Hanging Valley is a fairly level, but longer snowshoe in a quiet part of Lac ud Bois Provincial Protected Area/Nature Conservancy Lands. The route starts at Lc du Bois and follows the north shore track to the west end of the lake. A double track goes through a gap between hills into a long back valley. Hanging Valley runs from this point west to bluffs overlooking Tranquille Creek. The route to the end of the double track is 5.5km, ending in a meadow, a good place for lunch and a rest.
The area was homsteaded over 100 years ago and some of the pastures are still cleared of trees, though aspens have now grown in the valley bottom along the route. A sawmill was set up at the west end of the lake and we can still find evidence of lumber tailings and trenching. The hills above were horse-logged, but trees have now grown back on the slopes of Opax Mountain and Wheeler Mountain. The lava cliffs of Opax Mountain run 4km down the valley, 1000 feet above the valley. The valley narrows off at several spots, following a small creek west. The creek tumbles over a cliff at the far west end in a seasonal waterfall. Although we are not far from Tranquille River at the west end, there are steep drop-offs and a final waterfall drops down to the river. It would be possible to scramble down, but it would be a hard route, a ford of the river, and a hard scramble back out the other side, not worth our effort. There are better routes down to the slot canyons and hoodoos. There is an option to follow tracks all the way down to Tranquille, the subject of another post for this spring.
We set track in the snow all the way down, stomping it in fully for those who may follow. Hanging Valley is a nice route for snowshoers, but we have also run, hiked, or biked this area over all 4 seasons.
Access and Route:
- Drive north on the Lac Du Bois Road and park across the road from the lake.
- In winter, we can snowshoe across the lake or we can follow the double track on the north shore
- Follow the double track down the valley
- There are side tracks – one going up Opax and two going up Wheeler, both best left to another day
- Continue to the end of the valley if you have time and return by the same route
- The return route is 11km, about 3.5 hours of snowshoeing