14.5 km W of Hafford on Hwy 40 (pass Speers to Flint Rd), 16 km N, then 2.5 km E. Watch for signs at Flint Rd and 16 km mark.
GPS: 52.86948, -107.5336
The Crooked Bush, located in the Rural Municipality of Douglas near Hafford and Speers, is called a botanical mystery by the Friends of the Crooked Bush and was declared one of the ’54 Wonders of Canada’ by CBC’s ‘Morningside’ show. This trail tours a small cluster of aspen trees that are atypical as they do not grow towards the sky; instead, the branches twist and turn in horizontal and downward directions, giving the grove an eerie and, yet, mesmerizing appearance.
Scientists believe that the tree growth is a result of a genetic mutation, but they are unsure what caused the mutation. Meanwhile, local legend attributes the strange shaping to everything from a UFO landing to a lightning strike that affected the area’s soil. The legends also claims that people who enter the area experience dizziness and that, despite the lack of a fence, cattle will not travel through the trees. The peculiarity of the trees, which were first identified in the 1940s by local residents, is further increased by the fact that the trees grow less than 10 m away from other aspens that do not feature this mutation.
The trees are 15 – 20 ft. tall and are around 70 years old. Normal aspen trees usually reach this height after 15 years. What is truly intriguing is the fact that the trees are growing at a normal rate, their branches are just growing in every direction other than straight up. Although the trail is rather short, it features a wooden boardwalk and is a must-see destination for people of all ages and abilities.
This area is considered a natural treasure. It is located on private land. Please do not climb the trees, break branches, litter or leave the boardwalk. This will help ensure that the area remains intact for years to come.