The Swift Creek Trail is Valemount’s best short hike in my opinion, partly because it is so accessible from town and it’s so scenic.
After June flooding bust the banks of Swift Creek and washed out part of the trail, hikers may be wondering how this hike is still possible. Even though most of the creek-side trail has been repaired, workers are still using heavy machinery to fix the banks so it’s important to stay clear. That said, it’s possible to bypass this stretch by walking to the north end of Main. St. (about 1km past the bridge over the creek) until you reach a dead end. At that point, you’ll see the Swift Creek Trail sign which has been relocated. Take the trail until you reach the creek and then follow the steep path to your left. At the top of this ridge is a gorgeous view of Canoe Mountain, the creek.
The trail meanders through different forest types, from short pine to large cedar and aspen. Watch for mushrooms, and delicate wild flowers. After crossing a warped wooden bridge (damaged from the flooding) you’ll discover several groves of very old cedar trees. These rival the trees found in the ancient interior cedar-hemlock rainforest, about two hours west of Valemount. Here it takes only an hour of walking!
The trail is a loop that totals about 10km. It’s actually more like a horseshoe – at the top of the trail you’ll get spit out onto 5-mile road and need to walk down to Main St. again. Check out the view from the TV towers on your way down – the best views of the village surrounded by mountains.
Mosquitoes will feast on you if you smell nice and show them lots of skin – I highly recommend a bug net that covers your head and shoulders, and wearing pants. In early spring and late fall, the bugs are hardly noticeable and the trail still gorgeous.