Cranberry Marsh/Starratt Wildlife Management Area (loop) (#2 on hiking map)
- Difficulty: Easy
- Warnings: Check social media feeds below for current trail status updates A section of the Cranberry Marsh trail is closed for the next week (September 12-19) for maintenance. Access via the Best Western Plus Valemount Inn & Suites is not available and both viewing towers are not accessible. The rest of the trail is open (boardwalk).
- Wheelchair accessible: yes, from the hotel parking lot to the dyke and along the dyke
- High-clearance 4×4 advised to access trailhead? No
- Best seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter (ski/snowshoe)
- Distance: loop is 3.4 miles/5.5 km
- Approx. time: 2hrs return
- Elevation gain: 30m/100ft (including viewing towers)
- Steepest grade: 20+%
- Viewpoints: from viewing towers, the dyke, and the parking lot near the north-east side
- Geocache points Unknown
- Closest bathroom/outhouse: Best Western Hotel (hotel, lounge or restaurant customers only) or Visitor Info Centre
- Cell service? Signal in most areas (not all service providers cover the Robson Valley!).
- Gear to bring: Bring 0.5 litres water per person and binoculars or a telephoto lens
- How to access/where to park: 1) Park in the designated lot in front of the Best Western Hotel between the hotel and the highway. Turn-off from the highway is the same as the one you’d use to enter the hotel parking lot. You’ll see trailhead information at the start of the trail. Google Directions 2) Find this trail from downtown by turning down Ash St and following this road until it reaches a dead end. Park here and enter the trail. On your right hand side will be a chain link fence and sewage treatment plant. This route is also walkable. Google Directions
- Best Parts: The wildlife viewing is incredible especially in springtime – birds, ducks, muskrats, beavers, dragonflies to name just a few. There is also great berry picking to be had in late summer. You can ski or snowshoe the trail in winter. But watch out, bears are sometimes spotted along this trail during spring and summer. Be sure to make lots of noise so you don’t surprise them.
- Worst Parts: If the weather has been wet recently, some parts of the trail may be mucky. The mosquitoes can also be bad during the summertime – but nothing a little mosquito spray or net shirt can’t handle.
The Cranberry Marsh or the Starratt Wildlife Management Area is a stunning nature haven – birds, ducks, muskrats, beavers, dragonflies make their home here. There is great berry picking in late summer. You can ski or snowshoe the trail in winter. The beginning of this great trail (from the Best Western) is great for someone with limited mobility. The best part is the dyke which is located just 50 feet or so from the Best Western parking lot. From here, you can stroll along the dyke, climb the viewing tower and see the nesting islands from above, or do the entire loop which will take just under 2 hours at a moderate pace. A new boardwalk finished in December 2015 lets you get a closer look at the marsh on the eastern side.
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Elevation change profile (metres and km). Click to expand.
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