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The Sugar Mama  – Sugar Daddy Hike Near Bragg Creek

The Sugar Mama – Sugar Daddy Hike near Bragg Creek

The Sugar Mama – Sugar Daddy hike is part of a loop that starts at the Allen Bill parking lot off Highway 66 near Bragg Creek, Alberta. It’s a great shoulder-season or winter hike that delivers a workout because of its length. But I’d give it a pass in the summer (unless you bike it) when you get up into the mountains at higher elevations.

The full loop is just under 14 kilometres long and is made up of short sections of the Elbow, Snagmore, Strange Brew, and Bobcat trails along with 4.0 kilometres on the Sugar Daddy trail and 3.3 kilometres on the Sugar Mama trail. There is an elevation gain of approximately 345 metres of the Sugar Mama hike.

These loop trails are meant to be shared with mountain bikers. Even though the trail was quite icy in early March, there were plenty of bikers, especially on the Strange Brew connector. Be prepared to pull over at a moment’s notice.

The Sugar Momma hike starts on the Elbow Trail
The Sugar Mama hike starts on the Elbow Trail

Details of the Sugar Mama hike 

There is signage on the Sugar Mama hike but some of it sure is faded. Take a photo of any map you see as it can be a little confusing if it’s your first time in the area. We tried to do the Sugar Mama hike a few years ago and ended up doing the Fullerton Loop – which fortunately wasn’t a hardship.

From the Allen Bill Trailhead walk over to the obvious trailhead and hop on the Elbow Trail. Take it to reach the intersection to the Fullerton loop in 1.2 easy kilometres. The Sugar Mama intersection is next, just another 100 – 200 metres long the main trail. 

We opted to continue another kilometre or so to reach the Sugar Daddy intersection with the plan to hike the loop in a counter-clockwise direction. Both directions would be fine as the elevation gain (345 metres) is not so dramatic that one way is better than the other.

You access the Sugar Daddy trail off of the Snagmore Trail. Although you only hike for about a kilometre on the Snagmore trail, it’s really lovely ridge walking with views of the Elbow River. Once we were on the Snagmore trail we didn’t see another soul for several hours. (No COVID-19 worries here.)

A lovely section of ridge walking on the Snagmore section of the Sugar Mama hike
A lovely section of ridge walking on the short Snagmore section of trail on route to the Sugar Daddy intersection
Lots of sun on these trails so they dry quickly
Lots of sun on these trails so they dry quickly
The Sugar Mama hike as a loop offers peek a boo views of the Elbow River
The Snagmore section offers peek a boo views of the Elbow River
Hiking through open forests is really lovely on the Sugar Mama hike
Really lovely hiking through open forests
The trails are popular with the mountain biking crowd
The trails are popular with the mountain biking crowd

The Sugar Daddy part of the hike

The Sugar Daddy section of trail was the longest – and hardest, but that was only because we opted to do loop counter-clockwise and so did 95% of the climbing on Sugar Daddy. This section of trail was made up of lovely open forest. Just 100 metres shy of the intersection with Strange Brew, we found mostly dry outcropping with a view in the sun for lunch.

Then it was onto Strange Brew which I have snowshoed several times from the West Bragg Creek area; I highly recommend it. But I had never noticed the intersection of the Sugar Daddy trail before. It was more climbing than I expected to reach my favourite viewpoint. And then lovely ridge walking to reach the Bobcat Trail.

Sugar Daddy intersection
Sugar Daddy intersection
Gentle switchbacks all the way up Sugar Daddy keeps it interesting
Gentle switchbacks all the way up Sugar Daddy keeps it interesting
Great views from the ridge section of the trail
The lovely ridge section on Strange Brew

The Bobcat – Sugar Mama hike

Once we hit the Bobcat trail, most of the hiking was downhill so our pace quickened. The dogs bounced back too and seemed to have more energy. 

You will eventually find signage on the Bobcat trail for the Sugar Mama trail. It took us about an hour once we were on it to get back to the car. It was more of the same – beautiful open forest, fresh pine scent and no one around.

On the Bobcat section of the trail
On the Bobcat section of the trail
The only signage for Sugar Momma hike
The only signage for Sugar Mama hike
Don't forget the icers if you do the Sugar Momma hike in winter
Don’t forget the icers if you do the Sugar Mama hike in winter
View from the Sugar Daddy trail
View from the Sugar Mama hike
The final section back to the car
The final section on Elbow Trail back to the Allen Bill Trailhead
Map of the Bragg Creek trails
Map of the Bragg Creek trails
A more detailed map showing the Sugar Mama hike
A more detailed map showing the Sugar Mama hike (blue trails are for cross-country skiing)

When you’re looking for a trail that delivers a moderate workout in winter with no avalanche danger this one is a great choice.

Finding the Allen Bill parking lot

From the intersection of Highway 22 and 66 just south of Bragg Creek, drive 9.8 kilometres southwest on Highway 66 to reach the well-signed Allen Bill Trailhead on the north side of the highway.

For trail conditions and updates check out this link on the Alberta Parks website.

Further reading on things to do in the Bragg Creek area

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

The Sugar Momma hike near Bragg Creek, Alberta

 

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

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