Allstones Creek Winter Hike

An interesting hike from start to finish

A fun little canyon hike filled with rock features and a frozen waterfall.

Published on March 6, 2021 | Last updated on October 30, 2022

Allstones creek is a great hike for most abilities and families. You enter a deep canyon with lots of interesting, exposed rock that ends at a frozen waterfall.

It’s not too long that you get tired and not too short that you barely stretch your legs or have time to explore. It is not often there is a fun-filled route this close to the highway and of this length. What are you waiting for!

A frozen waterfall on Allstones Creek
The Allstones Creek Canyon

At a Glance

  • Distance: 3.2 km return
  • Elevation gain: ~80 m
  • Challenge Level: Easy | Family Friendly
  • Trail type: There and back
  • Congestion: Moderate
  • Management: Kiska/Wilson PLUZ
  • Other Trail Uses: None

Trailhead: The trail starts at the Allstones Lake Staging Area, approximately 31 km west of Nordegg and 52 km east of Saskatchewan River Crossing. Toilets are available at the trailhead.

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Information provided here may be inaccurate or outdated.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

Distances

  • 1.2 km | Frozen waterfalls
  • 2.4 km | Trailhead

Distances are from the highway. 

The Journey

There are two options to park for this hike, one on the north side of Allstones Creek and one on the south. Both have toilets available but no garbage cans. The north lot fills up quickly when it is accessible and is often filled with snow during the winter months. The parking lot on the south side is usually accessible all season long.

Cross the highway and enter the creek from the left side (south) or if you want to start with an adventure, you can take the culvert from the parking lot side to cross under the highway. Immediately, you will find yourself surrounded by beautiful, vertically exposed rock ribs. Start heading up the frozen creek bed past the vibrant coloured rock as the canyon starts to constrict around you.

The entrance to the canyon near the highway
The canyon walls on Allstones Creek
Allstones Creek Canyon
Frozen falls on Allstones Creek

Follow the creek for multiple twists and turns, snaking your way past water-carved cliffs and overhangs. Be sure to take the time to appreciate the artwork created over many years of erosion by the persistent creek. Most years the creek freezes and covers the rocks in the creek bed, creating an easy pathway to follow.

In a mostly flat 1.6 km you will reach an intimate waterfall, frozen in time, as it cascades over a headwall. See if you can hear and see the water moving behind the ice! There is a homemade ladder on the left side of the icefall; it is highly suggested that you do not try to climb it as you never know what it is attached to or how old it is. There is also nothing special to see above unless you commit to exploring for several hours upstream.

The Return Trail

Retrace your footsteps back to your vehicle.

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

  • Brett Pawlyk & Annabelle Oung

    They have been exploring the Canadian Rockies and the world's mountain ranges for close to four decades combined. They manage HeLa Ventures, an outdoor education centre located between Rocky Mountain House and Nordegg. Brett also guides for Nordegg Adventures in the winter and Annabelle is a freelance translator. When they are not working you'll find them hiking and scrambling in the region with their daughter Tessa.