On Friday we headed west of Bragg Creek to the Fullerton Loop trail and beyond to Rangers Ridge, hiking a total of 12 to 13 km with a little over 300 meters elevation gain. Parking is at the Allen Bill Pond day use area off Highway 66. Leaving from the northeast end of the parking lot, follow the trail under the Highway 66 bridge and then enjoy the short walk beside the Elbow River to the Fullerton Loop trailhead. Some short sections beside the river were damaged in the late May / early June flooding, but we didn’t have any problems walking on these stony sections.
We chose to take the west arm of Fullerton Loop; although steeper than the counterclockwise route, this is the arm with a couple of caches hidden along the way. There is a half-kilometer section where you gain most of your elevation, but since you’re walking near the edge of a shelf, you can distract yourself with the very nice views up the Elbow River valley to the west.
After a quick stop to find Fullerton Loop, we left the well-established trail at the top of the loop to head up Rangers Ridge. BVPETE includes some useful child waypoints in his The Ranger’s Outhouse cache write-up and there are faint game trails to assist with the way-finding. We enjoyed traversing a large, but very steep meadow and spotted 6 or 8 different types of wildflowers in bloom. There is a total of 3 geocaches up this way and after finding the last one, we retraced our steps back to the Fullerton Loop trail where we descended via the same route we took up. Although we haven’t hiked the east arm, our guess is that the views are better to the west.
Just past where the two arms of the loop join together we headed northeast a short ways along Elbow Trail. But we soon had to abandon the main track and take to game trails and bushwhacking as we made our way to SnowWalker’s Elbow Bluff. The nice views from this bluff make the less than 1 km detour well worth the effort.
And finally, after crossing back under the highway we split up, with Mr. GeoK headed up another bluff to find Allen Bill Pond Viewpoint while Mrs. GeoK walked the trails at Allen Bill Pond in search of one last find. After completing his assignment Mr. GeoK went cross country to collect one more smiley for a day’s total of 9. WARNING – the mosquitos are out in full force, so be sure to pack your DEET!