Jura Canyon Playground

Jura Creek Canyon is an amazing place to take young children. The fun part of the first canyon is just minutes away from the trailhead, so even the youngest, smallest feet can make it there. And when you get there… well, let’s just say it’s the ultimate playground!

Rock twists and turns, sculpted smooth by the passage of water through weaknesses in the rock over a millennia. Sunlight filters through, where it can, from the narrow opening above. The water is never deep (outside of spring run off time), and keeping feet dry becomes a fun game that encourages kids (and the kids inside every adult that goes there!) to use their bodies in new found ways, balancing on logs, doing the splits from wall to wall, making human bridges across water channels. The walls are close and ever so fun.

Should you have intrepid hikers with you, you can follow the stream once you emerge from the canyon through a wide open, rock filled valley for a few kilometres until you reach a second canyon. Hemmed in by a huge piece of strong slab rock, there is a crack ledge that makes for really fun balancing and climbing.

We’ve been to these canyons a few times now, and hiked pretty far up Jura Creek and into the mountains there. There are tons of fossils and lots of rocks to poke about and explore, once you’re about 7km in (that’s above both canyons). And there are fun scramble spots. It is challenging hiking, only because there is never a flat trail to walk along so you are on uneven ground the entire time: you simply pick your way through the stream debris, criss crossing the water back and forth, balancing on rocks and boulders, avoiding log jams and taking in the huge landscape.

One other thing…. the times we’ve been there, there’s been not a soul in sight. We’ve had the entire place to ourselves to romp and play and explore. It truly is a hidden gem. Come along and see for yourself (these photos are a collection culled from a few times that we’ve been there)….

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The entrance to the canyon is a short walk up the stream from the highway.
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You can’t miss it.
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The hardest part is simply the uneven footing.
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It twists and turns and in June, has the barest of trickles of water running through it.
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You still might want gaiters on though!
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Feet do get wet!
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Navigating terrain like this is fabulous for improving your balance (or stretching the body awareness of your children!).
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See what I mean? Even as a young adult, the inner kid can’t resist testing out the opportunities that present themselves!
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(Our son, seeing if there’s something “worth” climbing there.)
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The rock is so perfectly sculpted.
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I love the feeling of being hemmed in like this, the sense of adventure that comes from travelling through a crack!

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Our son makes a game of keeping his feet dry….
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And goes from one extreme…
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… to another!
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Wet feet or dry, it is fun, no matter what, to venture through this amazing canyon.
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(They’re up on a boulder… I didn’t quite make it there in time!)
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The first canyon is fairly short, and in no time you’re up top. Nothing sketchy having passed.
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Should you venture farther up stream, you come out of the first canyon here.
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It’s simply a matter of following the water upstream from here on in.
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There’s nothing challenging, and lots of opportunities to stop and play and discover (if you’re there with young kids… or adults, young at heart!).
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There’s a monster cairn upstream.
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And lots of flowers, along the banks of the stream.
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After awhile, you come to the second canyon.
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One of its sides is a gigantic piece of slab… and it has a little ledge that makes for some very fun (and not sketchy) scrambling.
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Even that piece of slab gets eroded by the water… water always finds a way.
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As you can see, the upper canyon has lots of fun spots to explore.

There is one part where you need to climb a smidge… so young kids will need a boost here, if they’ve made it up this far…..

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But you come out in a really neat place.
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Up top, the valley gets narrower and more rugged.
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There are big boulders (perfect for tea breaks)….
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… and massive boulders that are simply fun to climb!

Fossils and flowers abound.

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One time, we explored this dry creek bed that flowed into the larger valley that we’d come up through.
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It had some great scramble spots.
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Better yet, we had the whole place to ourselves.
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It took a little work getting up there though! Imagine the forces that bring this volume of rock down and move it through here!
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Coming back down wasn’t too bad.
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Back in 2016 we left a message for those who followed in our footsteps… did anyone see it? It’s no doubt been erased by the meltwaters and avalanches of the season that followed.
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From our family to yours… get out there and explore! Never stop playing!

Should you go… Jura Canyon is tucked off the 1A, across from the Graymont cement plant just outside of Exshaw. Just park at the parking lot by the plant’s entry gate, and walk across the road. You can walk up the creek bed, or take any of the dirt tracks to the east… they all lead you there. Find the stream bed, and you can’t miss it. Hiking With Barry has gone in the winter… something I clearly need to experience!

3 Comments on “Jura Canyon Playground

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