A SHORT HIKE THROUGH A PAST FOREST FIRE
A shorter hike along Thompson Creek through the Landslide Lake Prescribed Burn area with a nice waterfall providing a great lunch spot.
Published on July 27, 2013 | Last updated on November 4, 2022
Thompson Creek is a great option for families and those travelling along the David Thompson Highway looking to stretch their legs.
This hike is located near the Banff National Park boundary, across from the Thompson Creek Campground. The area was affected by the Landslide Lake Prescribed Burn of 2009 providing great insights on the ecological role of forest fires in the area.
AT A GLANCE
- Distance: 2 km return
- Elevation gain: ~50 m
- Challenge Level: Easy
- Trail type: There and back
- Congestion: Minimal
- Management: Kiska / Wilson PLUZ
- Other Trail Uses: None
Trailhead: You can start the trail at the day use area of Thompson Creek Campground which provides ample parking space, washrooms and a day use area with tables or you can park on the side of the highway at the creek. The trailhead is approximately 83 km west of Nordegg and 9 km east of the highway 93 junction at Saskatchewan Crossing.
THE TRAIL GUIDE
This is a straightforward trail along the right side of the creek. Follow the trail starting on the side of the highway up to the lower falls.
From the day use area located within the Thompson Creek Campground, head behind the washroom facilities and cross highway 11. You will find the trail near the creek itself.
Almost immediately you will come across sections of trails that were damaged during the flood of June 2013. A new trail is already appearing but there are still some light bushwacking along the way.
Most of the trail is in an area that burnt in 2009 as part of the Landslide Lake Prescribed Burn. The contrast between the burnt trees still standing and the new vegetation that is growing below makes for a very enjoyable hike.
As you walk along the creek keep an eye for some nice viewpoints of the peaks across the valley.
Closer to the fall the landscape starts to change. The creek channel becomes narrower and the banks start to get steeper.
The falls are a great spot for a lunch break. Head back to the trailhead following the same trail.
For those more adventurous, cross the creek on the rough log bridge for a closer view of the falls. The trails that continues from here will take you to the upper Thompson Creek Falls, about 5 km away on a rough trail.
THE RETURN TRAIL
Head back to the trailhead following the same route as you did on the way up.