Elbow Lake & Opal Range Tour

60 minute Kananaskis helicopter tour and helicopter flights in the K-country

L R HELICOPTERS’ tours offer a view of Alberta Kananaskis country that few people are able to enjoy.

Known locally as “K-Country”, this area is home to a variety of wildlife species, so be sure to have your camera ready! This unique landscape is unlike any other as it is filled with lakes and rivers that flow through breath taking valleys created by the Rocky Mountains. Get up close and personal to Moose Mountain for a view the whole family will love. Yet another glorious sight is Elbow Falls. Waterfalls are one thing from the ground, but something else entirely from 1000 feet above! Join us on this tour for a memory that will last a life time.

The tour of the Elbow Lake and Opal Range involves a 60-minute loop that begins as you head west into the Rocky Mountains, a truly amazing view in itself. As you reach Bragg Creek via Red Wood Meadows, just west of Calgary, your pilot will take you along the banks of the Elbow River, where you can view the abundant vegetation and wildlife in the area. Following the river, the Elbow Falls will soon come into view, an amazing climax to your tour.

Your pilot will fly over the falls allowing you to take in all of its beauty before turning south-west toward forget me not pond and the Elbow River. Following canyons and steep valleys you will reach the Sheep Lakes and finally the Elbow Lake, located on the Elbow Pass at 6900 Feet.

Leaving behind the Rae Glacier (last existing glacier in the K-country) we will climb to 11,000 feet above sea level riding the Opal Range northbound. An astonishing view over the Kananskis lakes to the west, K-country to the east and the Rockies to the north-west.

Over Canyon Creek we will turn east to will fly over the Mount McDougall Memorial on Powderface Trail. The tour continues to Moose Mountain at 8000 feet above sea level, one of the highest look out towers in Alberta, before continuing on to Moose Flats.

It’s called Moose Flats for a reason; moose are often spotted in this area, so have your cameras ready! As a bonus, on the return trip to Springbank you will fly over the famous movie set originally constructed for the 1994 film Legends of the Fall Starring Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins. The set is still in use today and most recently in film “The Assassination of Jessie James”.

Your L R HELICOPTERS’ Kananaskis tour will then conclude back at our base in Springbank. We are sure you will never look at Southern Alberta the same way again.

Quick facts:

Bragg Creek

  • Named after Albert Warren Bragg from Collingwood Nova Scotia who homesteaded in the area in 1894
  • Community was established between a forestry reserve, the Sarcee Indian reserve and a provincial Park
  • Ranching was the original primary economic generator
  • Bragg Creek was featured in films “Storm” and “Killer Image” both directed by david Winning
  • Aired the TV show “North of 60” which was mainly filmed in Bragg
  • In 2005 Bragg Creek was flooded and many of the buildings were damaged
  • 595 populations in 2011

Elbow River

  • Runs through several features including Allen Bill Pond, Forget me not Pond, Elbow Falls
  • Sections of the river are closed to fishing or are catch and release waters only
  • In 2005 the flooding was so severe the water flowed over the Glenmore Dam in Calgary
  • In 2005 1500 Calgarians were evacuated however in 2013 tens of thousands were evacuated
  • Originates from Elbow Lake in the Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park
  • Is one of 2 of Calgary’s chief drinking water sources
  • Merges with the Bow River in Calgary just west of the Zoo
  • Fort Calgary is located at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers.
  • Total length 120km and drains an area of over 1200 square km

Elbow Falls

  • Small set of waterfalls along the Elbow River west of Bragg creek
  • In dry season the falls reach a height of 6 m while in June the river fills up and the falls in only 3m
  • Overnight camping and hiking are available at several nearby camp grounds
  • After the 2013 floods the day use area was destroyed

Elbow Lake

  • Elbow Lake is a lake located in the Elbow Pass north of the Highwood pass in Kananaskis Country in Alberta, Canada. Elbow Lake lies at an elevation of 2,120 m and is the headwater of the Elbow River.

CL Ranch

  • On the banks of Jumping Pound Creek
  • Established 1887 by Richard Copithorne who immigrated from Ireland
  • A movie set for “Legend of the Falls” and “the Assassination of Jessie James”

Kananaskis Lakes

  • Upper Kananaskis Lake is a natural lake that was turned into a reservoir in Kananaskis Country in Alberta, Canada.
  • Upper Kananaskis Lake, along with the Lower Kananaskis Lake, is located in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park .
  • The lake is part of a series of natural and manmade lakes in the Kananaskis and Bow Valleys used for hydroelectric power, flood control, and water reserves for the Bow River water users
  • such as the city of Calgary.
  • The lake is also used for recreational activities, with hiking paths surrounding the lake (and cross-country skiing trails in the winter).

Mount McDougall Memorial on Powderface Trail

  • On August 14, 1941 an Avro Anson twin-engined training aircraft from No. 3 Service Flying Training School crashed into the east side of Mount McDougall. Two men died during an instrument flight training exercise when their plane got trapped in by mountains surrounding Canyon Creek. LAC Frederick William Greenfield of Madison, Saskatchewan and Flying Officer Ian Macdonnell Sutherland-Brown of Victoria, B.C. were killed. Another airman, LAC McGruther survived the accident and was rescued by ground forces made up of RCAF personnel and a civilian ground crew. They were part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan that operated a flight training base in Jumpingpound. McGruther later went on to serve in Europe in World War II.
  • Doug Boyd of #10 Repair Depot assisted in the recovery of the aircraft and wrote, “The CO of the flying school said that the Anson would have to stay in the bush, but our C/O bet him a bottle of scotch that ‘his boys’ could get it out and won. I hope he got a good hangover out of it as it was no picnic getting the wreck down the mountain.” The salvagers had to trek thirty miles in from their base camp to reach the site. (from “RCAF at War” by Larry Milberry).
  • In June, 1990, a memorial was erected on the Powderface Trail in Kananaskis Country. The plaque reads as follows,
  • “ON AUGUST 14, 1941 AN AVRO ANSON TRAINING AIRCRAFT FROM No. 3 SERVICE FLYING TRAINING SCHOOL CALGARY CRASHED ON MOUNT McDOUGALL, ABOUT 10 KM WEST OF THIS SITE. THE LIVES OF FLYING OFFICER I.M. SUTHERLAND-BROWN AND LEADING AIRCRAFTSMAN F.W. GREENFIELD WERE LOST. LEADING AIRCRAFTSMAN A.M.R. McGRUTHER WAS INJURED BUT SURVIVED THE ACCIDENT. THE DEDICATION CEREMONY WAS HELD NOVEMBER 10, 1989. THIS PLAQUE WAS UNVEILED BY SQUADRON LEADER A.M.R. (SANDY) McGRUTHER”.

 

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