Hoodoos, a cave and great views of Abraham Lake
Scramble up the creek bed to a cave and great views of Abraham Lake. The popular Hoodoo Creek hike offers great views the entire way along highway 11.
An unofficial trail takes you in and out of the creek bed, making your way up the narrowing valley pass two hoodoos on the way to the shallow cave.
Hoodoos like the ones you’ll see on this hike are evidence of the glaciers that once covered the area. As they advanced and retreated over the region, they carried rocks of various size and deposited them along the way.
The deposit, called till, contained a mixture of clay, sand fragments and occasionaly larg rocks. In some cases like here, the calcium carbonate in the limestone cemented the deposits together.
A the water eroded the deposits, those hardened deposits remained as pillars called hoodoos.
At a Glance
- Distance: 3.8 km return
- Elevation gain: ~360 m
- Challenge Level: Moderate
- Trail type: There and back
- Congestion: Moderate
- Management: Kiska / Wilson PLUZ
- Other Trail Uses: None
Trailhead: The trail starts along highway 11, 2.8 km west of the Windy Point access. There is a cairn with an informal marker on the side of the road where the trail starts and Hoodoo Creek is now marked with a green highway sign. This is 52 km east of Saskatchewan Crossing and 39 km west of Nordegg.
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
Access Trail | 1.9 km
- 1.0 km | Hoodoos
- 1.8 km | Cave Access
- 1.9 km | Cave
Return Trail | 1.9 km
- Retrace your steps back to the trailhead
Unfortunately this trail can be a little hard to find at first. Alberta Transportation has now added a green highway sign for Hoodoo Creek, making it easier to find the trailhead but there is still no trailhead parking lot. On weekends it’s often easier given the number of cars parked on the side of the road, otherwise it is the first major creek after Windy Point when you’re heading west. There is a cairn on the side of the road with a stick and quite often flagging tape marking the start of the trail.
The trail is on the right side of the creek and right from the start there are some great views of Abraham Lake and surrounding mountains.
For the first kilometre, the trail is in good shape and stays to the right of the creek while it steadily gains elevation. The views improve as you go and before long you’ll reach the hoodoos that are the namesake for this creek.
After the hoodoos the trail disappears and the next section is a mix of walk and scramble along the creek bed.
The access to the cave is up a steep scree slope. It is a well used path and quite easy to find.
Extending Your Hike
If you have time after visiting the cave it is well worth continuing up the creek for 300 to 600 metres. At a fork in the creek there is a nice cascade down the side of the mountain and going further on the right fork gives some nice views of the V shaped valley, Mount Michener and Abraham Lake below.
To head back to the trailhead, simply retrace your footstep. Walking down the creek all the way to the highway is an option but the trail is faster.
A Word of Caution
This is a pleasant hike usually suitable for families. Too often however we encounter unprepared groups on this hike. You will be hiking on a creek bed, over boulders and up a scree slope which all require proper footwear.
The creek is very shallow, not much more than a stream, on most days. It is obvious however from the width of the creek bed, the size of the boulders and the signs of slides that this hike can be treacherous on a rainy day or during a storm.
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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