Friday, August 5, 2016

Run BC Project 2016 Day 3: Iceline Trail

 Day 1: Keystone Standard Basin Trail: Revelstoke

Woah Nelly!  Now this is a trail to write home about;).  Billed as the 'most beautiful trail in the Rockies' by many who have visited the area, we had to go and see for ourselves...

Taking in the awesome view of Takakkaw falls.

Run BC Project Day 3:  Iceline Trail, Yoho National Park

Day 3 of the Run BC Project saw us driving to Yoho National Park from our accomodation at  Kicking Horse mountain in Golden. There are some beautiful homes to rent on the mountain as well as an awesome restaurant to enjoy in town - 1122 (how is this fantastic gem in this wee town?).  You MUST go for post a post adventure stub and grub if you are in the area.

Distance: 20kms - loop (many options for out and backs, view points or shorter loops as well)
Elevation: 900m approximately
Terrain: Steep forested switchbacks (if you go clockwise) at the start, rocky traverse in the middle (exposed/no shade), sweet flowy singletrack along a river at the end of the loop (back in the shade).
Water: Many rivers flow across the trail from the Emerald glacier on the traverse.
Bring: Sunscreen (exposed up top!), bear spray (grizzly country!), camera (and spare cards!) and emergency communication device such as the Delorme inReach (no cell service).
Map:
Trailhead: Whiskey Jack Hostel, park at the Takakkaw Falls parking lot and walk back down the main road about .5kms to the Hostel to find the trailhead.  No parking allowed at the hostel fyi.



Photo of a photo of the falls;)
We had our sights set on the classic Iceline loop and choose to run it in a clockwise fashion, to get the steepest terrain out of the way on the way up.   Can't recommend this direction enough!  Get those steep switchbacks out of the way early, while it is cooler and while your legs are fresh.  Then, run out on the sweet, flowing, valley trail for a fantastic finish to your run.

Running through history on the morraine.
The switchbacks were a great chance to wake up the legs on the 'hump' day of our 5 day running road trip, and the cool shade of the forest was more than welcome.  We had been absolutely scortched on our first two runs in the alpine and the heat of the Kootenay's had taken the Coastal crew by suprise.  We had our sunscreen and hats on for this one!  After a short climb, the trail pops out into the alpine scrub and the first spectacular view of the route appears as you find yourself directly across from the top of Takakkaw falls, the third highest waterfall in Canada.  Wow!


Crossing one of the many glacier feld creeks.  Daly Glacier in the background, across the valley.
The trail continues to climb, more gradually now, up to the alpine and brings you to the edge of the massive Emerald glacier.  The route follows the edge of the glacier for approximately 6kms and crosses many fresh, cold streams that are flowing from the summer melt.

Underfoot, is ancient scarified morraine rock- once covered by this shrinking glacier.  The terrain is otherworldly and the rock fields create a moonscape that makes you feel like the tiny speck you are! 
 Beautiful alpine tarns, magestic mountain views and that massive glacier all follow you as you traverse the route.

Of course we have to go to the top of this thing!
Photo op!

Life is good and I am full of life!  Wahooo!

There is an awesome lookout on a spiney ridge about half way through the route, that is the perfect spot for a photo shoot if you dare!
Wicked views every which way.

Little raspberries in the moonscape.

Trail running dreams.

Leaping across cold creeks!

Yup.  Its for realz.

 Eventually, the trail drops back down into the subalpine and the trees begin to grow larger as you descend into the valley below.  Wildflowers, squeeky marmots, butterflies and lovely cool temperatures greet you in the forest.  Then it is downhill on lovely singletrack all the way!
Brianna rockin the sweet alpine singletrack.

The trail passes one of a few cabins that are available for rent along the route and there was a family reunion underway the day we ran by!  What a great idea!  On the way out, the trail passes by the beautiful Twin waterfalls and a great spot to cool off and grab a drink.
River crossing near the cabins.

Twin Falls!

On the homestretch now, the trail finishes on a wide double track path that leads right to the Takakkaw parking area (campground and washrooms as well).

Finishing the loop...


Back to the beginning and the impressive Takakkaw falls.

Takakkaw falls welcomes you back to your car with it's wild roar and lovely mist!  What a fantastic place to play!  The most beautiful trail in the Rockies?  I'll just have to go back and do a few more before I can confirm or deny that...but so far I would say it is up there with the best of the best!
Hi fives all around!  Way to go ladies!

Happy Trails!

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