Coliseum Mountain Trail Guide

A classic Nordegg hike

Coliseum Mountain with its "cap" gives you 360-degree panorama of the foothills and Rockies, making this a classic hike in Alberta's West Country.

Published on August 29, 2013 | Last updated on May 3, 2023

One of the most popular hikes in Nordegg to the distinctive summit overlooking the town. This trail guide is for the official trail. There are two other options to reach the summit and we'll add these here at some point in the future.

Coliseum Mountain dominates the skyline by Nordegg at 2040 metres high. The mountain was possibly mentioned in a map sketched by Sir James Hector showing the route taken by the Palliser Expedition in 1858.

Martin Nordegg claimed to have climbed the mountain in 1913 and by 1925 a fire lookout, the first in the province, was built on the mountain. Today, only a pile of rubbles is left of it and the active fire lookout is on Sunda Mountain to the north.

The Cline River Canyon
The Cline River Canyon Galleria

At a Glance

  • Distance: 12.6 km return
  • Elevation gain: ~705 m
  • Challenge Level: Moderate
  • Trail type: There and back
  • Congestion: Moderate
  • Management: Kiska/Wilson PLUZ
  • Other Trail Uses: None

Trailhead: The Coliseum Mountain Trail Staging Area is located in the Nordegg North subdivision. From highway 11, follow Shunda Creek Road and keep right onto Baldy Mountain Road. Take the next right on Eagle Drive. The trailhead parking lot is at the end of the street. Dry toilets are available at the trailhead.

Head Out With A Guide

All bookings are handled by Explore Nordegg & Abraham Lake and offered by local partners. Most bookings require a minimum of 2 days' notice, contact us for last-minute options.

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Icefalls Winter Hike

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.

Head Out On Your Own

Coliseum Mountain Access | 6.3 km

  • 0.3 km | Stream crossing
  • 1.3 km | Old access trail
  • 4.3 km | Viewpoint and scree slope
  • 6.3 km | Summit viewpoint and old fire lookout

Return Trail | 6.3 km

  • Retrace your steps back to the trailhead

The Journey

From the trailhead parking lot, follow the signs to the Coliseum Mountain trail. The first section of the trail is newer having been built after the new subdivision and making the hike a few kilometres shorter.

The only stream crossing on this hike is near the beginning. The rest of the trail is dry and usually in great condition.

Hiking through the forest along the Cline River
The Cline River and Abraham Lake
The narrow canyon of the Cline River

After 1.3 km the trail reconnects with the older trail. From there it's a steady ascent with switchbacks making it easy to gain most of the vertical on this hike. Along the way the views starts to get better with glimpses of what's to come.

The Icefalls
The Cline River Canyon Viewpoint
The access to the canyon
The Icefalls
The Cline River Canyon Viewpoint
The access to the canyon

The trail eventually levels off after 4 km where there is an informal campsite and great views of Nordegg and Abraham Lake. The trail continues across the scree slope and then along the ridge toward the site of the old fire lookout, another 2 km away.

The Cline River Galleria
ICe climbers in the Cline River Canyon
broken ice blocks in the canyon

Hiking along the ridge gives the opportunity for spectacular views of the mountains to the east, the Brazeau range and the forested area to the east.

The Cline River Galleria
ICe climbers in the Cline River Canyon
broken ice blocks in the canyon

The last step is to ascent the cap where a trail takes you through the cliff band to the summit. The 360 degree views makes it obvious why this was chosen as a fire lookout in the 1920's. Sadly little remains of the fire lookout, except for a few concrete blocks and metal pieces.

The Cline River Galleria
ICe climbers in the Cline River Canyon
broken ice blocks in the canyon

The Return

To head back to the trailhead, simply retrace your footstep.

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.