Fullerton Loop

May 28, 2021

Fullerton Loop is the ideal hike for beginners and kids. It is mainly a lovely walk through a forest, with gently undulating slopes. There is one big hill that provides views to the surrounding mountains. Over the years, this trail has seen increased usage. You are never alone here, so it’s also a good hike for people going solo.

I hiked this with my Lake Louise Ski Friend team. This was our ‘wind up’ party. It allowed us to see each other, yet maintain distancing in an outdoor environment.

This is most of the Wednesday Lake Louise Ski Friend team.

Trail Etiquette, Garbage and Dog Poop

As this is a beginner hike, and it can get really busy, I am including some trail etiquette.

When passing or overtaking someone going in the same direction, say “on your left/right” so the person ahead can move over to the side closest to the mountain. When passing, you take the side of the trail furthest away from the mountain.

The uphill hiker has the right of way. Please move over and let them pass.

Leave no trace means you MUST pack out absolutely everything! No littering of any kind. This includes toilet paper. Please use the outhouse at the trailhead prior to starting out. If you think you might need to pee along the way, bring a plastic baggie and put the used tissue in the bag. Carry it home and dispose of it there.

If you bring a dog, NO it is not a thing to bag up its poop and leave it on the side of the trail. Even worse, please do not hide the poop bag. If your dog poops, bag it up and take it with you. To reduce the smell, you can double-bag it. You can also bring an empty Nalgene water bottle, and carry the poop bag in there (no smell and no leaks).

The Bragg Creek Trail volunteers call this Easter Egg Hunting. It’s when people try to hide their littering by sticking tissue and dog poop bags into trees and bushes. Please – just bag it and take it with you.

While hiking Fullerton, we met this volunteer from Bragg Creek Trails. This organization maintains the trails in the Bragg Creek area, including picking up garbage left by hikers. See the giant bag he has? That’s all from Fullerton. Guess how many bags of poop he has picked up already this year? 105 bags of dog poop. And that is JUST him! And he JUST started with the spring trail clean up. CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR DOG AND BRING THE POOP BAG HOME AND DISPOSE OF IT PROPERLY.

This is the volunteer we met on the trail. That bag of garbage is all from Fullerton Loop, and it’s not that long of a hike!
Do you like his hat? Bragg Creek Trails is selling Bragg Swag to help fund their volunteer work. Please support by donating or buying some hats or shirts.

Gear

Hiking shoes, poles, and your regular daypack kit. If you are new or a kid, sturdy running shoes with newer grips should be okay in dry weather. One of our group forgot his hiking boots, and he did just fine in Birkenstocks. Not that I’d recommend birks, but you know. In a pinch…

Kid Activities

Want to keep your kids motivated or engaged? Here are a couple of ideas. I’ve hiked with my daughters since they were 3 years old. Trust me – these tricks work.

Activity 1: there are a plethora of bridges, gates and signs on this trail. Have your kids count how many of each they can find. They can take a photo of each bridge / gate, or they can tick them off on a piece of paper. Or just use their memory. This helps kids pay attention to their surroundings, especially if they are looking for signs and intersections.

Activity 2: have your kids run ahead to the next feature – gate, bridge, stairs, bench or intersection/sign. They MUST wait there for you. To ensure compliance, have them ‘hide’ at that feature. It’s now your job to pretend to not see them, so your kids can jump out and scare you. Act as scared or surprised as you can. This game allowed us to hike some pretty major mountains over the years.

Overview

From the trail head, follow the trail until you hit the Y junction. Go either way, depending on how you like to gain your elevation (explained below). Complete the loop, and return to the trail head.

This is the high point of Fullerton Loop as seen from the Allen Bill Pond day use area. The trail head is to the right of the house.

Parking and Trail Head

There is a parking lot and washrooms at the Fullerton Loop trail head. There is also parking across the highway at the Allen Bill Pond day use area.

Pick up the trail just past the outhouses.

The parking to is to the left of the sign. The trail starts just past the outhouse.
Here is the trail sign. The orange dot will move with you as you reach each intersection. There are only two navigation spots. At 1 km, left left to stay on Fullerton. 300 meters beyond is the Y intersection.

Main Trail

This is the Fullerton Loop Trail. It is super wide, with too many bridges and gates to show them all.

This is the trail just up from the trail head. It is nice and wide.
One of many bridges. The trail was a mixed bag of super dry or sucking mud. My friend Margaret was teasing me. Gee, if only we knew of a good resource that could educate people about walking on muddy trails and the damage it causes…

At 1 km, there is a junction. Keep LEFT to stay on the Fullerton trail. Going right will lead to Elbow Trail, that takes you back towards West Bragg Creek.

