We enjoyed (mostly) blue skies and moderate temperatures while hiking to the summit of Jumpingpound Mountain on Saturday. Access is off the Powderface Trail (a gravel road) which connects highways 66 (west of Bragg Creek) and 68 (gravel, through Sibbald Flats). We elected to travel via the TransCanada into Sibbald Flats, which meant we were on “highway” 68 for about 23 km and then drove a further 16 km on Powderface Trail before parking.
We found this to be a surprisingly busy area; we passed a dozen mountain bike riders while driving and there were 10 or 12 vehicles at the trailhead parking area. Trail signs at the trail head showed a distance of 2.5 km to the summit of Jumpingpound Mountain, but our GPSr track showed more like 3.2 km. About 90% of this distance is in the trees, so it’s nicely shaded for hot days. There are also six creek crossings but there is no need to ford as there are small log bridges in place at all crossings.
We shared the trail with several mountain biking enthusiasts who passed us on the way up. It was generally an uneventful ascent, although Youngest GeoKid had to stop for a dose of asthma medicine and then stopped again about 10 minutes later to get some moleskin applied to a “hot spot” on his heel.
Once we cleared the tree line the views and the wildflowers were incredible. Moose Mountain stands tall to the east while the Fisher Range is an impressive line to the west. From the summit you have your choice of three ridge walks – to the north, to the south or to the east. After finding j2d2’s GC8EDE – Jumpin’ Geocache and eating lunch we elected to head east, reaching the next peak along the ridge after about 1 km.
There’s tremendous pay-off for the modest effort required to cover approx. 3 km with net elevation gain of 300 m. As a result, the GeoKs’ agreed that this should be considered “Favourite Hike #8” and we placed a cache before heading back. We stopped at a couple of other spots on the drive back out and found a total of 6 geocaches, bringing our total to 1840.