Sentinel Mountain the David Thompson Highway
The best places to visit often take a little extra effort
We could tell you that getting here is easy (it mostly is) or we could play off the fact that we’re off the beaten path (there’s only one highway to get you here). The truth is somewhere in between, but that’s part of the adventure.
You can’t fly directly to Nordegg but we are under 3 hours away from both the Calgary International Airport and the Edmonton International Airport, giving you a lot of options as you plan your approach to Alberta.
The David Thompson Highway at Whirlpool Ridge
Winter driving on the David Thompson Highway
Highway 11, connecting the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Parks to Red Deer, is a major highway that is well maintained year-round. It is the only major highway in the region, the question is whether you’ll be visiting us from the east or the west. Our preference, come from the east. You’ll get to enjoy one of the best drives into the Rockies in Alberta. The mountains reveal themselves as you drive through the foothills, building up as you approach Abraham Lake and further on as you drive through the main ranges. That being said, if you’re short on time the drive from Lake Louise to Nordegg is nothing short of spectacular.
You’ll need a car to explore the region. Pursuit Adventures offers departures from Lake Louise on certain tours if you’re only coming for the day. Otherwise, a vehicle is needed to get to the trailheads and around the Nordegg and Abraham Lake area. If you’re renting a vehicle, make sure that it has snow rated tires if you’re visiting during the winter months.
You can check the road conditions before you head out at 511.alberta.ca.
Nordegg to Abraham Lake
Abraham Lake is 25 to 60 km from Nordegg, depending on which end of the lake you are going to for your adventure.
Visiting from Calgary
Coming from Downtown Calgary, Nordegg is approximately 285 km (3 hours). Our favourite route: head out to Cochrane and drive up the Cowboy Trail (Highway 22) through Sundre, Caroline and Rocky Mountain House. Once you reach Rocky Mountain House we’re only an hour west on the David Thompson Highway (Highway 11).
If you’re heading to Abraham Lake, you have two options. First, take the route above and continue another 20-30 minutes west of Nordegg. The other option is to take Highway 1 to Lake Louise before going north on the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) to Saskatchewan River Crossing. From there, Abraham Lake is 20-30 minutes east on the David Thompson Highway (Highway 11). Hoodoo Creek, a popular spot for ice bubbles on Abraham Lake, is the same drive time from Calgary whether you take the Icefields Parkway or the Cowboy Trail.
A popular option from Calgary is to do the circle route, coming in on the Cowboy Trail before heading back through the Icefields Parkway.
Visiting from Edmonton
Coming from downtown Edmonton, Nordegg is approximately 300 km (just over 3 hours). The easiest way is to take Highway 2 south to Lacombe. From there take Highway 12 to Rocky Mountain House where you’ll take the David Thompson Highway (Highway 11) west to Nordegg.
Visiting from Banff and Lake Louise
From Banff, take Highway 1 to Lake Louise. From there, follow the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) to Saskatchewan River Crossing. Driving east on the David Thompson Highway (Highway 11) you’ll first pass Abraham Lake before reaching Nordegg. The drive from Lake Louise to Abraham Lake is approximately 1.5 hours; Lake Louise to Nordegg around 2 hours.
Travelling on Highway 93 in the winter usually means snow-covered roads. Make sure that you are prepared for the journey to take a little longer. Make sure that you have enough gas before leaving Lake Louise since between October and May the gas stations at Saskatchewan Crossing and David Thompson Resort are closed.
Visiting from Jasper
From Jasper, take the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) to Saskatchewan River Crossing. Driving east on the David Thompson Highway (Highway 11) you’ll first pass Abraham Lake before reaching Nordegg. The drive from Jasper to Abraham Lake is approximately 2.5 hours and just under 3 hours to Nordegg.
Travelling on Highway 93 in the winter usually means snow-covered roads. Make sure that you are prepared for the journey to take a little longer and expect delays due to avalanche control. Make sure that you have enough gas before leaving Jasper since between October and May the gas stations at Saskatchewan Crossing and David Thompson Resort are closed.
- For your safety and the protection of the area please follow trail signs, stay on the trail and respect all trail closures
- Be respectful of wildlife and familiarize yourself with wildlife safety techniques including keeping your pet on a leash and keeping your group together.
- Always use the bear-proof garbage bin, keep a clean site and store your food in a bear safe fashion.
- Always be prepared when travelling outdoors.
- This area has limited to no cell phone reception. We recommend carrying an InReach on your adventures.
- Information provided here may be inaccurate or outdated. Always make sure to obtain current information before going on your adventure.
There are inherent risks in outdoor activities. Conditions may change quickly due to weather conditions and other factors. Using the information provided is entirely at your own risk and Pursuit Adventures is in no way liable for any injuries or other damages that may be sustained by anyone using this information.