Foothills and Rocky Mountains
The lesser known neighbour to Coliseum Mountain, the Eagle Mountain Ridge hike takes you to amazing views of the Rockies and foothills.
The ridge walk gives a different perspective on the area, away from the crowds yet overlooking Nordegg and the David Thompson Highway.
I found this hike almost by accident. The Miners’ Cafe in Nordegg posted a picture of the area and it looked well worth the hike. The first attempt on a rainy and muddy day, following the directions from the David Thompson Highway Hiking Guide, wasn’t overly successful. It also turned out that the directions were for the summit, not the ridge I was looking for.
My second attempt, from the Beaverdam PRA was much more fruitful, taking me along a nice trail through the forest up to the ridge, overlooking the townsite, with views of the Rockies to the west and far onto the horizon to the east. Eagle Mountain Ridge is not as busy as it’s neighbour, Coliseum Mountain, and offers views that are at least as spectacular.
At a Glance
- Distance: 15.4 km return
- Elevation gain: ~660 m
- Challenge Level: Moderate
- Trail type: There and back
- Congestion: Minimal
- Management: Beaverdam PRA & Kiska / Wilson PLUZ
- Other Trail Uses: Mountain biking
Trailhead: The trail starts at the Beaverdam Provincial Recreation Area, 6 km east of Nordegg on Highway 11.
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
The Service Road | 2.2 km
- 0.5 km | Locked gate
- 1.5 km | Old railway next to the road
- 1.8 km | Crossing the old railway and abandoned overflow campground
- 2.2 km | End of the service road
The Forest | 3.9 km
- 2.2 km | Follow the trail into the woodlot
- 2.9 km | Continue on the main trail, straight ahead
- 3.0 km | The trail enters the forest
- 5.0 km | Continue on the main trail, straight ahead
- 5.4 km | Steep section
- 6.1 km | Path to the ridge
The Ridge | 1.6 km
- 6.1 km | Follow the path at the wood cairn
- 6.5 km | Base of the ridge
- 7.7 km | End of the ridge
Return Hike | 7.7 km
The Service Road | 2.2 km
The first section of the trail is on the service road leading to an abandoned overflow campground and woodlot. Park your vehicle at the Beaverdam Provincial Recreation Area campground and head back on the service road toward a locked gate at 0.5 km. The road heads into the forest and gradually up the hill. Walk past the various trails and paths along the way, staying on the road until you reach the abandoned overflow campground at 1.8 km.
After 1.5 km you’ll notice the old railway, now a quad trail, running along the road. The road will be crossing the trail shortly, taking you into the abandoned campground.
The abandoned overflow campground is now used for staff accommodation, firewood and equipment storage by a local campground operator. There is no camping allowed. Please stay clear of all equipment and property as you follow the road along Martin Creek to the woodlot and the next section of the trail.
The Forest | 3.9 km
At the end of the campground, follow the trail heading into the woodlot. The trail is well-established and easy to find.
Keep an eye out for wildlife, flowers and berries as you walk through the logged area. The trail to the right at 2.9 km provides access to a climbing area. The Eagle Mountain Ridge trail is straight ahead .
From there the trail head into the forest for a pleasant hike with a steady uphill. While the trail is enjoyable the views are limited for most of the next 3 km.
The route is straightforward and at 5 km continues straight ahead where a narrower trail with flagging tape heads into the forest. It becomes obvious at this point that we’ve already gained significant elevation and there are glimpses of the views to come.
At last we can see through the trees the ridge we’re heading for. A quick glance at the cliff bands gives us a heads up that we have some elevation to gain ahead. The steepest section of the trail is coming up ahead. It is relatively short and with hiking poles there’s nothing to worry about, even on a rainy day.
Once you get your first glance at Coliseum Mountain and Baldy you know that the views from the ridge will be worth the hike.
The next junction is easy to miss; make sure to keep an eye for a piece of flagging tape and a cairn made of logs and stumps to your left.
Ridgewalk | 1.6 km
From the marker, follow the path into the trees making your way to the base of the ridge approximately 400 metres away. The summit of Eagle Mountain is directly to the south at this point. This is the destination of the hike described in the David Thompson Highway guidebook.
Once you reach the base of the ridge there is a nice quiet spot tempting you to stop for lunch. Continue on for the short walk up the ridge for even better options for a lunch and a rest.
Walk along the length on the ridge for great views of the forest area to the east toward Rocky Mountain House and views of Nordegg, the historic mine site, Abraham Lake and the front range of the Rockies.
The Return Trail
Head back to the trailhead following the same route as you did on the way up.
All the stories we share are by locals, whether they live here or love our region and contribute to making it an amazing place.
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