sounds of the gas compressor and with a bunch of rambunctious cows.

The gate at the start of the trip brings good news: motorized traffic is restricted beyond this point. A short stretch of gravel road leads past the gate to the gas wells and compressor station. Beyond the wells the trail is doubletrack and singletrack riding all the way to the head of the valley. There are no fords—that’s right folks, it’s a dry-feet trip and the trail surface is gravel and rock, unlikely to become muddy in any weather. The trail climbs steadily but, with only a few steep sections, pushing is minimal. It then wanders along the timberline, passes a small lake, and ends at a camping spot beside a beautiful waterfall."

Activity Type: Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Pincher Creek
Distance: 25
Elevation Gain: 1,641 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Technical Difficulty: Moderate
Physical Difficulty: Difficult
Duration: 4-5 hours
Season: mid-June to mid-October
Trailhead Elevation: 4,922 feet
Top Elevation: 6,562 feet
Local Contacts: Alberta Forest Service, Rocky Mountain House 403-845-8272
Local Maps: Sage Creek, Waterton Lakes
Driving Directions: Directions to Yarrow Canyon

Recent Trail Reviews

2/20/2009
0

would anyone mind posting who i should contact for permission to drive there and park at the yarrow canyon trailhead? Or my email is b_twardoski@hotmail.com thanks


6/1/2006
0

NOTE: This trail is not 24 total miles. The 20.4 km in the guide book is the total distance, not one-way (although you might have to tack on 6 km because the trailhead is inaccessible, see below). I didn't understand the previous comment until I tried to get to the trailhead. The locked gate (with the no trespassing sign) is 3km BEFORE the indicated trailhead. I parked at the gate (even though there was a key in the lock), ignored the no trespassing sign and tacked 3 more km of gravel road onto my ride. After the compressor station, the road splits and continues up both sides of Yarrow creek and it would have been nice if the trail description was more explicit about staying on the right/north side. I admit I didn't wait until mid-June, but I seriously doubt this would be a "dry-feet trip" until much later in the season. It's true you don't have to ford Yarrow creek, but there are several smaller streams coming down and crossing (or sometimes taking over) the trail. I don't know if it's because it's still early in the season or if it's because the trail isn't used much anymore (because of the gate and the sign), but there were quite a few trees across the trail. It seemed like I was continuously getting off my bike to go around or over some obstacle. I was just on an evening ride and didn't make it all the way to the head of the valley. The scenery was beautiful, but every time I stopped to enjoy it, I was swarmed by mosquitoes. The ride out was pretty fast and quite enjoyable.


8/21/2005
0

I just drove down to the trail head but did not ride the trail. Your trailhead is on private property but if you continue down the gravel road to the end of it you can park and just ride down from there and catch up to the trail. I didn't have time to ride the trail. You need permission to ride the road on private property. Be sure and check out the pasture to the right of the gravel road--there are usually some buffalo grazing there.



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May 2018