A loop route over the hill of Wheeler Mountain and back through Hanging Valley is a nice 7.75 km hike in the grasslands and forest. We followed the double track south from Lac du Bois, then at a clear junction climbed up the muddy double track onto a low shoulder of Wheeler Mountain.
We rounded the pond, then followed the double track through the forest coming to a pond at 1.7 km. Just past Wheeler Pond, an old double track bears west. There is a new fence there now, separating the Nature Conservancy of Canada from Lac du Bois Protected Area. We went through a gate and followed the track as it started to descend into Hanging Valley. Instead of following the old track down as we have done in the past, we followed the fenceline to the bottom. This is a newly cleared track, but it was fine for hiking.
At the bottom of the trail, we merged onto the Hanging Valley trail. It is becoming less distinct since access is now gated and trees have fallen across the track, but it is still good for hiking and snowshoeing. We started a gradual uphill into a wide space between Wheeler Mountain and Opax Mountain.