Flag Hill

Ex Coelis and the Kootenay Plains

Where the North Saskatchewan River enter Abraham Lake

by | Published on September 15, 2016 | Last updated on July 5, 2019

Based on a visit to the area on September 9, 2016

The short hike up Flag Hill above Preacher’s Point takes you to some nice views of Abraham Lake and the Kootenay Plains in David Thompson Country.
It’s a quick hike but there’s no reason not to bring a book along and linger for a while to enjoy the views.
Mount William Booth

Mount William Booth

Abraham Lake

Views of Abraham Lake

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.

Plan Your Adventure

Trail conditions can change quickly. The map and directions below are based on our hike in the area onSeptember 9, 2016.

  • Activity: Hike
  • Distance: 1.6 km return
  • Elevation Gain: ~75 m
  • Challenge Level: Easy
  • Family Friendly: Yes – no strollers
  • Trail Type: There and back
  • Trail Conditions: Good (the start of the trail can be hard to find)
  • Season: Year round
  • Congestion: Minimal
  • Alternate Descriptions: The David Thompson Highway – A Hiking Guide includes a version of this hike.
  • Trailhead: Approximately 59 km west of Nordegg and 31 km east of Saskatchewan River Crossing on Highway 11. Look for an abandoned driveway with culvert on the side of the road.

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

Head Out With A Guide

Make the most of your adventure and head out with a guide. Pursuit Adventures offers guided hikes from April to November. Get in touch with them to plan your custom adventure to Flag Hill.

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 Flag Hill trail.

Flag Hill Access | 0.8 km

  • 0.1 km | Look for a faint trail next to an old stream bed
  • 0.3 km | Base of the hill
  • 0.8 km | Top of Flag Hill

Flag Hill Return Trail | 0.8 km

  • Retrace your steps back to the trailhead
From the old access where you parked, walk up along the edge of the forest along the road until you come across a dry creek bed and find a faint path. From there, make your way to the base of the ridge straight ahead. At the bottom of the ridge the trail becomes obvious, making it’s way up the hill to the makeshift flagpole.
Flag Hill
Flag Hill
Flag Hill
Flag Hill
Flag Hill

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 no cell phone reception. We recommend carrying an InReach on your hikes. A pay phone is available near the trailhead at the highway pullout across from the Cavalcade Group Campground.
  • 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.