Late afternoon on the ice at Cline Landing
Clear ice in a sheltered bay
Based on our experience guiding hundreds of tours on the ice of Abraham Lake over the past 10 years
Cline Landing is one of our favourite December spots but it is often snow-covered, making it harder to find bubbles.
The sheltered bay is both a curse and a blessing. Because it's less windy here than the rest of the lake, we often see ice form one to two weeks before the rest of the lake, with the exception of Preacher's Point. The ice usually smooth and clear, making it a great spot especially if you happen to be there within the 10 days or so after freeze-up. On a cold day, it makes for a great option to get out of the strong winds that are common on the lake.
Clear ice and bubbles in mid-December
Finding bubbles in a snowstorm
On the other side, the lack of wind means that the area tends to get snow-covered and to stay that way. We sometimes see it clear back up after a snowstorm but in most cases, once it's covered in snow it stays that way for a few weeks.
The easy access to this area and smooth ice makes it popular but it is easy to get away from the crowd by exploring a little further.
Plan Your Adventure
Ice conditions can change quickly. The map and directions below are based on our many visits to the area.
- Activity: Ice Walk, Photography and Sightseeing
- Time Needed: Plan on at least 60 minutes, plus driving time
- Family Friendly: Yes
- Season: December to March
- Congestion: Moderate to busy
- Getting There: From Nordegg, Preacher’s Point approximately 50 km away travelling west on Highway 11. Coming from Lake Louise, the drive is approximately 120 km. Take Highway 93 to Saskatchewan Crossing before going approximately 40 km east on Highway 11. There are no signs at this access.
- Management: Alberta Environment
- Protection Status: Kiska/Wilson PLUZ
- Dogs Allowed: Yes
- Cell Reception: Limited
We've put together a guide with a few things to consider when you plan your Abraham Lake ice walk to make it a safe adventure.
Head Out With A Guide
Make the most of your adventure and head out with a guide. Pursuit Adventures offers guided tours to the Abraham Lake ice bubbles from November to March. Book below or check out the full itinerary.
Head Out On Your Own
Sometimes you just want to head out on your own to explore the area. We get it. Here’s our guide for the Abraham Lake ice bubbles at Cline Landing. You'll find our guides to other ice bubble locations on Abraham Lake here.
Accessing the Ice
There is an access road providing easy access from the lake to the ice at this location. You'll find ice bubbles as soon as you get to the ice here but keep in mind that as the winter goes on you'll need to walk further to find clear ice. See the safety considerations below before you decide to drive down to the lake.
Ice Bubbles and Ice Features
This is one of our favourite spots as the ice starts to form, usually in mid-December. The shallow water with clear ice makes for some great views that can easily be accessed. As the winter goes on the ice lays on the ground, creating cracks and features with the ground visible below.
The area is relatively shallow and sheltered, reducing many of the risks we find in other sections of the lake. The main things to be aware of are the access road and the nearby Cline River.
The access road gets slippery and we see many visitors drive down each winter only to find out that their vehicle isn't equipped for the adventure. Being stuck at the bottom of the hill means waiting for a tow truck to come from Rocky Mountain House, an hour and a half away. We recommend parking at the nearby Pinto Lake Staging Area unless you are confident you will be able to drive back up.
Exploring north from this access takes you to the area where the Cline River enters Abraham Lake. That area has ice conditions that can change quickly and where ice thickness can vary greatly over only a few metres. In general, we recommend that you avoid areas like this.
Through the Season
The ice sits on the ground by mid-January here so expect to find whiter ice than in areas like Belly of Abraham or Michener Lookout. The sheltered bay protects from the winds but that also means that in some years the ice is snow-covered for most of the season.
Conditions and Updates
We share this information to help visitors to the area plan their trip. This represents the conditions we have observed at a specific point in time. Ice safety depends on many more factors than just ice conditions and anybody going on the ice should have the knowledge and experience required to assess the risks, or should consider going with a guide.
As February starts, we’re starting to see a change of colour in the ice along with more cracks and features in the ice.
The ice is getting thicker and there are some great bubbles, cracks and ice features to be found. Finding them is a little harder this year.
White ice around 12 -15 cm on most of the lake making it harder to find ice bubbles. Preacher’s Point it still the best option.
Thin ice (< 7 cm) on most of the lake. The best option for ice bubbles is still Preacher's Point, even if partially snow-covered.
- For your safety and the protection of the area please follow trail signs, stay on the trail and respect all trail closures
- Be respectful of wildlife and familiarize yourself with wildlife safety techniques including keeping your pet on a leash and keeping your group together.
- Always use the bear-proof garbage bin, keep a clean site and store your food in a bear safe fashion.
- Always be prepared when travelling outdoors.
- This area has limited cell phone reception. We recommend carrying an InReach on your hikes.
- Information provided here may be inaccurate or outdated. Always make sure to obtain current information before going on your adventure.
There are inherent risks in outdoor activities. Although we strive to provide accurate information and to alert you of potential dangers, trail conditions may change quickly due to weather conditions and other factors. Using the information provided on this site is entirely at your own risk and Pursuit Adventures is in no way liable for any injuries or other damages that may be sustained by anyone using the trails or information described on this site.
Have you been to Preacher's Point? Let us know about your adventure in the comments below.