BATUS Canyon Trail Guide

A short hike with great views of the Kootenay Plains

This short hike brings you up for some great views of the Kootenay Plains and BATUS Canyon, an area that was once a popular training ground for the British Army Training Unit Suffield and nowadays with ice climbers throughout the winter.

Published on July 26, 2016 | Last updated on October 31, 2022

The trail, similar to the one described in the David Thompson Highway – A Hiking Guide, takes you to a viewpoint overlooking the entrance of the canyon.

The first section is well-travelled thanks to ice climbers accessing the canyon during the winter months. The last section is an easy scramble to the viewpoint.

The canyon is 200 metres deep and was a popular training area for the British Army Training Unity Suffield (BATUS) between 1979 and 1992.

For years the soldiers spend time on a 3 weeks training course in the area, learning a variety of mountain skills. Nowadays they have moved their operations elsewhere but you will see encounter the Canadian Army training in the area from time to time.

Whitegoat Falls
Whitegoat Falls

At a Glance

  • Distance: 2.6 km return
  • Elevation gain: ~345 m
  • Challenge Level: Moderate
  • Trail type: There and back
  • Congestion: Minimal
  • Management: Kiska / Wilson PLUZ
  • Other Trail Uses: None

Trailhead: Approximately 55 km west of Nordegg and 35 km east of Saskatchewan River Crossing on Highway 11. Look for a larger creek bed crossing the road between Cline River and Preacher’s Point with a dirt road on the lakeside of the highway.

We all have our part to do to keep this place special. Planning ahead is key to ensuring that we all continue to enjoy adventures in the Nordegg & Abraham Lake region. These are a few of the things you can do to help:

  • Minimize your impact by using existing sites, fire rings and toilets instead of creating your own.
  • Know about current fire bans, make sure that your fire is completely out before you go and buy firewood instead of cutting down trees. Remember that shooting fireworks is not allowed in the region.
  • Keep your site clean and your food stored inside your vehicle to help keep our wildlife wild. Always use bear-proof garbage bins.
  • While alcohol is now permitted in some Alberta Parks day-use areas, none of those are in our region. Alcohol is only allowed at registered campsites.
  • Be mindful of your neighbours and other visitors, including keeping noise to a minimum.
  • Be prepared for adventures in a remote area. Explore within your skills to reduce the strain on our volunteer search and rescue team.
  • Remember that cell service is limited. We recommend carrying a satellite communicator, like a Zoleo, on your adventures.
  • Support local businesses and communities in Cline River, the Bighorn and Nordegg.

Information provided here may be inaccurate or outdated. Always make sure to obtain current information before going on your adventure.

The trail guide

Viewpoint | 0.9 km

  • 0.6 km | Junction: Keep Right to Access the Viewpoint
  • 0.9 km | Viewpoint

Canyon Access | 0.6 km

  • 1.2 km | Junction: Keep Right to Access the Canyon
  • 1.5 km | Waterfalls in the Canyon

Return Trail | 1.1 km

  • Retrace your steps back to the trailhead

The Journey

From the highway, follow the well-established trail going up on the right side of the creek. The first section is an easy but steady climb and as you gain elevation the views of the Preacher’s Point area improve. The Survey Hill trail is the area across Abraham Lake from this hike.

The trail to Whitegoat Falls
The trail to Whitegoat Falls
The trail to Whitegoat Falls

The Viewpoint

At the junction, continue straight to access the viewpoint overlooking the canyon. The trail is less travelled from here and before long turns into a short scramble up an open slope. At the top, find your way to the end of the ridge on the left for the best views of the canyon.

The trail to Whitegoat Falls
The trail to Whitegoat Falls
The trail to Whitegoat Falls
The trail to Whitegoat Falls
The trail to Whitegoat Falls

The Canyon

Make your way back down the slope and head back to the junction you passed on the way up. Take a right to follow the well-established trail to access the canyon.

The trail makes its way down to the creek and from there heads up toward the canyon until your reach the waterfall blocking the way.

The trail to Whitegoat Falls
The trail to Whitegoat Falls
The trail to Whitegoat Falls

The Return Trail

Head back to the trailhead following the same route as you did on the way up.

The People

All the stories we share are by locals, whether they live here or love our region and contribute to making it an amazing place.

Contributors to this Story:


  • JP Fortin

    JP is the Owner + CEO at Nordegg Adventures where he oversees the development of new adventures, guide training, strategic planning, marketing and destination development partnerships.