FRMA Trails

Click on the links to access detailed information of trail, including the length, difficulty, appropriate use, and directions on how to get there. You can obtain a map of the approximate trailhead locations or select a link on the left to download a trail brochure.

Bighorn Trail

This trail was built in the early 1900s by the Dominion of Canada Forestry Service as a pack trail to patrol the forested areas along the eastern slopes. It had a telegraph line along it to link the forestry cabins along the route. Old telegraph line insulators can still be seen along the trail. On some old maps, this ridge is called the High Divide Ridge, but it has now come to be known as the Bighorn Ridge.

From the kiosk at the northern trailhead on the Cold Creek Road, the hike begins at 1169 metres (3800 feet). It quickly rises to 1692 metres (5500 feet) over the first six kilometres while passing through mature forest, mostly spruce and mixed wood. Once the ridge top is reached, the trail is gently undulating, maintaining the same elevation for ten to twelve kilometres. The forest here is mainly mature lodgepole pine.

This section is very scenic, offering beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains all along the trail. The trail then descends gradually to the Gregg River valley that lies at an elevation of 1292 metres (4200 feet), passing through various ages of cut blocks and mature residual forests along the way. The last two kilometres of the trail follows along the Gregg River, ending at the bridge at kilometre thirty-eight on the Gregg River Road. It's located about two kilometres northeast of the Gregg Cabin Recreation Area. The horse trail leaves the hiking trail and fords the Gregg River, rather than following it to the bridge.

The Bighorn Trail is approximately 20 kilometres long and can be hiked in one or two days. If you're an active hiker, you'll be able to finish the trip in eight hours with ample time for viewing, rest stops, photography and lunch. The trail is accessible from both ends by all-weather roads, but it is easier to find from the north end. The trail can also be mountain biked by experienced riders in one day and is considered a spectacular ride.

This trail was significantly upgraded in 2001, with a new trail map, "You are Here" signs, trail upgrade, and various other improvements to the trail.

How to Get There: When travelling west from Edmonton, at the first set of lights coming into the town of Hinton, turn left (Switzer Drive). Follow Switzer Drive for approximately 1 kilometre to the next set of lights (Robb Road). Turn right. Robb road is an active logging/hauling road. Drive with extreme caution (please review our “Exploring Managed Forest Lands" section).

Follow the Robb Road (also known as the "R" road) for approximately 3.5 kilometres to the intersection with the Cold Creek Road (also called the "T" road). Turn right onto the Cold Creek road travelling about 500 metres until the trailhead parking is found on the left.

Maintenance: This trail is maintained by FRMA but should be considered a wilderness trail. Maintenance includes a complete walkthrough in the spring to address any major issues such as blowdown and washouts. FRMA has sub-contracted the maintenance of the trail to Fox Creek Development Association, an aboriginal owned company located in Hinton, with a long working relationship with Hinton Wood Products. If you find any significant issues with trail maintenance, please contact Fox Creek at 780-865-2154.

Appropriate Use: The Bighorn Trail is a hiking, horseback riding, or mountain biking trail. If mountain biking, please note experienced riders should only ride the trail. It's singletrack and considered technical riding. Off-highway vehicles (quads) are strictly prohibited from using this trail. People using the trail should be appropriately prepared, as it’s a long trail in a wilderness setting.

Canyon Creek Trail

This scenic hiking trail is a three-kilometre loop that follows along the sides of Canyon Creek, offering spectacular views of the canyon walls and hoodoos along the creek. The trail continues to the Athabasca River, and the return trail goes back up the creek on the other side. There is a picnic table at the end of the trail beside the river. Situated along the way are two impromptu picnic sites and a swimming hole. The trail is in good shape and is generally easy to follow. The elevation change is from 1050 metres at the trailhead to 950 metres at the river. The trail travels through mixed wood stands, and it's an excellent family hike.

