Another visit to Ogre Canyon near Hinton, Alberta

Ogre Canyon is a place that I’ve thought about many times since my son first took Cathy and I to see it in September 2015. After that first visit, I posted “No photo or words can do justice to that sight – powerful, awesome, a spiritual experience…”. On Day 49 of the trip – Wednesday, June 13 – I headed back to that special place.

Just west of Hinton, the 40-km route to Ogre Canyon turns north on Highway 40, signed as the “Scenic Route to Alaska”. All routes to Alaska are scenic, and when you’re at that point, Highway 40 is certainly the shortest route.

Turning off Highway 16 on the Scenic Route to Alaska
The next turn is west onto Brule Road. A viewpoint has been built overlooking the Athabasca River, with interpretive panels about historic trade routes through the valley.

A viewpoint overlooking the Athabasca River, with interpretive panels about historic trade routes through the valley.
The tiny hamlet of Brule was once a thriving coal mining community, but less than 100 people live there now. The Ghost Towns of Canada site indicates that I should have a look around the next time I’m there.

Ogre Canyon near Hinton, Alberta
The handout I’d picked up at the visitor information centre in Hinton said to drive through Brule, then park at the community centre and walk the 8 km to Ogre Canyon from the “dead end” on the main street. In fact it INSISTS that “all cars must be parked at the Hall“. The dead end, though, is a cul de sac, and if you angle left, you can continue driving.

Ogre Canyon near Hinton, Alberta
The first few hundred meters feel odd, like you’re on private property – someone’s farm – but it is a public road. There are three horse gates that need to be opened, and closed after you drive through.

Horse gate on the road to Ogre Canyon near Hinton, Alberta

Horse gate on the road to Ogre Canyon near Hinton, Alberta
Twenty minutes from Brule, you reach a sign saying that you’re entering Rock Lake – Solomon Creek Wildland Provincial Park. This is really the first good indication that you’re on the correct road.

Rock Lake - Solomon Creek Wildland Provincial Park on the road to Ogre Canyon near Hinton, Alberta
On my previous visit, we had walked a few kilometers because I had no idea how deep some of the mud puddles were. This time, I drove through all except this one, 30 minutes from Brule. I got out and had a good look at it, then parked at a spot where many others had also turned around.

Deep mud puddle on the road to Ogre Canyon near Hinton, Alberta
The parking area for the the Ogre Canyon trailhead was only a hundred meters or so past the spot where I’d parked.

Parking area for the Ogre Canyon trailhead near Hinton, Alberta
The upper part of Ogre Canyon can be seen from the parking area. Similar cliffs line the road in for a few kilometers, though they’re no seen often through the forest.

Ogre Canyon near Hinton, Alberta
An interpretive panel at the trailhead says that Ogre Canyon is a gorge that “has been cut into tough Devonian limestone of the Palliser Formation. These rock layers were laid down in the sea about 368 million years ago, then pushed up 45-85 million years ago during the building of the Rockies.” The gorge may have originally been a cave that had its roof scraped off by a glacier.

The trail to Ogre Canyon near Hinton, Alberta
The short trail in only takes about 15 minutes. Bella and Tucker loved it.

The trail to Ogre Canyon near Hinton, Alberta
Arriving at the canyon mouth, I immediately knew that I’d messed up. Even though the dogs needed an adventure, this is not a dog-friendly place, and my exploring would be very limited as a result. If I’d read my blog post from 3 years before, I would have realized that.

Ogre Canyon near Hinton, Alberta
The next 4 photos are just shots of the canyon, all processed as HDR images to bring out the details. I neither got very far into the canyon nor did I spend as much time there as I would have liked. I’ll remember to go alone next time. Sorry, pups.

Ogre Canyon near Hinton, Alberta

Ogre Canyon near Hinton, Alberta

Ogre Canyon near Hinton, Alberta

Ogre Canyon near Hinton, Alberta

Back in Hinton by noon, I hooked the Tracker back up to the motorhome, and after a quick lunch, we headed north to Grande Cache for a night or maybe two. Actually, I made a short stop at the Hinton visitor information centre to let them know that their information about both the Brule Sand Dunes and Ogre Canyon were completely wrong – you can’t drive to the dunes, and you can drive to the canyon.




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