Mara Canyon Ramble – Kamloops Trails
Posted on: May 4, 2019 9:26 pm
by: Doug Smith
The Mara Canyon Trail is sometimes called the Cinnamon Ridge Trail or the Hoodoos Trail. the trail is in Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area (BC Parks) but the trailhead is problematic because of the railway line. Many hikers park on the main road then cross the tracks, but this is not a legal crossing and some people have been fined for going this way. Other hikers have been stranded behind a parked train. The best route is to cross the railroad in your vehicle at the level crossing on a short side road (Ord Road) one kilometer earlier (east). Cross the tracks and turn left, following the dirt road to the end. The road is not maintained and can be muddy, but is suitable for most vehicles, although caution must be taken. At the turnaround area, the trail starts a little uphill from the parking pullouts. From there the route winds through sagebrush and there are several side trails, but continue to point toward the mouth of the canyon. The route into the canyon requires a short climb up a rocky slope to a ridge, then descends down through a small grove of Rocky Mountain junipers to the bottom of the canyon. From there, the route follows the canyon, sometimes in the water course, which is usually mostly dry and sometimes on the bank above.
Ragged cliffs, hoodoos, towers, and erosion features are the highlights of this unique “trail.” Some scrambling is usually required at various points on the way up.
A number of volcanic rock features can be spotted along the route. After about 0.7 km, the route goes through a narrow sculpted canyon (wider than a slot canyon, but still a unique section).
The hike through the canyon itself is about one kilometer, but it is a slow hike with lots to see. A few photos, some interpretations of my own photos are shared here. Click an image for a larger view and a caption.
At the end of the canyon section, the area opens up to steep slopes below the final pyramid of Mara Mountain. Our route went over a high shoulder on the right side, then we had lunch at a viewpoint.
A single track trail winds down the ridge with some steep sections and some slippery surfaces, all requiring good boots and some extra care. The loop route is only 5.2 km but it will take about 2.5 hours. This is one of the best hikes in the region, but can be a bit of a challenge, especially for inexperienced or unprepared hikers. There are other routes on Mara Mountain inviting hikers to explore the rugged terrain on each side.