The Bee Line and Wycliffe Butte, Cranbrook, BC 6/16-17/22

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The Bee Line and Wycliffe Butte, Cranbrook, BC 6/16-17/22

Post by pdxalex » June 20th, 2022, 12:30 pm

This is a little out of the normal range of hikes described on this site but ... my wife and I drove to Cranbrook for a few days to visit our son. If you haven't been there, the town is in SE British Columbia with the Purcell Range to the west and the Rockies to the north and east. There are many, many miles of hiking trails available to explore. Since no one wanted to go on an adventure with me in the mountains, we opted for fairly short hikes that offered great views, a very good bang to buck ratio.

The Bee Line
This is a loop trail (about 3 miles) in the Cranbrook Community Forest, over 5000 acres of Crown land with a network of hiking and biking trails. The trail head is not marked. You start about 3-4 miles east of town on highway 95 at the first turnout/rest area on the south side of the road. There is a short trail that drops down to a rails to trails biking trail, turn left and go about 100 yards to the first trail on the right. There are no signs at the turns. We opted to go counter-clockwise where we were greeted with only sign on the hike. The trail crosses decommissioned roads and bike trails but so long as you follow orange diamond trail markers you'll make it to the top. It passes through multiple meadows with flowers in bloom. After about a mile and a quarter, you're on top of the unnamed hill with a beautiful view of Rockies, particularly Fisher Peak and "the Steeples". The trail is in good shape. It is fairly steep in some sections so poles are a good tool to have.
bee line 3.jpg
Fisher Peak
Fisher Peak.jpg
Fisher Peak in the center and the Steeples trail off to the right
Fisher Peak & The Steeples.jpg
View west over Cranbrook
bee line to cranbrook.jpg
Wycliffe Buttes
This trail is a short (2 miles round trip) out & back just off of highway 95A on the way to Kimberley. The trailhead is across from a parking lot on Stirton Road. The lot is fenced and has a sign describing the development of the conservation area surrounding the buttes. This hike is completely exposed. There are a few pines at the top but they offer little shelter or shade. The trail follows a power line for maybe 2/3 of a mile at which point the turn for the final, steady climb to the rocky buttes is apparent. The meadows are filled with wildflowers and birds. From the buttes you can see the Rockies to the east and north. The short climb is a little steep but worth the effort. There are even a few weathered wooden benches at the top so you can rest and soak up the view.

The destination in the distance
the buttes.jpg
The last stretch to the top
up the buttes.jpg
Fisher Peak & the Steeples to the east
wycliffe butte.jpg
Looking north toward Kimberley
looking toward the st marys river gap.jpg

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Re: The Bee Line and Wycliffe Butte, Cranbrook, BC 6/16-17/22

Post by sgyoung » June 20th, 2022, 10:08 pm

Pretty sweet pay off for relatively short hikes! Thanks for this report. The local knowledge about finding the bee line trail will come in handy if I'm ever in the area; plus I bet someone will google the trail looking for info and find this helpful report.

Also interesting to learn more about the mountains to our north. It's pretty cool that BC contains the upper reaches of the Cascades while also being home to the Rockies. I'm curious to learn more too, e.g., why the BC coast range is considered geologically distinct from the Cascades.

Anyway, thanks for taking the to write this up and post beautiful photos!

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