Upper Elk Valley (Elkford to Banff via Elk Pass)

Map Legend & Disclaimer

Note that you can click on each object on the map to obtain details about it.

Trans Canada Trail Legend:

Trans Canada Trail Pavilion
Multi-Use Route (Cycling & Walking)
Hiking Only Route (No Cycling)
Equestrian Route (May Allow Cyclists/Walkers)
Paddling/Water Route
Temporary Bypass or Unofficial TCT Route
Trans Canada Trail Closed
Obstacle or Warning (click it for details)

Alternate Route Legend:

Alternate Route for Cyclists & Walkers
Alternate Route for Hiking
Alternate Route for Equestrians
Connection Point to the Trans Canada Trail

Google Maps Legend:

Map menu to access highlights, campsites, grocery stores, parking areas, toilets and more!
Click the grey star at the top of the map to favourite it in Google Maps, so you can pull it up later in your Google Maps app's "My Places".

Disclaimer: This trail information is subject to changes. While reasonable effort has been made to ensure that the information on this site is correct, Trails BC makes no warranty about the accuracy of this information and accepts no liability for any inconvenience or any direct or consequential loss arising from reliance upon this information. Be sure to check our Latest Trail Closures before heading out and read our full disclaimer!.

Please contact Trails BC if you require in-depth trail knowledge or have suggestions or corrections. Support us by becoming a member or donating funds!

GPS Downloads

  • KML/KMZ files can be opened in Google Earth, and many smartphone apps.
  • GPX files can be opened by most GPS software apps when KMZ cannot. Note, GPX files do not contain custom colours and icons that we use on our maps; all tracks and icons will appear the same colour and styles. We recommend using KMZ instead of GPX if possible.

The files below include data for only this specific area. For all of our Trans Canada Trail data for the entire province (including features, campsites and alternate routes), download our BC.kmz master file (1.2 MB)

Visit our GPS & Navigation page for instructions of how to use your smartphone as a GPS device (even when outside of data coverage) or how to import data to your Garmin unit.

About the Route: 

Travelling north from Elkford, the Trans Canada Trail remains a gap within the town limits as trail development and improvements get underway in 2017. From the northern limit of town (at "Crossing Creek" or "Round Prairie" depending on who you ask) the route is designated and ready to take you north to Alberta; it simply follows the Elk Valley Highway.

An alternate route for the truly adventurous crosses the Elk River at Round Prairie, and follows a powerline service road for about 18 km before rejoining the main road. This route lies on privately owned land so we can't provide a recommendation for it, but we have many stories by those who have tried it. One note of caution lies Alridge Creek, about 10.5 km north of Round Prairie; this requires travellers to ford the water. It is possible to cross in late summer as the water subsides, but we do not recommend attempting to cross in spring or early summer - the water is fast, cold, and help is far away. Backtracking to the highway adds a considerable distance to your journey, so consider your options before leaving civilization!

The road continues to Elk Lakes Provincial Park, and once in the park, travellers can follow the powerline trail as it continues north through the park, reaching the Alberta border and continental divide. From here, the trail is being developed by our Albertan friends and will continue to Banff through "Kananaskis country" in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.

Many of the road connections used in this area are Forest Service Roads, maintained by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations. Visit their Roads and Bridge Works page if unsure about the current status of a road along your route.

  • Trail Section near Round Prairie
  • Riding the Upper Elk Valley
  • Riding down from Elk Pass
  • Riding down towards Sparwood
  • Tobermory Old Ranger's Cabin
  • Elk Pass!

Trail Highlights and Developments: 

The route into Elk Pass is a remote and challenging journey, and travellers should be self sufficient and be prepared to turn back if necessary due to the topography, lack of roads and possibility of washed out bridges. Be sure to check in with the Elkford visitor centre for updates about road and trail conditions. Spring floods create closures from time to time. Two alternate routes to Alberta are:

  • East from Sparwood on Highway 3 over Crowsnest Pass. North on Highway 40 (Alberta) will bring you to Upper Kananaskis Lake, just north of Elk Pass
  • Detour the entire Elk Valley using Highway 93 from Cranbrook north to the Bow Valley and Trans Canada Highway. The Bow Valley parkway will provide some respite from the busy TCH traffic but is better used in the morning or evening when traffic is lower. There is no shoulder - consider riding when the sun is at your back (westbound in morning, eastbound in evening) so passing drivers will have better visibility

About the Gaps: 

The route close to "downtown" Elkford north is a gap and will follow existing trails that require some improvement. The Trans Canada Trail Foundation is working with the city of Elkford as well as Ministry of Forests - contact Trails BC if you can help.

Public Washrooms

Outhouses can be found at the various campsites along the way.

Accommodations

There are no formal accomodations along this portion of the route, except for within the city of Elkford. Numerous campsites are available north of Elkford at designated provincial forestry recreation sites marked on our maps.

Shopping & Provisions

Provisions available in Elkford.

Report a Trail Closure

ONLY USE THIS FORM TO REPORT CLOSURES ON THE TRANS CANADA TRAIL / THE GREAT TRAIL.

Trail maintenance issues are the responsibility of the Trail Steward, which is either the trail owner or a group given authorization to perform maintenance work. Trails BC is a trail steward for a very limited number of trail segments on the Trans Canada Trail; unfortunately, if a major trail issue occurs along the Trans Canada Trail, there is often very little we can do about it - but we can try to pass on the information to the trail steward, if one exists.

Information such as a precise location (GPS waypoint), photo, as well as your contact information is extremely helpful to ensure the problem is accurately reported.

AGAIN, DO NOT USE THIS FORM TO SUBMIT NOTICES ABOUT TRAILS THAT ARE NOT PART OF THE TRANS CANADA TRAIL. We will simply delete the submission and it will not be posted or passed on to anyone. If you need to report a closure on such a trail, please determine the trail owner or operator and send a notice to them.

Would it be unwise to continue through the closure or blockage? You may add more detail in your report.
Please enter your trail closure report. Include a GPS location or a detailed description of its precise location.
JPG format only, 3 MB max. You must click "upload" after selecting file.
If the blockage/closure can be bypassed, please include your recommended route to do so!