An easy hike along Abraham Lake
One of our kids favourite trail, the Whitegoat Falls trail takes you to a double punch bowl set of waterfalls on a pretty creek.
It seems that most of the times I've been to Whitegoat Falls the area was filled with smoke from wildfires in British Columbia. It might just be that the wildflowers along the trail, the close-up views of the falls and the low elevation gain make up for the hazy skies, putting it at the top of our list on those types of days.
The Bighorn Backcountry might be close to the national parks and urban centres but it still has a remote feel to it. This includes the naming of creeks and natural features where informal names often prevail. You won't find names on the map for places like Hoodoo Creek and others like Whitegoat Creek (official name) is signed as Cline Creek at the highway, an unofficial name (the official Cline Creek is a tributary of the Brazeau River). Historically, the Cline River was named White Goat River, further confusing places along the David Thompson Highway.
At a Glance
- Distance: 3.4 km return
- Elevation gain: ~155 m
- Challenge Level: Easy | Family Friendly (no strollers)
- Trail type: There and back (loop option)
- Congestion: Moderate
- Management: Kiska / Wilson PLUZ
- Other Trail Uses: Horses
Trailhead: Approximately 45 km west of Nordegg and 45 km east of Saskatchewan River Crossing. The trail starts at the Cline River Waste Transfer Station. Parking available, no washrooms.
Head Out With A Guide
Make the most of your adventure and head out with a guide from Nordegg Adventures.
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
Sometimes you just want to head out on your own to explore the area. We get it. Here's the guide for the Whitegoat Falls trail.
- 0.1 km | Whitegoat Creek Trail
- 0.9 km | Whitegoat Falls Trail Junction
- 1.2 km | Junction
- 1.3 km | Junction
- 1.3 km | Stream Crossing
- 1.5 km | Stream Crossing
- 1.5 km | Whitegoat Falls
The Waste Transfer Station
The trail starts at the Cline Waste Transfer Station. This might not sound like the best spot to start a hike but you'll soon forget about it as you make your way up to the falls.
Follow the trail on the left heading around the fenced-in area to make your way across to the other side of the transfer station. At this point, a sign marks the Whitegoat Creek Trail. Follow the wide trail up the gentle hill through the forest.
The Whitegoat Falls Trail
After 900 metres there is a well-marked junction on the left. This is the trail to Whitegoat Falls. Follow the narrower path into the forest, making your way down the hill toward the creek.
At the next junction make your way 30 metres past the sign indicating Whitegoat Falls to some nice views of the V-shaped gorge. Return to the junction and follow the sign.
Crossing the Creek
A few metres past the junction there is another junction. The trail on the right is the one described in David Thompson Highway Hiking Guide but we recommend taking the trail on the left at this point. It leads to a somewhat steep hill down to the creek but it is a much easier option than the hill at the end of the trail on the right. At the bottom of the hill, cross the stream on the log and make your way up along the stream bed.
Approximately 200 metres later you come to another stream crossing with multiple logs set up across the creek. As soon as you cross the creek you find out that you are standing at the bottom of the falls, hidden until that point by the rock wall. This makes for a great lunch spot, relaxing below the falls.
The Return Trail
There are a couple of options for the return to the trailhead. The easiest option is to retrace your footsteps back to the waste transfer station. Another option is to make it up the steeper hill mentioned earlier. It's easier to go up than down and this will take you up along the bench overlooking the creek and with views of the waterfalls from above.
To go this way, look along the trees at the bottom of the hill for signs of a trail or follow the obvious trail at the base of the falls going up. Make your way up the hill to a junction and head right. Looking back at the waterfalls makes for great views with Mount Stelfox in the background. Follow the trail to the junction from earlier and retrace your footsteps from there back to the trailhead.
At the junction overlooking the canyon, you can either follow your tracks back to the trailhead or follow the trail along the creek. This trail is less obvious in sections but provides a nice option to return to the trailhead.
All the stories we share are by locals, whether they live here or love our region and contribute to making it an amazing place.