The classic hike on the Kootenay Plains
One of the most popular hike in the area and for good reasons, taking you right to the edge of the canyon and up close for great views of Siffleur Falls.
The trail can be busy, especially on summer weekends. If you head out midweek, in the spring or later in the season you can often have the whole area to yourself.
This hike is located within the Kootenay Plains Ecological Reserve which encompasses approximately 34 square kilometres of the North Saskatchewan River valley south of Abraham Lake. The area is intersected by the Siffleur and North Saskatchewan rivers with open plains dominated by grasses, forbs and stands of aspen and limber pine trees. White spruce and lodgepole pines cover most of the surrounding slopes.
The area is influenced by the surrounding mountains, the wide shape of the valley and the consistent winds. As a result, the climate is relatively dry and warm creating favourable conditions for a wide diversity of wildlife and plant species.
At a Glance
- Distance: 7 km return
- Elevation gain: ~80 m
- Challenge Level: Easy
- Trail type: There and back
- Congestion: Busy
- Management: Kootenay Plains Ecological Reserve
- Other Trail Uses: None
Trailhead: Approximately 62 km west of Nordegg and 21 km east of the Banff National Park boundary. The trail starts at the Siffleur Falls Staging Area which provides ample parking space and dry toilets.
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.
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
Siffleur Falls Access | 3.5 km
- 0.5 km | Suspension bridge
- 0.7 km | Boardwalk
- 1.2 km | Go left at the end of the boardwalk
- 1.8 km | Siffleur River Bridge
- 1.9 km | Go right at the junction
- 2.4 km | Hill
- 3.2 km | Canyon Viewpoint
- 3.5 km | Siffleur Falls
Siffleur Falls Return Trail | 3.5 km
- Retrace your steps back to the trailhead
From the trailhead parking lot, follow the main Siffleur Falls trail making your way across the North Saskatchewan River on the suspension bridge. A boardwalk has been build through the next section. This area is extremely fragile, please stay on the boardwalk. At the end of the boardwalk, follow Glacier Trail on the left toward the Siffleur River.
Shortly after the Siffleur River bridge the trails comes at a junction. The Siffleur Falls trail is the one on the right.
The trail follows the river a short distance before reaching the only hill on this hike. It is a short uphill from there to some great views of Two O'Clock Ridge across the valley and the Siffleur River canyon.
The trail heads into the forest for a short section before coming up to great views of the canyon and a series of viewing platforms. The falls ahead are impressive with the Siffleur River plunging 15 m through a narrow channel in the rock. Take the time to enjoy the views and make sure to stay a safe distance from the cliffs and canyon edge. Unfortunately the area has seen many casualties over the year.
The falls mark the end of the trail for most people. If you want to go further, the trail continues to two more sets of falls and leads to the Siffleur Wilderness Area. You can find out more about the next section in the Siffleur Falls - Third Falls and Wilderness Area Access trail guide. To head back to the trailhead, simply retrace your footstep.
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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