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Elk Island – Wood Bison Trail (Trail #11)
August 20 @ 8:45 am - 5:00 pm MDT
The Wood Bison Trail is on the south side of Highway 16. It is a beautiful trail that loops around Flyingshot Lake and Bailey Lakes where the Wood Bison are allowed to roam. These bison are kept separate from the Plains Bison found on the north side of the highway.
Note that this trail is 16 km long. Be sure you are happy and able to walk for five hours not including breaks. Bring extra water (minimum of 3–4 litres) and food to keep your strength up. There are a few muddy sections, so wearing hiking shoes or light boots would be ideal. The length of the hike means that we will not return to the trailhead until about 4:15 p.m. nor to Edmonton’s Belvedere NE parking lot until about 5:00 p.m. There are washrooms at the trailhead and the trail is private enough to allow a “separation break.” We’ll hike the trail in a counter-clockwise direction.
Those of us coming from Edmonton will meet at the Belvedere ‘Park & Ride’ Pay lot (free on weekends) and carpool from there, leaving promptly at 9 a.m. Participants may choose instead to proceed on their own directly to the trailhead, but should check the website prior to departure in case of a change (e.g., weather forecast, trail conditions) and should arrive at the trailhead no later than 9:40 a.m. Here are directions to the trailhead: Take the Yellowhead (Highway 16) to the entrance for Elk Island National Park. However, don’t turn north into the park; instead turn south onto a little dirt road that is opposite the main entrance to the park. Follow this dirt road as it takes you west parallel to the Yellowhead for one hundred meters or so, and follow it as it bends south and then west to a parking lot. The trailhead for our Wood Bison Trail is there. So is an outhouse – make use of it while you can! Be sure to arrive at the trailhead no later than 9:40 a.m. You can plan your trip and travel time to the trailhead by starting with this Google Map, which gives the entrance to the dirt road off of Hwy 16 to the trailhead — just click on the Directions icon and type in the location of your starting point.
As of two days before this hike, 16 new hikers have signed up on Meetup.com to join us. They will discover that the WTA is about more than wonderful hikes — it’s also about the fine people they’ll meet.
If you are new to WTA hikes, then you should visit the Guided Hikes webpage for essential information. For further information specific to this hike, refer to The Waskahegan Trail Guide Book, pages 94-95, or contact the Hike Leader, Terry E., by email or by phone at 780-432-3557 (home) or 780-299-6007 (when not home).
Here are a few pictures that Terry took on Tuesday along this gorgeous trail: