Now that summer has officially come to a close, and fall is upon us, it is the most beautiful time to go for a long walk around town.
This is made easy with the Rotary Trail network, seven-kilometres of trails that takes you along the scenic river, through the woods, and to a great viewpoint that overlooks Reflection Lake.
It is bear season, so it is important to be alert while walking, but during the daytime these trails are popular to use, so the chances of running into a bear are probably slim. Stay alert in the evening or early mornings though, when bears are most active.
Where you start this journey is completely up to you. From downtown in Spirit Square, you can cross the pedestrian bridge and make the decision of going left or right. For myself, I live on the other side of town, and begin the trek by heading up the Reflection Lake lookout part of the journey. The trail is broken up in a few parts by streets, so this portion begins at the far end of Alexander Park, and takes a short climb up a well maintained trail that follows along an old part of the cemetery through a nicely treed section. At the top of the climb (this whole trail is easy, with a few short steep parts), the trail opens up on top of the giant hill that overlooks Reflection Lake. The views are stunning, and you can see quite a way down the Valley heading south.
If you continue the trail, it takes a turn and crosses Spruce Drive before heading back through a forested area that will take you alongside Keith King Memorial Park. There are washrooms here if you need, because the walk is a bit long and it might be a while before you reach the next public rest rooms. Behind the ball diamonds, the trail goes into a more heavily wooded area, descending down a steep hill (I like going this direction because then you don’t have to climb up this part).
Down the hill, you will round a corner as you approach the Kicking Horse River. To your right, there is a small beach that is the perfect place to stop for a snack. The trail continues left along the river toward downtown. Crossing at the pedestrian crosswalk, it continues alongside some apartment buildings, past the picturesque pedestrian bridge, and follows alongside the river through a residential area before turning across Fischer Road into a quieter section of the trail. This part follows the train tracks, and can be noisy at times, but when there aren’t trains going by it is quiet and peaceful.
The fall colours are brilliant at this time of year, and the sweltering heat and smoke has subsided, so it is the perfect time to check out the Rotary Trail. And, it has a “choose your own adventure” feel to it, because it doesn’t matter where you start, and you don’t have to do the entire thing. This “totally Golden” thing to do is all about the journey.