Soda Creek Boulders
established summer 2019
ELEVATOR BLUFF and other random rocks
This dark rock bluff that sits atop a meadowy hillside, is something to do in the area for a few hours alongside the other random boulders scattered about yet lower down all within the same general area. Not a destination but a fun time killer. A boulder pad is still recommended. The views of Beehive Mtn to the NW are pretty sweet.
To get to this very remote area of the Rockies either approach from the north or the south: from the north, drive south from Longview and a few kilometres before Chain Lakes Provincial Park, take the gravel road #532 off to the west and into Kananaskis Country. This is the same road as for Indian Graves PRA and Plateau Mountain. At a signed junction go left or south on the Forestry Trunk Road for maybe 24km (free maps – Livingstone Public Land Use Zone – for can be found at various kiosks in the area) and at a T-intersection, turn right(west) onto the Soda Creek Road that is for Honeymoon Creek PRA.
Follow this gravel road west, then north roughly about a half hour unit you pass the posted Honeymoon Creek Provincial Recreation Area. It is maybe 1-2km further north down the Soda Creek Road but this is only a guess. As the dark bluff is hard to see from any aspect of the road, the best indication is that after the road goes north, then makes a curve west, then at another curve back north, here is an open area where a massive logjam in the river can easily be seen. From alone this stretch of road the bluff can barely be seen high atop a meadowy hill to the north. If the road takes a slight rise over a bridge you have gone too far.
From the south: from the Maycroft junction and bridge on Hwy #22, turn west onto the Livingstone Gap road that meanders through grazing land and eventually turns to gravel closer to the mountains. Drive through ‘The Gap’ and at T-intersection, go north on the Forestry Trunk Road, passing Dutch Creek PRA and some time later turn left(west) onto the Soda Creek Road and follow the same directions as for the north way in. Soda Creek Road has seasonal closures best to check with the fee map or the posted signage.
There is an abundant amount of established random camping spots along this road but find a safe place to park and near where the river logjam is, go into the woods to the east and pick up an obvious animal trail that parallels the road somewhat. Find the lowest snout of the subtle ridge about 50m further east into the woods and hike up a short steep bit of animal trail where there is a few mossy vegetated rocks, and eventually the ground is a bit sandy until your in an open meadow and small dark single boulder. High up to the east should be a tiny scruffy spine of rock. Don’t head that way, but go across the meadows west edge and up along the edge of the forest. You will pass three separate groups of boulders just barely in the forest and hard to spot from afar (the 3rd group is level altitude with the ugly spine of rock out to the east). Continue up the open meadow about 5 minutes more until you get to the west facing Elevator Bluff. Wonderful view of the Elevators, Mount Lyall and Beehive Mountain. The forest above the bluff is a pleasant place to walk about in or have a picnic.
It is not recommended to descent the forest and into the valley to the north where a cool boulder may be spotted and be tempting to head to. If you want to check out his wild boulder that is a doppelgänger of Yamnuska’s Fairy Boulder, then continue driving north on the Soda Creek Road over the bridge and soon after the east hillside is a very large open clearcut. From the road, hike up the right side of this massive meadow/cutblock eventually catching a good animal trail on the sidehill up the valley that overlooks a canyon-creek which the bridge mentioned earlier goes over. The dark doppelgänger boulder is obvious maybe 50-100m above the animal tail and a good half hour from the car. Please note that grades are only a guess.
Further boulders in the area to possibly check out can be found just above the Soda Creek Road not too far south of where the river logjams area but these are best found by walking down the road and spotting a few boulders not 50m from the road. Find an animal trail that leads to the first one, then higher up the meadow are various others spread about.(Garden Boulders)
The last boulders to mention and likely the best along this section of the Soda Creek Road is found closer to Honeymoon PRA where the road has a steep descent on the north side(do not park here very dangerous). The scruffy Roadside Rock is 5m from the road, and is where to enter the forest. The hidden backside is more private and has some fun little problems. From this boulder walk up into the forest and go a bit south and up to an even better fun boulder. Another way of finding this fun boulder is by scooting north down the ATV trail #309 from the road a few minutes until its seen down to the left.