How to Get There: From Highway 16, turn north (right if travelling from Edmonton) onto Switzer Drive (this is the first exit into Hinton when travelling from Edmonton or the easternmost exit when travelling from Jasper). Continue down Switzer Drive until reaching a T-intersection (approximately 1 kilometre). Turn right. Follow this road for about 500 metres and take the first left (onto a large, well-maintained gravel road). This road travels down and crosses the Athabasca River. Just before crossing the Athabasca River Bridge, you will be on an active logging/hauling road. Drive with extreme caution (please review our “Exploring Managed Forest Lands" section).

After crossing the Athabasca River Bridge, you’ll be on the Willow Road (also called the "W" road). Follow the "W" road for approximately 4 kilometres (signs are posted on the side of the road), until an intersection on the right side of the road is reached at the "W9" km sign. It's called the Emerson Creek Road (also known as the "A" road). Turn right here and travel for approximately 9.5 kilometres (just past the "A" 18-kilometre road sign) and then look for the parking for the Canyon Creek trail on the right side of the road.

Maintenance: FRMA maintains this trail. Maintenance includes a complete walkthrough in the spring to address any major issues such as blowdown and washouts. FRMA has sub-contracted the maintenance of the trail to Fox Creek Development Association, an aboriginal owned company located in Hinton, with a long working relationship with Hinton Wood Products. If you find any significant issues with trail maintenance, please contact Fox Creek at 780 865-2154.

Appropriate Use: The Canyon Creek Trail is a hiking trail for people with moderate hiking ability. The trail descends 100 metres down one side of Canyon Creek to the Athabasca River than ascends back up the other side. It's also a good mountain bike trail. There are off-highway vehicle (quad) trails in the area. However, their use is discouraged on the Canyon Creek trail. There’s fishing for eastern brook trout, rainbow trout, whitefish, and bull trout in the Athabasca River as well as Canyon Creek.

The Emerson Lakes Trail System

The Emerson Lakes Trail System, found in Sundance Provincial Park, consists of seven clear blue lakes separated by high "eskers." The bodies of water that make up Emerson Lakes are called "ice depositional lakes." As the glacier was melting and receding into the mountains, giant blocks of ice broke off the main glacier and were left behind. As the glacier meltwater flowed around the blocks of ice, sediment was deposited, raising the land around the blocks of ice to the height you see today - these features are called "eskers." The ice blocks eventually melted, leaving the depressions for the beautiful waters of Emerson Lakes. The trail system follows the eskers and winds around four of the lakes. The elevation of the lakes is just under 1000 metres, and the trails vary from 1000 metres to 1100 metres. Three loops total eight kilometres in length. These trails are suitable for a day hike. The lakes are periodically stocked with eastern brook trout.

How to Get There: From Highway 16, turn north (right if travelling from Edmonton) onto Switzer Drive (this is the first exit into Hinton when travelling from Edmonton or the easternmost exit when travelling from Jasper). Continue down Switzer Drive until reaching a T-intersection (approximately 1 kilometre). Turn right. Follow this road for about 500 metres and take the first left (onto a large, well-maintained gravel road). This road travels down and crosses the Athabasca River. Just before crossing the Athabasca River Bridge, you will be on an active logging/hauling road. Drive with extreme caution (please review our “Exploring Managed Forest Lands" section).

After crossing the Athabasca River Bridge, you will be on the Willow Road (also called the "W" road). Follow the "W" road for approximately 4 kilometres (kilometre signs are posted on the side of the road), until an intersection on the right side of the road is reached at the "W9" km sign. It's called is the Emerson Creek Road (also known as the "A" road). Turn right here and travel for approximately 44 kilometres (the "A" 53-kilometre road sign) and then look for signs indicating the turnoff to Emerson Lake campground. The trail starts at the campground.

Maintenance: FRMA maintains this trail but should be considered a wilderness trail. Maintenance includes a complete walkthrough in the spring to address any major issues such as blowdown and washouts. FRMA has sub-contracted the maintenance of the trail to Fox Creek Development Association, an aboriginal owned company located in Hinton, with a long working relationship with Hinton Wood Products. If you find any significant issues with trail maintenance, please contact Fox Creek at 780-865-2154.

