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Hiking the Kootenay Plains

Hiking in Central Alberta

From prairies to the Rocky Mountains, Central Alberta has the best hikes around.

Throughout David Thompson Country explore the quieter side of the foothills and the Rocky Mountains. Featuring spectacular waterfalls, jagged peaks, remote alpine meadows carpeted in wildflowers and glacier-fed lakes without the crowds.

The Red Deer area is the perfect place for a stroll through the parkland and prairie landscape. From the City of Red Deer's extensive trail system to the J.J. Collett Natural Area there is no shortage of options.



A great option for a short hike taking you close to the edge of the Cline River Canyon and to dramatic views along the way.

This trail is similar to the first section of the Coral and Cline Canyons hike (you'll see the trail across the canyon on many occasions) with the option of reaching the bottom of the canyon in an area popular in the winter with ice climbers.


A classic hike on the Kootenay Plains. This is one of the most popular hike in the area and for good reasons. The easy trail takes you right to the edge of the Siffleur River canyon and up close to some great views of Siffleur Falls, all in a 7 km hike.

This guide is currently being updated.


This short paved loop gives a good introduction to Alberta's oldest federal migratory bird sanctuary, taking you from the Kerry Wood Nature Centre to the bird blind on the West Gaetz Lake and across an area typical of the aspen parkland where the forest and the grassland exist side by side.

Along the way keep an eye out for hairy and downy woodpeckers, nuthatch, chickadee, ruffed grouse, red-tailed hawk, waterfowl, beaver, muskrat, Richardson ground squirrel, coyote, deer or even a moose.


Explore Alberta's oldest federal migratory bird sanctuary. This 4 km loop takes you from the Kerry Wood Nature Centre around the Gaetz Lakes with stops at bird blinds and viewpoints along the way. Take your time on this hike to stop and look at the flowers, birds and wildlife that make their home in this wild refuge in the middle of the city.


After a crazy summer we finally had a chance to head out for a couple days of family fun. We'd originally planned to do the second mine tour but they had closed for the season the day before. Making new plans on a lazy day we decided to head out for a short family hike. We hadn't spent much time at Goldeye Lake before and since we'd often heard about it we decided to give it a try.

Maybe our expectations were too high but we were a little disappointed with this hike. While pleasant and a great option for an evening stroll, we found that this walk didn't offer views or an experience as good as nearby Fish Lake.


I found this hike almost by accident. The Miners' Cafe in Nordegg posted a picture of the area and it looked well worth the hike. The first attempt on a rainy and muddy day, following the directions from the David Thompson Highway Hiking Guide, wasn't overly successful. It also turned out that the directions were for the summit, not the ridge I was looking for.

My second attempt, from the Beaverdam PRA was much more fruitful, taking me along a nice trail through the forest up to the ridge, overlooking the townsite, with views of the Rockies to the west and far onto the horizon to the east. Eagle Mountain Ridge is not as busy as it's neighbour, Coliseum Mountain, and offers views that are at least as spectacular.


The trail to the first set of falls on the Siffleur River is very popular but going beyond those falls offers great views and the likelihood of hiking the rest of the day without seeing anyone else.


The wide open grassland mixed with stands of aspen along the pine forest give a hike along the Kootenay Plains are different hiking experience David Thompson Country.

This hike takes you along the North Saskatchewan River from the Siffleur River to near Preacher's Point, along hoodoos and through meadows to a nice viewpoint of Abraham Lake, Ex Coelis Mountain and the Whiterabbit Creek area.


A classic hike on the Kootenay Plains. This is one of the most popular hike in the area and for good reasons. The easy trail takes you right to the edge of the Siffleur River canyon and up close to some great views of Siffleur Falls, all in a 7 km hike.


This is one of the most popular trail in the Nordegg area. The elevation gain and the "cap" of the mountain gives you 360 degree panorama of the foothills and Rockies, making this a classic hike in David Thompson Country.


Hike up a gated fire road to an active fire lookout overlooking Nordegg, Coliseum Mountain and the Rockies. Enjoy a 360 degree panorama from the summit, taking in the views of the forested foothills, the Brazeau Range and the Rockies.