Saturday, November 3, 2012

Telegraph Trail

Telegraph Trail
Distance: 8.55 km (5.31 mi).
Route type: Out-and-back
Suitable for: Walking, running, mountain-biking
Elevation change: 266 metres up, 266 metres down
Technical difficulty rating:  
Navigational difficulty rating:  

A sweet little trail for mountain-biking, walking or running. It's an out-and-back smooth, flowing route through a magical mossy forest.

To get to the trail-head, drive north from New Denver along Highway 6. The hamlet of Rosebery is about 3 km out. There are three roads leading off Highway 6 to the right; you want the third one, right after the road to the Provincial Park campground. The road is marked W. Wilson Creek Rd / 5th Ave.. Once on the road, check your odometer. Avoid the fork to 5th Ave and head uphill for 2 km, driving past the old decommissioned landfill site marked with copious "No Hunting No Dumping" signs. At about exactly 2.0 km you'll come to a cleared flat area.  Here there's a secondary gravel road leading directly off to the right. Follow this for another 500 metres, until you come to a small gravel pit area. Although it's possible to drive a little further, this is the logical parking spot.

Continue on foot or bike along the same road, staying to the upper fork (marked with a discrete rock cairn) at the junction 200 metres along. After about 700 metres you'll come to an open area that used to get used as a campsite. Continue straight ahead beyond the campsite area, onto a single-track trail. The trail seems to peter out after another 100 metres, but a keen eye will see that it heads off at an angle down to the right through the trees. A short, rooty downhill access spur leads into the Telegraph Trail forest.

From here you can't really go wrong. The bench-cut trail is all single-track. It's smoother than most Kootenay trails, and is well-maintained with four or five short bridges and regular clearing of deadfall. For beginning mountain-bikers, some of the roots that cross the trail will tend to kick your rear tire out a bit, and the trail is narrow, so on wet days you'll need to stay vigilant and have reasonable control over your line, but otherwise the trail is very much suited to beginners. There are no long climbs or descents, and even the short ups and downs would be ridable by most kids and inexperienced riders. 

Runners will love the quiet and calm of this trail, and the forgiving surface of pine and cedar needles. Hikers will enjoy noticing the telegraph resistors still wired to some of the trees, and the magical stillness of the forest. 

The trail goes a full 5k distance, but there's currently a washout at kilometre 4 that requires a bit of soggy and steep scrambling through a freshet, so I haven't mapped it beyond that point.

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