The new High Rock Trail is open! The GPS track has been posted to our map page where it can be downloaded. The High Rock Trail is currently listed as an alternate route but will become the official main route of the GDT soon. Remember that the trail isn’t actually 100% complete yet but is completely hikeable and totally awesome.
Thanks to all of our sponsors, supporters and the incredible volunteers who worked so hard over the past 5 years to build this new trail!
High Rock Trail (HRT) NOBO Description
The HRT begins at a junction with a cutline heading toward Deadman Pass at 49.69066, -114.60448. Follow the cutline west for 500 metres to reach a blazed trail junction heading north. Follow the trail for 800 metres where you will turn right onto an old ATV track. The track gains 100m over 1 km before a short but steep climb over the last 50 metres marks the end of the track and the return to single-track trail at 1740m.
The trail climbs steadily for 600 metres to reach treeline at 1820m. The trail remains above treeline with spectacular views of Crowsnest Mountain to the east, contouring between 1840m and 1920m for the next 3 km. The trail intersects with an ATV track before dipping back into the forest. In 100 metres, you reach another intersection with the same ATV track and again stay in the forest, continuing north. The trail stays in the forest for 350 metres before reaching treeline again at the beginning of a short steep climb up a talus slope. The trail climbs 100m over 500 metres, staying just above treeline before the gradient eases off at 2000m. Continue for 1 km, contouring above treeline and up a set of switchbacks through sparse trees to a forested ridge crest. Follow the forested ridgeline for 500 metres to a high point at 2100m with incredible views of the Crowsnest valley, until the trail veers away from the ridge dropping into the forest. In 100 metres, the trail enters an old cutblock where it will mostly remain for the next few kilometres. There is regrowth in the old cutblock but still many outstanding views of the impressive headwall of the Great Divide.
The trail gently descends through the old cutblock, losing 150m elevation over the next 1.5 km. Cross an ATV track in 1.2 km and in 300 metres reach a second ATV track at the valley bottom at 1940m. Follow this ATV track paralleling the base of the headwall for 1.3 km, including a very steep climb over the final 100 metres to bring you to the western edge of the cutblock at 2020m. Single-track trail resumes travelling through the old cutblock for 500 metres until the trail intersects with the ATV track again. From here, follow the ATV track for 750 metres descending to reach single-track trail again for the final 250 metres to reach the Window Mountain Lake trailhead.
Follow the Window Mountain Lake trail, very steep in sections, for 900 metres to reach Window Mountain Lake campground on the shores of the beautiful lake (Note that horses are not able to access Window Mountain Lake). The HRT continues through the campground heading up the sparsely treed slopes on the north end of the lake. The flagged trail climbs steeply up to the top of the ridge surrounding the lake, reaching a high point at 2120m in 1 km, where the flagging suddenly ends (to deter dirt bikes from accessing the trail). On the north side of the ridge, you will see the road descending from Racehorse Pass below you. Follow the edge of the forest where it meets the talus slope on your right, descending steeply to the reach the road in 500 metres at 2060m.
Follow Racehorse Pass Road east for 1.4 km through a gate to a junction with an ATV road heading northeast upslope. Follow the ATV road for 500 metres to where a single-track trail leaves the road on the left heading north. Follow the trail as it climbs very steeply over the next 1.2 km to reach Racehorse Shoulder at 2255m, the highest point on the entire HRT with impressive views in all directions. The trail has an alpine feel as it descends equally steeply on the north side of the saddle next to a lovely larch forest, and in 1.4 km reaches a junction with an ATV road in an alpine basin at 1980m. An emergency shelter is located 3.5 km east down this road.
The trail continues for 700 metres across the basin and into the forest before starting a steep climb. Over the next 1.5 km, ascend several switchbacks climbing to the saddle between Hail Ridge and the main divide at 2165m. Descend more gently on the north side of the saddle, 1.3 km down to an old road at 2000m in an old cutblock in the open basin below the huge headwall of the divide. Follow the old road for 800 metres as it curves northward to reach a signed trail junction. First Creek campground is 200 metres off route to the right (northeast). The HRT follows the trail left (northwest), across the First Creek Bridge, for 1.3 km as it ascends along the eastern edge of an old cutblock until the trail enters the forest at 1980m. In another 700 metres of steady climbing, the trail reaches the saddle at 2060m. A nice rest stop with an excellent view lies slightly off route, 100 metres west of the saddle.
The trail continues northeast, contouring around the east side of Domke Ridge, reaching a high point of 2185m in 1.3 km. Regain the crest of the ridge and follow it for 1.1 km descending gradually to 2045m at a point where the trail drops sharply off the east side of the ridge into the forest. Descend a series of switchbacks over the next 1.9 km to a junction with an ATV road at 1815m. Follow the ATV road west for 400 metres to a ford of North Racehorse Creek. Good camping exists on a flat bench on the north side of the creek.
Leaving the creek, stay left at a junction and follow the ATV road for 150 metres to where a signed single-track trail leaves the road to enter the forest. Follow the trail as it climbs gradually through thick forest. In 1.3 km cross an ATV track and continue climbing for another 900 metres before levelling out around 1990m. For the next 1.8 km, the trail contours between 1980m and 2020m with good views of Gould Dome and Tornado Mountain to the north. The trail then descends 100m to reach an old ATV track in 750 metres.
Follow the ATV track for 1 km to a junction. Stay left (north) at the junction and descend slightly to cross Fred Bridge. Continue following an ATV road northeast for 2.4 km to a junction with an old logging road at 1715m. Good camping next to Dutch Creek exists 200 metres down the road to the right. The HRT continues left (northwest) following the old road for 4.2 km, climbing gradually through several old cutblocks until it ends at 1910m. The trail briefly turns northeast before it begins following an old seismic line north. In 900 metres, the trail turns sharply east into the forest before descending 60m over 400 metres to reach the Dutch Creek Bridge (b13). Just beyond the bridge, the HRT reconnects with the original GDT as it descends from North Fork Pass.