Thompson Creek Lower Falls Trail Guide

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.

Whitegoat Falls
Whitegoat Falls

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.

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

Thompson Creek

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.

The Journey

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.

The trail to Whitegoat Falls
The trail to Whitegoat Falls
The trail to Whitegoat Falls

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 trail to Whitegoat Falls
The trail to Whitegoat Falls

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 trail to Whitegoat Falls
The trail to Whitegoat Falls

The Return Trail

Head back to the trailhead following the same route as you did on the way up.

The People

All the stories we share are by locals, whether they live here or love our region and contribute to making it an amazing place.

Contributors to this Story:

Contributor

  • JP Fortin

    JP is the Owner + CEO at Nordegg Adventures where he oversees the development of new adventures, guide training, strategic planning, marketing and destination development partnerships.