Trail Name: Benchlands – Ranger Bob Loop
Distance: 3.6 km
Time: About 1 hour
Cell Service: Yes
Trail: The Benchlands trail is easy, wide and double track. The Ranger Bob trail is a little more narrow and single track but still as easy.
Highlights: This trail is one of many in the Dallas-Barnhartvale Nature Park. It’s easy, simple to follow, and offers amazing views of the Thompson Valley!
There are two main trailheads to access this network of trails, one in Barnhartvale and another in Dallas. This particular hike begins in Barnhartvale, however directions to both trails heads are provided below. With the exception of the following directions to both trailheads, the remainder of this post will focus on access from Barnhartvale.
To get there: Head East along the Trans-Canada Hwy. Take exit 384, the Dallas Dr /Barnhartvale Rd exit. At the roundabout, take the second exit to stay on Dallas Drive. In 500m turn right onto Barnhartvale Rd. Follow this road for about 3.1Km and then turn left on Eliza Rd (the street sign is partially hidden by a lamp post and can easily be missed). The parking area is just ahead on the right. (Alternate trailhead parking: At the roundabout, take the second exit and continue on Dallas Dr. In 2.2km turn right on Mountview Dr. The trailhead is in 40m at the end of the road. Get directions from Google to the Barnhartvale trailhead here.
As you enter the parking lot, you will pass the trailhead right at the beginning. This particular 3.6km hike followed the Benchlands trail into the park. Roughly 1.5km in, you’ll come across the Bent Gate. This provides access to the Blackwell Trail network. Continue following Benchlands trail until the end where you’ll reach a plateau high above the Dallas neighbourhood. Be extremely cautious of the edge while you enjoy the beautiful scenery this viewpoint has to offer.
From the viewpoint, we turned around and headed back up the Benchlands trail but turned right onto the Ranger Bob trail. If you follow this trail, it leads to a second viewpoint and a nice bench for another rest. From here, the trail winds back up through the forest and back to the parking lot.
We really enjoyed this trail and the park. There is something for everyone with trails of varying difficulties and the Blackwell trails next door. Be sure to bring water with you in the summer as the trail is partly out in the open grasslands. Keep in mind this area is operated by the city and so certain by-laws do apply. It is an off-leash dog friendly park, however it is expected that you clean up after your dog. Enjoy the trails!