Appropriate Use: The Emerson Lakes Trail System is a hiking trail for people with moderate hiking ability. The trail has minimal overall elevation as it winds around the Emerson Lake chain. Off-highway vehicles (quads) are strictly prohibited from using this trail.

Happy Creek Trail

The Happy Creek Trail consists of a six-kilometre loop that travels parallel to Happy Creek. It crosses the creek near its headwaters and then travels back downstream on the other side of the creek. It’s a very popular mountain biking trail. The surrounding area is mostly mature lodgepole pine forest, with some lowland black spruce areas and some mixed wood.

 

Further upstream, the trail follows high ridges and eskers. The hiker can look down into the creek valley and see the creek, as well as beaver ponds and dams. There is a primitive picnic/rest spot on the west side of the creek, close to where the trail crosses the creek. Also, there’s one on the east side of the creek, almost straight across the creek valley from the west side picnic spot.

The Happy Creek Trail starts off the Town of Hinton walking/biking trails behind Maxwell Lake. The trailhead can best be found by getting on the Hinton trails near Maxwell Lake. The Town trail crosses Happy Creek behind Maxwell Lake with a small narrow walking bridge. Immediately after this bridge, the trailhead starts at a large kiosk. The trailhead is more easily found on the east side of the Happy Creek. The trail is generally in good shape, is signed well, and easy to follow, once the start of the trail is found. However, it does cross several seismic lines.

Hinton Wood Products significantly upgraded this trail in 2000, 2001, and in 2007 with a new trailhead, trailhead map, walking bridges, and various other improvements to the trail. A hiking trail map is available at the Visitor Information Centre or Hinton Wood Products' main office in Hinton.

How to Get There: The Happy Creek Trail starts off the Town of Hinton's walking/biking trails. The best bet for locating the numerous starting locations for these trails is to go to the tourist information centre in Hinton and ask for a map of the town trail system.

Maintenance: FRMA maintains this trail. Maintenance includes a complete walkthrough in the spring to address any major issues such as blowdown and washouts. FRMA has sub-contracted the maintenance of the trail to Fox Creek Development Association, an aboriginal owned company located in Hinton, with a long working relationship with Hinton Wood Products. If you find any significant issues with trail maintenance, please contact Fox Creek at 780 865-2154.

Appropriate Use: The Happy Creek Trail is a hiking or mountain biking trail. If mountain biking, please note experienced riders should only ride the trail. It’s singletrack and considered technical riding. Off-highway vehicles (quads) are strictly prohibited from using this trail.

Pine Management Trail

The Pine Management Trail starts at the Gregg Cabin Recreation Area. The trail was initially developed as a self-guided forest interpretive trail and ski trail. However, over time the trail fell into disrepair. In the summer of 2000, Hinton Wood Products embarked on a project to revamp the forestry interpretive trail, providing the user with several different options for different length hikes. This new interpretive trail is now complete and includes a trail map, interpretive signs, and "You are Here" signs. It’s a beautiful trail to hike, bike, horseback ride, or quad during the spring, summer, and fall.

The longest option on the trail is approximately 6.0 kilometres long. It can be hiked at a leisurely pace in less than 2.5 hours. It begins in Hinton Wood Products' 50 millionth tree plantation. It's a one-hectare plot where Hinton Wood Products commemorated the planting of our 50-millionth seedling on the Forest Management Agreement (FMA) area in 1991. The trees on this site were planted by children of the Forest Resource Department staff. The trail then moves into a mature lodgepole pine forest that’s representative of those stands which have been cut or destroyed by fire in the area. Then, it’s followed by a display of natural regeneration established after the Gregg Burn of 1956. You should see artificial regeneration in sites that have been scarified (mechanically prepared to induce optimal conditions for seeding and germination) and, in some cases, planted. Where there has been overstocking, trees have been removed by a process known as juvenile spacing. Eventually, the tour leads back to the Gregg Cabin.

