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TRAIL INFORMATION

The Pikes Peak Trail (PP)
Trail Guide Logo

Key Map - Pike's Peak Trail

Highlights / Points of Interest:

This trail leads through some of the most historical and scenic portions of the property and climbs to the most spectacular view in the camp.

John Z. Nelis farm. You may still be able to see the apple tree that stood near the road.

The Old Mill Site - This area was originally the farm of David H. Pollard (1897), then became the main depot camp of the Laking Lumber Company (1906) and lastly the headquarters and mill of the Mill Valley Lumber Company (1935-1948). Today the main clearing is used for recreation by the camp staff.

Francis Speir's turn-of-the-century farm. Can you imagine farming in this area? Although the soil was productive, the season was too short and the markets too far away and the farm was abandoned. The exact site is difficult to find today, but it included the graves of a number of Speir children who died of diphtheria.

Log Chutes and the Gorge - You'll hear the steady rush of the river as it squeezes into the narrow space between two walls. Try to imagine the spring run-off when much more water would pass through this point. It was in the spring that the early lumber companies would float the logs from Holland Lake down this river to Drag Lake and on. To do that, they would build log chutes to keep the logs from jamming up. The remains of some of these chutes can still be seen in the water. You may even be lucky enough to see the big square nails that were used to hold them together.

Spectacular View - When you finally reach the top, the view will certainly be worth it. Llooking west, you can follow the valley where the Drag River you crossed in the gorge, drains into the east bay of Drag Lake. To the north-west is a valley in which you can see Martens Pond. Directly to the north and below Pikes Peak is Minnie Lake and beyond the ridge to behind it is Moore Lake. Over the ridge to the north-east is Holland Lake.

Average Hiking Time (Distance):
From Dobson Trail

• to the Mill Site - 30 minutes (1.4 km or 0.87 mi);
• to trail crossing at Kennaway Rd - 40 minutes (2.0 km or 1.24 mi);
• to the Gorge - 1 hour/10 minutes (3.0 km or 1.86 mi);
• to Pikes Peak - 1 hour/30 minutes (3.3 km or 2.05 mi);
• to JC Trail - 1 hour/40 minutes (3.5 km or 2.35 mi);
• to the west end of Minnie Lake - 1 hour/50 minutes (3.9 km or 2.6 mi);
• to CL Trail - 2 hours/20 minutes (5.4 km or 3.62 mi).

Descriptions & Directions:

Starting at the Dobson Trail it leads through the old "mill site", crosses the "gorge", climbs to the top of one of the highest points in the camp and down the far side, circles around the west end of Minnie Lake, and then finally ends at the Coopers Loop Trail near Moore Lake. The new markers along this trail are blue.

The trail heads southeast along the Old Kennaway Road from the Dobson Trail. You might want to take a short side trip to the left (southeast) to see Poopah Pond which lies about 100 metres south of the trail (see the map in Figure VII). Further along on the left, was the site of the John Z. Nelis farm. You may still be able to see the apple tree that stood near the road.

The Old Mill Site - A little further along, the trail leaves the Old Kennaway Road to the left and climbs up and over a small ridge and back down into the back of the old mill site. On the way it passes through an old orchard and some open areas filled with raspberry canes. This area was originally the farm of David H. Pollard (1897), then became the main depot camp of the Laking Lumber Company (1906) and lastly the headquarters and mill of the Mill Valley Lumber Company (1935-1948). Today the main clearing is used for recreation by the camp staff.

The trail continues on the opposite side of the open area, and eventually follows along the bottom of a small ridge. In a about 10 minutes you'll reach the main road. Just up the road from where you are about to cross, was the site of Francis Speir's turn-of-the-century farm. Can you imagine farming in this area? Although the soil was productive, the season was too short and the markets too far away and the farm was abandoned. The exact site is difficult to find today, but it included the graves of a number of Speir children who died of diphtheria.

TAKE CARE AS YOU CROSS THE ROAD - IT IS DIFFICULT FOR MOTORISTS TO SEE HIKERS BEFORE THEY START CROSSING THE ROAD!

Across the main road, the trail descends into a valley along an old logging road, which is sparingly marked but not difficult to follow. In the 1 km (0.67 mi) distance to the Gorge, the trail drops almost 75 metres (244 ft) in altitude. You will probably feel the difference in temperature as you travel and will probably sense the increase in humidity as you reach the cool, marshier areas near the Drag River.

Log Chutes and the Gorge - When the ground levels off and you cross a small, muddy sort of creek, you're almost there. Past the creek, the trail opens onto a great rock outcrop which rises up to form one side of the small gorge. Take care as you near the edge, particularly if the rock is wet. By now you'll hear the steady rush of the river as it squeezes into the narrow space between two walls. Try to imagine the spring run-off when much more water would pass through this point. It was in the spring that the early lumber companies would float the logs from Holland Lake down this river to Drag Lake and on. To do that, they would build log chutes to keep the logs from jamming up.

Remains of wooden log chute at The Gorge on the Drag River.Downstream from the gorge, the river widens into a flat, sandy area where the remains of some of these chutes can still be seen in the water. You may even be lucky enough to see the big square nails that were used to hold them together. Unlike the spring time, the water level in July and August usually allows you to cross the river at this point by hopping from rock to rock. Again, the rocks are slippery when wet and some are more than a little wobbly.

From the gorge, the trail rises steeply 80 metres (260 ft) from the Drag River to the top of Pikes Peak. Much of the trail to the top crosses large areas of rock face which can be very slippery especially when wet! At first the trail heads off to the left, but then carries on straight up the hill. Just take your time and if in any doubt about where the trail is going, just keep heading to the highest point. As you're hiking up, you'll likely notice lots of acorns on the ground. This is one of the best places on the Reserve to see a large numbers of Red Oak trees. This far north, they usually only grow on rocky, south-west ridge tops that have warmer than normal microclimates because they receive the direct rays of the afternoon sun. The acorns, which take two years to develop, are among the most nutritious and abundant fall foods and are favourites of deer and bears.

"Let us every follow the trails .... "Spectacular View - When you finally reach the top, the view will certainly be worth it. Sit for a while on the smooth rock peak and enjoy the view - a great place to have lunch but make sure you bring drinking water. The south and east views are mostly obscured by trees but looking west, you can follow the valley where the Drag River you crossed in the gorge, drains into the east bay of Drag Lake. To the north-west is a valley in which you can see Martens Pond. Directly to the north and below Pikes Peak is Minnie Lake and beyond the ridge to behind it is Moore Lake. Over the ridge to the north-east is Holland Lake.

Downhill from here - The trail continues north down the west side of Pikes Peak and at the bottom (on the south shore of Minnie Lake) joins the JC Trail. If you turn right and go east along the JC, you'll shortly end up at the Hurst Lake Road. If you turn left (west) the JC and Pikes Peak trails continue together to the west end of Minnie Lake where they have now become a jeep road. At this point the Pikes Peak trail continues to the right and passes north across the end of Minnie Lake. Follow the jeep road until the trail markers show where the trail heads back into the woods on the right. The trail eventually passes above a narrow arm of Moore Lake and then joins the Cooper's Loop Trail just east of Moore Lake.

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