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Coliseum Mountain

Hiking along the ridge

A Classic Nordegg Hike

by | Published on August 29, 2013 | Last updated on July 5, 2019

Based on a visit to the area on August 16, 2013

Coliseum Mountain with its "cap" gives you 360 degree panorama of the foothills and Rockies, making this a classic hike in David Thompson Country.

One of the most popular hike 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

Shunda Mountain (Baldy) Fire Lookout

Coliseum Mountain

Abraham Lake and the front range of the Rockies

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.

Plan Your Adventure

Trail conditions can change quickly. The map and directions below are based on our hike in the area on August 16, 2013.

  • Activity: Hike
  • Distance: 12.6 km return
  • Elevation Gain: ~705 m
  • Challenge Level: Moderate
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Trail Type: There and back
  • Trail Conditions: Good
  • Season: May to October
  • Congestion: Moderate
  • Alternate Descriptions: The David Thompson Highway - A Hiking Guide includes this hike.
  • 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.

Guided Tours

Enjoy the comfort that comes with a guide who knows the area’s trails, wildlife and terrain so that you can focus on your adventure, while the rest is taken care of.

  • Management: Alberta Parks / Alberta Environment
  • Protection Status: Kiska / Wilson PLUZ
  • Other Trail Uses: None
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes
  • Permits / Restrictions: None
  • Cell Reception: Good

Head Out With A Guide

Make the most of your adventure and head out with a guide. Pursuit Adventures offers guided hikes to Coliseum Mountain from May to October. Book below or check out the full itinerary.

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Head Out On Your Own

Sometimes you just want to head out on your own to explore the area. We get it. Here’s the guide for the Coliseum Mountain trail.

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
From the trailhead parking lot, follow the signs to the Coliseum Mountain trail. The first section of 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 conditions.

Coliseum Mountain
Coliseum Mountain
Coliseum Mountain
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.
Coliseum Mountain
Coliseum Mountain
Coliseum Mountain
Coliseum Mountain
Coliseum Mountain
Coliseum Mountain
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.
Coliseum Mountain
Coliseum Mountain
Coliseum Mountain
Coliseum Mountain
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.
Coliseum Mountain
Coliseum Mountain
Coliseum Mountain
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.
Coliseum Mountain
Coliseum Mountain
Coliseum Mountain
Coliseum Mountain
Coliseum Mountain

The Return

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

Outdoor Safety

  • 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 good cell phone reception. We recommend carrying an InReach on your hikes. The nearest phone access is in Nordegg.
  • 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. Although we strive to provide accurate information and to alert you of potential dangers, trail conditions may change quickly due to weather conditions and other factors. Using the information provided on this site is entirely at your own risk and Pursuit Adventures is in no ways liable for any injuries or other damages that may be sustained by anyone using the trails or information described on this site.

Have you been to this trail? Let us know about your adventure in the comments below.