How to Get There: When travelling west from Edmonton, turn left (south) onto Highway 40, approximately 4 kilometres past the town of Hinton. Follow Highway 40 south just over 20 kilometres until the Gregg River Road is encountered on the left side of the Highway. Turn left onto this road and follow it for 7.4 kilometres until the turnoff to the Gregg Cabin Recreation Area is found on the right side of the road. The Gregg River Road is an active logging/hauling road. Drive with extreme caution (please review our “Exploring Managed Forest Lands" section). The Pine Management Trail starts at the new picnic shelter and heads east across the Tri-Creeks road, beginning in a small plantation. See the kiosk for trail brochures and further directions.

Maintenance: FRMA maintains this trail. Maintenance includes a complete walkthrough in the spring to address any major issues such as blowdown and washouts. FRMA has sub-contracted the maintenance of the trail to Fox Creek Development Association, an aboriginal owned company located in Hinton, with a long working relationship with Hinton Wood Products. If you find any significant issues with trail maintenance, please contact Fox Creek at 780 865-2154.

Appropriate Use: The Pine Management Trail is suitable for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking trail, or off-highway vehicles (quads). The trail is generally fairly wide with undulating terrain and ideal for hikers and bikers of all skill levels. It is also an excellent cross-country ski trail in the winter, given adequate snowfall. However, a track is not set.

McLeod River Silviculture Interpretive Trail

The McLeod River Silviculture Interpretive Trail is a short walking trail that travels through a predominantly white spruce forest. People can explore the various silviculture systems that foresters use when deciding how to harvest and regenerate a forest. It's located immediately adjacent to the McLeod River (North) Campground.

What is silviculture, you might ask? Silviculture is the art and science of harvesting and growing trees. Silviculturists apply ecologically sound principles to manage the forest landscape. It involves the management of timber and non-timber (e.g. wildlife, biodiversity, water, fisheries and aesthetic) resources. There are four main components to silviculture – harvesting, site preparation, regeneration, and stand tending.

On this trail, you'll see a range of silviculture techniques that are used by foresters in managing the forest, including a seed tree system, a shelterwood system, and a group selection system. You'll also encounter other exciting features such as a squirrel midden, a woodpecker tree, and tree identification. Enjoy your walk!

Spruce Management Trail

The Spruce Management Trail was built in 1981 and expanded in 1983 by the Hinton Nordic Skiers in anticipation of the 1984 Canadian Ski Championships. It's also known as the Camp 29 Trail because the trail passes through the area where there was once an old logging camp (Camp 29).

In 1987, with the completion of the new Nordic centre along Highway 40, the use of the Spruce Management ski trail declined. However, today it’s still tracked and used regularly by Hinton residents. Dogs are welcome on this trail system. Currently, the trail is maintained by the "Friends of Camp 29". The " Friends" group maintains the trail with volunteer labour. They brush the trails in the fall, put up signs, groom and track the trails over the winter, and remove the signs in the spring. Hinton Wood Products provides a snowmobile, signs, equipment and other support. The Company also ploughs the access road.

The terrain is gently rolling, and the trails are suitable for all levels of skiers from beginner to advanced. The area is located at the height of land between the drainages of the Oldman Creek and Jarvis Creek. There are excellent views of the Jarvis Creek and Wildhay River valleys to the north. The snowfall is usually deep and well retained. There are 18 kilometres of maintained ski trail laid out in a series of loops.

Hinton Wood Products significantly upgraded this trail system in 2000, with a new trail map, "You are here" signs, a new warming shelter, and various other improvements to the trail.

How to Get There: From Highway 16, turn north (right if travelling from Edmonton) onto Switzer Drive (this is the first exit into Hinton when travelling from Edmonton or the easternmost exit when travelling from Jasper). Continue down Switzer Drive until reaching a T-intersection (approximately 1 kilometre). Turn right. Follow this road for about 500 metres and take the first left (onto a large, well-maintained gravel road). This road travels down and crosses the Athabasca River. Just before crossing the Athabasca River Bridge, you will be on an active logging/hauling road. Drive with extreme caution (please review our “Exploring Managed Forest Lands" section).