Go LEFT at the sign to stay on the Fullerton Loop trail. Elbow is a cross-country ski trail that takes you back to West Bragg Creek.

After another 300 meters you reach the Y Junction. You need to decide whether to go left up the stairs, or right through the forest.

LEFT: If you like to gain your elevation fast and early, then go left. This trail is in the open, so if it’s a hot day, you will bake. If it’s windy, you’ll get in the face. On the plus side, these are the only views to be had, so if you want to enjoy the view, then take this route.

RIGHT: If you like to gain your elevation slowly, and under the cover of trees (cooler), then go right. The downside is no views, except for when you purposely stop to have a look.

I chose to go right as we had a very strong and cold west wind that day. The following directions are for going right at the Y junction.

This is the Y Junction. Left or right – your choice! We went right and these directions reflect that.

Continue on the trail for another 2 km (3.3 in total) to reach the high point. You will hike over some more bridges and through some more gates.

One of the bridges. This one goes down, just so you can head back up.
The barbed wire gates are for the horses. Humans go through the ‘kissing’ gates on the side. Our friend Larry was trying to be a gentleman and open the horse gate for us. Meanwhile his wife just walked around. It was pretty funny.

The high point is marked by a really old bench. After this, it is a nice stroll along the ridge. Views will come further down. There is another bench that marks the best view point.

The first bench marks the high point of Fullerton Loop. This is about 3.3 km from the trail head.
The stroll along the ridge top is just lovely. We could feel the wind picking up here, so put our jackets back on.
The view from Fullerton. Allen Bill Pond and Highway 66 are below. We had a cloudy day, but I imagine the view is good on a clear day.
The second bench. This is a bit lower down, but it’s a great spot to enjoy the view.

From the highpoint, it’s time to start heading downhill. This is the part of the trail that is in the open. It gives good views, but is open to the elements of sun and wind. This section is quite steep and no switchbacks. Another reason why I like to go in this direction.

The steep downhill (or uphill if you went left at the Y Junction).

Keep going on this trail. It will magically take you back to the Y Junction. Go right to return to the trail head.

The Y Junction as seen from the return route. Please stay on the stairs. The vegetation has been eroded on either side of he stairs. Turn RIGHT to return to the trail head.

Fullerton Loop is a fun and easy hike that is ideal for beginners or kids. While the trail is 7.5 km, it only gains 192 m of elevation, which is like walking up the side of the Bow River valley in Calgary. This trail has a lot of bridges and gates to keep everyone entertained.

If you found this post useful, please do me a huge favour and click the Star button to “Like” it. You can also follow my blog, follow me on Instagram, or join my FaceBook page Al’s Adventurers.

Alisen

Totals – Tracked on Strava

Date: May 28, 2021
Group:  Nine (Lake Louise Ski Friends – Wednesday Team)
Distance:  7.5  km
Elevation:  192 m (633′)
Time:  2 hours (includes breaks)

We started at the Allen Bill Pond day use area, but you can park at the trail head on the north side of Highway 66.
Please do not let this elevation profile scare you. It’s only a couple hundred meters in total so it shows up really well on the profile. As you can see, it is steeper going down the other side. This profile is for going RIGHT at the Y junction.
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Posted in Adventures, Hiking
7 comments on “Fullerton Loop
  1. This looks like an easy and “family friendly” hike Alisen.
    The second bench seems to have a really nice view from above.
    I also like your suggestion about Kids activities, and I would go for Activity 2! 🙂

  2. What a lovely way to get together with friends these days and do something safe like going for a hike. I still don’t understand how people think it’s okay to leave their trash or dog poop behind. It’s amazing that there are volunteers that go around the area and pick up all the garbage. They shouldn’t have to (and people should have the common sense to do it themselves), but it’s certainly nice that someone does.

    • alisendopf says:

      I know, right??? Geez. Entitled much? I don’t get people. “Hey, lets go for a walk in pristine wilderness, and fill it with all our garbage.”

      Volunteerism in Calgary and area is huge. Everyone has a side gig doing some sort of volunteer work. Even the 1988 Calgary Olympics was run by volunteers, which I think contributed to it being one of the few games that made any kind of real money. It seems we will do anything for free swag 🙂

      • Same! It makes me so angry to see how some people have such little regard for the environment. Then why bother even spending time in nature? That’s amazing to hear that there are so many volunteers in the Calgary area!! Hopefully they more than make up for the shitty people that litter and don’t pick up after their dog.

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