Elbow Loop

- 41.5 km Loop
- Intermediate to Difficult
- Approx 5 hrs



Elbow Loop

trail image 1 Access: Hwy 66, Little Elbow
Parking: Little Elbow Day-use area. NOTE: The highway west of Elbow Falls is closed Dec 1 to May 15.

Trail: 41.5 km's, approx. 5 hrs, Intermediate to difficult

The Elbow Loop sustained heavy damage during the 2013 flood, and the Big Elbow portion has large sections of trail missing and route finding is necessary.

This may well be the quintessential Mountain trail whether you are Biking, Hiking or on Horseback. In terms of the 2 wheeled hobbyist, this ride offers up all manner of varying terrain coupled with spectacular vistas so you come away feeling complete yet hungry for more. Driving down Highway 66 to where the pavement ends (the gravel road ahead of you is Powderface Trail) you turn left heading past Forget-me-not-pond towards Little Elbow camppground and the adjacent Recreation area parking lot.

trail img 2 Now, as with any good Loop this trail has two directions to choose from, and like Ann Heche, you could say it's good to go either way. But which is the better progression ? You be the judge. I have found there's a preference among many riders to start on the Little Elbow trail (usually means it's perceived to have a higher degree of rewarding downhill) accessed by riding to the end of Little Elbow campground where a gated road marks the trailhead. Alternatively ....

The Big Elbow trail starts with the suspension bridge that crosses the river and turns right, heading south along the Elbow River. After 4km's keep right at the junction with ThreePoint Mtn trail and continue on for another 15 km's when you eventually join up with the Little Elbow.

trail image 1 Going left at this intersection would take you on a continuation of Big Elbow as it follows the river towards Elbow Lake. Take the right instead to follow Little Elbow on a steady climb up toward Tombstone pass, passing the access trails to Tombstone Lake. The next 8 km's are an enthralling descent with a visual array of Mountainscape that includes Opal Range to the west and Mt Romulus, towering ahead to the north. As you can see there are several options for exploring the Elbow Loop area that could justify camping a night or two, the most obvious being Tombstone Lakes with it's campground just off Big Elbow trail, and Talus Lake where you can spend the night at Mt Romulus campground ... just to name a few ... The final 12 km's of dirt and gravel road is relatively uneventful and perhaps a little weary at times, which is perhaps why some prefer starting the loop from this direction. Nevertheless, as you close the gap to trail's end (passing Nihahi Ridge to the left on the final 2 km's) you're already anticipating your next visit.