After crossing the Athabasca River Bridge, you will be on the Willow Road (also called the "W" road). Follow the "W" road for approximately 4 kilometres (signs are posted on the side of the road), until an intersection on the left side of the road is reached at the "W9" km sign. It's called the Peppers Lake Road (also known as the "PL" road). Turn left here and travel for approximately 2.5 kilometres (to the "PL" 12-kilometre road sign) until the Fish Creek Road (also called the "C" road) turns off on the right. Turn right here and follow this road for approximately 14 kilometres until a secondary road is found (at the "C26" kilometre sign) on the left. Turn left here following the signs to the trailhead.

Maintenance: FRMA maintains this trail. Maintenance includes a complete walkthrough in the spring to address any major issues such as blowdown and washouts. FRMA has sub-contracted the maintenance of the trail to Fox Creek Development Association, an aboriginal owned company located in Hinton, with a long working relationship with Hinton Wood Products. If you find any significant issues with trail maintenance, please contact Fox Creek at 780 865-2154.

Appropriate Use: Cross-country skiers primarily use the Spruce Management Trail during the winter months. However, it can also be used for hiking, mountain biking, or off-highway vehicles in the summer and fall. The Wild Sculpture Trail takes the hiker near formations of sandstone that have been naturally sculpted by the wind. The rock sculptures reveal the peculiar geological design of variable density sandstone.

You’ll also enjoy spectacular skyline views of the Sundance Valley in the Sundance Provincial Park. The valley is narrow and protected with ridges rising above wooded slopes that descend sharply to the deep, clear waters of Sundance Lake.

Wild Sculpture Trail

The Wild Sculpture Trail is approximately 2 kilometres in length (one way). The hoodoos occur between kilometres one and two, making them accessible to those who desire a short, spectacular hike. Please treat the hoodoos with respect, as the soft sandstone sculptures are easily vandalized and eroded.

The forest in this area reveals the diverse plant life that is specifically indigenous to the area. Abundant populations of beaver and waterfowl live near Beaver Lake. Moose, deer, bear, marten, and many types of songbirds are only some examples of the other species that also call this valley home.

There is an un-maintained trail that travels further into the Park from the south end of the Wild Sculpture Trail. This un-maintained trail goes along the north side of the three lakes found within the Park. There are also several un-maintained creek crossings – travel this trail at your own risk and be prepared for a wilderness experience.

How to Get There: From Highway 16, turn north (right if travelling from Edmonton) onto Switzer Drive (this is the first exit into Hinton when travelling from Edmonton or the easternmost exit when travelling from Jasper). Continue down Switzer Drive until reaching a T-intersection (approximately 1 kilometre). Turn right. Follow this road for about 500 metres and take the first left (onto a large, well-maintained gravel road). This road travels down and crosses the Athabasca River. Just before crossing the Athabasca River Bridge, you’ll be on an active logging/hauling road. Drive with extreme caution (please review our “Exploring Managed Forest Lands" section).

After crossing the Athabasca River Bridge, you’ll be on the Willow Road (also called the "W" road). Follow the "W" road for approximately 4 kilometres (kilometre signs are posted on the side of the road), until an intersection on the right side of the road is reached at the "W9" km sign. It's called the Emerson Creek Road (also known as the "A" road). Turn right here and travel for approximately 51 kilometres (just past the "A" 59-kilometre road sign). Look for signs indicating the Wild Sculpture Trailhead, which is on the right side of the road.

Maintenance: FRMA maintains this trail but should be considered a wilderness trail. Maintenance includes a complete walkthrough in the spring to address any major issues such as blowdown and washouts. FRMA has sub-contracted the maintenance of the trail to Fox Creek Development Association, an aboriginal owned company located in Hinton, with a long working relationship with Hinton Wood Products. If you find any significant issues with trail maintenance, please contact Fox Creek at 780-865-2154.

Appropriate Use: The Wild Sculpture Trail is a hiking trail for people with moderate hiking experience. The trail has minimal overall elevation gain as it follows the Sundance Valley. It can also be used for mountain biking but only for experienced riders, as the trail is singletrack and is considered quite technical. Off-highway vehicles (quads) are strictly prohibited from using this trail. There is also a lesser-used ski trail for cross-country skiing that follows the valley bottom into Sundance Lake.