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Hiking Survey Hill

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.

This hike is located in the Kootenay Plains area. It is one of the largest montane area left in Alberta and due to it's dry and warm micro climate is an important wintering area for wildlife.

Trail Guide

Trail conditions can change quickly. The map and directions below are based on our hike in the area on September 29, 2014 and March 31, 2015.

  • Activity: Hike
  • Distance: 13.3 km
  • Elevation Gain: ~200 m
  • Challenge Level: Moderate
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Trail Type: Partial Loop
  • Trail Conditions: Good
  • Season: Year Round
  • Congestion: Minimal
  • Management: Alberta Parks
  • Protection Status: Kootenay Plains Ecological Reserve
  • Trailhead: Parking Lot. Dry toilets.
  • Other Trail Uses: Mountain biking
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes
  • Permits / Restrictions: None
  • Cell Reception: None
  • Alternate Descriptions: The David Thompson Highway - A Hiking Guide includes a version of this hike. The trail referred to as The Meadows is a bushwhack with only a few sections of trail still visible. Alberta Parks and The Friends of the David Thompson Corridor refer to the Siffleur Benches trail when they say Survey Hill.

Trailhead: The trailhead is 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.

Central Alberta Guided Hikes



Go with a guide who knows the area's trails, history, wildlife and terrain. Join a small group guided hike or plan a private adventure.

VIEW ALL HIKING TOURS

The Hike

    Survey Hill Access | 6.9 km

  • 0.5 km | Suspension bridge
  • 1.8 km | Siffleur River: go left at 3 way junction
  • 2.6 km | Go left at top of the bench trail junction
  • 3.0 km | Hoodoos
  • 5.0 km | Junction: go left
  • 5.3 km | Junction with alternate trail: go right
  • 6.2 km | Go left on Glacier Trail
  • 6.4 km | Creek crossing: look for path on the right
  • 6.9 km | Survey Hill viewpoint
  • Survey Hill Return Trail | 6.4 km

  • 0.7 km | Follow the trail into the forest
  • 1.6 km | Junction: go left
  • 1.8 km | Junction: go left
  • 3.3 km | Glacier Trail is next to the trail
  • 4.6 km | Siffleur River
  • 6.4 km | Trailhead


Survey Hill Access

From the trailhead parking lot, follow the main Siffleur Falls trail making your way across the North Saskatchewan River on the suspension bridge. At the end of the boardwalk, follow Glacier Trail on the left toward the Siffleur River. Shortly after the bridge there is a 3 way intersection. The trail to the right is the Siffleur falls trail, the one straight ahead is the Glacier Trail (an alternate option - see below) and you want to follow the path to the left toward the forest.

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

The trail skirts the Siffleur River before heading up the hill toward the bench above. As you make your way up the switchback take a few seconds to check out the views upstream on the North Saskatchewan River.

At the top of the hill there is a junction. The trail straight ahead will be your return trail but for now follow the one on the left. A short distance from the junction you'll come across an open meadow overlooking the Kootenay Plains. This is the top of the hoodoos that can be seen from the highway.

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

The trail can be faint in this first section. Make your way across the meadow along the edge of the cliff until your reach the forest where the trail is once again visible. This next section takes you along the edge of the North Saskatchewan River with great views of the Kootenay Plains and Mount Ernest Ross.

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

When the trail narrows and heads down a steeper hill, follow along to the bottom of the gully. From there the trail makes it way back up the other side to a junction with the trail from the junction at the top of the bench.

Go left at the junction and continue on the main path to the right at the next intersection. The path to the left is a great option if you're looking at extending your hike along the North Saskatchewan River to the meadows across from Preacher's Point. The details of that path are described below.

After a pleasant walk through the forest the trail opens up onto a large meadow with a larger trail cutting through the middle of it. This is the Glacier Trail from earlier. Straight ahead is Survey Hill but Wilson Creek and the many beavers in the area will force you on a slight detour.

Hiking Survey Hill

Follow Glacier Trail to your left toward the base of Survey Hill. Look for a good spot to cross the creek and then turn right to follow the base of the hill until a trail appears. From there follow the the trail up and around the hill until your reach the top of a steep trail back down to the meadow. This is the best spot to take a break and enjoy the views of Abraham Lake and the Whiterabbit Creek area before heading back.

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

The Return Trail

Make your way back to the trailhead retracing your footstep to the meadow and the trail in the forest. Another option is to follow the Glacier Trail back to the Siffleur River, as described below.

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

At the first junction stay on the left, retracing your footsteps from earlier. At the next junction, take a left this time. This way is slightly shorter and makes for a nice change of scenery on the way back.

Along the way you'll notice an old road nearby, this is the Glacier Trail. Stay on the hiking path back to the Siffleur River.

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

When you rejoin the trail from earlier, head down the hill and make your way back to the trailhead.

Alternate Trails

The North Saskatchewan and the Meadows

The trail above gives a great access to Survey Hill but if you have a little more time we encourage you to extend your hike along the edge of the river to the meadows across from Preacher's Point. This option will add 2.1 km to your hike.

From the junction at 5.2 km onto the main trail, go left to follow along the edge of the cliffs overlooking the North Saskatchewan River. The trail gradually descends toward the meadows, taking you into a the classic park setting. Make your way across the meadow, following the path to a junction with Glacier Trail. Take a right and follow the old road to the base of Survey Hill. Coming from this side the easiest access is at the left end of the meadow at the base of the hill where you'll find a well worn path heading straight up to the viewpoint.

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

Glacier Trail

Another approach to Survey Hill is using Glacier Trail, an old road that is now a multi-purpose trail. A good option if you're out for a bike ride as a family, the trail tends to be a little tedious for hiking but does provide an option for those looking for flatter grounds on their back to the trailhead. The trail follows the edge of the Kootenay Plains Ecological Reserve for most of the way, taking you past a trapper's campsite and offering glimpses of the mountains along the way.

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

Hiking Survey Hill

More Pictures

Hiking to Survey Hill
Hiking to Survey Hill
Hiking The Meadows
Hiking to Survey Hill
Across From Preacher's Point
Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Across From Preacher's Point
  • Across From Preacher's Point
  • Across From Preacher's Point
  • Late Summer Snow on Mount Peskett
  • Late Summer Snow on Mount Peskett
  • Late Summer Snow on Mount Peskett
  • Trapper's Camp
  • Hiking The Meadows
  • Hiking The Meadows
  • Hiking The Meadows
  • Hiking The Meadows
  • Hiking The Meadows
  • Hiking The Meadows
  • Hiking The Meadows
  • Hiking The Meadows
  • Hiking The Meadows
  • Hiking The Meadows
  • Hiking The Meadows
  • Hiking The Meadows
  • Hiking The Meadows
  • Hiking The Meadows
  • Abandonned Cabin
  • Abandonned Cabin
  • Fall Colours on Whiterabbit Creek
  • Across From Preacher's Point
  • Across From Preacher's Point
  • Across From Preacher's Point
  • Across From Preacher's Point
  • Across From Preacher's Point
  • Across From Preacher's Point
  • Across From Preacher's Point
  • Across From Preacher's Point
  • Across From Preacher's Point
  • Across From Preacher's Point
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill
  • Hiking to Survey Hill


  • Outdoor Safety

    • 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 no cell phone reception. We recommend carrying an InReach on your hikes. A pay phone is located near the trailhead on the side of the highway.
    • Information provided here may be inaccurate or outdated. Always make sure to obtain current information before going on your adventure.

    Disclaimer

    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 ways 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 this trail? Let us know about your adventure in the comments below.


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