Siffleur Falls Winter Hike

One of the region’s iconic waterfalls

One of the most popular hike in the area and for good reasons, taking you right to the edge of the canyon and up close for great views of Siffleur Falls.

This hike is located within the Kootenay Plains Ecological Reserve which encompasses approximately 34 square kilometres of the North Saskatchewan River valley south of Abraham Lake. The area is intersected by the Siffleur and North Saskatchewan rivers with open plains dominated by grasses, forbs and stands of aspen and limber pine trees. White spruce and lodgepole pines cover most of the surrounding slopes.

The area is influenced by the surrounding mountains, the wide shape of the valley and the consistent winds. As a result, the climate is relatively dry and warm creating favourable conditions for a wide diversity of wildlife and plant species.

At a Glance

  • Distance: 7 km return
  • Elevation gain: ~80 m
  • Challenge Level: Easy | Family Friendly
  • Trail type: There and back
  • Congestion: Busy
  • Management: Alberta Parks Ecological Reserve
  • Other Trail Uses: None

Trailhead:  Approximately 62 km west of Nordegg and 21 km east of the Banff National Park boundary. The trail starts at the Siffleur Falls Staging Area which provides ample parking space and dry washrooms.

The trail guide

Trailhead to End of Boardwalk – 1.2km

From the trailhead parking lot, the trail can be found behind the information signs. Go down the hill and on to level ground, heading towards the suspension bridge. You will be crossing an open grassy area that contains some interpretive signs with information on the area and why it is unique. Make your way across the North Saskatchewan River on the suspension bridge. On the other side you will find a boardwalk that protects this extremely fragile area, so please stay on it. Enjoy the open terrain that affords distant views of the surrounding mountains. At the end of the boardwalk, follow the Glacier Trail straight ahead toward the Siffleur River. Do not take the trail to the right, this follows the North Saskatchewan River upstream and does not go to the falls.

End of Boardwalk to Siffleur River Bridge – 0.7km

The trail soon enters a forested stretch along the side of a big hill on the right. Keep following this flat section until you reach the bridged Siffleur River. There are great views up and downstream from the bridge. On the other side of the bridge the trail splits in two – take the right hand trail that has a no biking sign on it.

Siffleur Bridge to Siffleur Falls – 1.7km

The trail follows the river a short distance before reaching the only hill on this hike. It is a short uphill to some great views of Two O’Clock Ridge across the valley and the Siffleur River canyon. After you have caught your breath and soaked in the views, continue through the mature forest, working your way towards the canyon. The first viewing platform is at the bottom of a small downhill and affords an amazing view down river and up into the slot canyon.

Continue on the trail and work your way down a few rocky sections and small hills towards the next viewing platform. There are several lookouts along the way that do not have railings so be extra careful, especially with the snow and ice, if you decide to take a look. From the second platform, you can see the frozen Siffleur Falls cascading into a deep slot canyon.

Keep going upstream to a second viewing area from where you can see where the river falls over the cliff. Most people take a break here and turn around. If you still have energy and want to explore further, there is a non-maintained trail that follows the river upstream starting behind the warning sign. Follow the trail away from the falls and along the river as it curves to the left. Up and over a small hill, you will peer into a shallow canyon with some beautiful water sculpted rocks. In winter, most people turn around here. There are two smaller falls further up the canyon, but the trail is eroded in some areas and comes close to the canyon edge. In winter this section is not recommended unless you have microspikes and backcountry experience.

The Return Trail

Return the way you came.

Follow Our Adventures