Jack’s Trail follows the downhill flow of Hop Ranch Creek from Alice Lake. It is a cornerstone of the maze of trails in the Highlands area. Jack’s Trail has been built on the old logging railroad beds and retired forest service roads.
These are the beneficial remains of the hectic logging operations from 1930 to 1960. This long established and popular trail is pleasantly straightforward and easy underfoot. Being at a lower elevation means that the infrequent snowfalls do not last long and results in this trail being in use year round. It can be muddy in the lower section after a heavy rain, but it is still good to travel.
The trail is great for initiating new hikers and bikers. Although the trail is single track, it is fairly wide and has lots of two-way traffic. Bikers will enjoy the smooth downhill flow, while hikers and runners do enjoy the steady gradients going uphill. Keep your eyes open for traffic in both directions, and be aware that you can encounter all types of non-motorized traffic, including wildlife. Bears, cougars and bobcats have been frequent visitors in this area. A belligerent bobcat stalked pets along this trail in 2013. An aggressive cougar caused a trail closure period in 2011, and cougar sightings have been reported at least twice in the past month. Pets need to be on a leash and not allowed to chase wildlife; they could lead a mad animal back to you.
Wildlife conservation officers will issue closure notices as required. Report sightings of dangerous wildlife on the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277 or #7277.
The small forest fire of May 7 and 8 of this year was a timely reminder to be extra careful with any igniters. Squamish’s fire department and B.C. wildfire crews took two days to carefully overhaul this fire and remove smouldering, hazardous material. Some trees had to be felled and the trail was closed until these dangerous tasks were completed.
We need to be extra careful in the forests closely surrounding our town. Any forest fire can rapidly get out of control when the heavy inflow/outflow winds start blowing. A Fort McMurray situation would be deadly in our confined locality. It is an individual’s personal responsibility to know the current fire bans, restrictions and live fire areas. Up-to-date information is available at 1-888- 336-7378 and on the B.C. Wildfire website. Report all wild fires to 1-800-663-5555 or #5555.
Jack’s Trail is frequently in use for bike races and running competitions. Two examples are the B.C. Bike Race will be here July 12 and the Squamish 50 cross-country run scheduled for Aug. 20 and 21.
Heavier trail use, damage to sensitive terrain, relentless encroachment of vegetation and creeping urbanization all make maintenance more difficult. Municipal employees are busy with commuter trails and links to schools. This leaves the other 90 per cent, the recreational trails, to be cared for by volunteers.
Our town has a long history of caring for the vast network of recreational trails, and the volunteers do struggle mightily to keep our trails in good condition. Please help by not creating shortcuts or braiding, and do carry out all garbage, even if it is not yours. Consider helping by volunteering with STS, SORCA, SDBA, SVEA, Run Squamish, the Squamish Triathlon or any group involved with healthier lifestyle. Voice your concerns about trail issues.
A small community park exists at the northern end of Condor Road in the Highlands. This is Jack’s Trail park and by taking the Lumberjack Trail west from this park, you can join Jack’s Trail above Coho Park. All community parks in Squamish are non-smoking zones regulated by Bylaw 2042. There is only limited parking at this end of Condor Road.