This pleasant 8 km loop starts at the edge of McQueen Lake, then follows the Grasslands Community Trail, but instead of dropping into McQueen Creek, we turn south onto the open grassland slopes of Sagittata Hill, and we contour around the hill back to the upper grasslands.
When school is in session and/or children are in the McQueen Lake Environmental Education Center, we take a route outside the property boundary. During summer holidays we take the route to the Day Center, then over to the fenceline for the trailhead/start of the Grasslands Community Trail. We pass by an upper grasslands pond before entering the forest.
Right before the trail takes a sharp left to descend down to the creek bridge, we turn right instead, exiting the forest onto a small bench on the east side of the hill. From there we manage our elevation by contouring around the steep slopes of the hill. On the southeast corner is a small hill, a good spot for a break with a view down to the Long Lake valley.
There is one rusty old fence to cross, a legacy item from the land transfer from the former private landowners and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. If cattle are in the area, we give them a wide berth, passing quietly, leaving no trace. We cross the fence carefully and climb the steep slopes over the southwest shoulder of the hill. Most of the wildflowers are gone for another year, but some chicory is in bloom in August.
The old route through the grasslands is hard to spot now. With restricted access to vehicles, the double tracks are returning to their natural state. We contour around aspen groves in the Nature Conservancy lands to the old track and make our way back to the Lac du Bois Road.
This is a route for hikers only, much of it off-trail, so some navigation is required. We have also done this loop on snowshoes (article) and will do it again.