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The Hike to Siffleur Falls in David Thompson Country

Sometimes it’s the adventures you don’t plan that turn out to be highly memorable.

The hike to Siffleur Falls in David Thompson Country was one such adventure. It was totally unplanned – and even in early March, a highly worthwhile hike.

The trailhead is accessed from Highway 11 – a super scenic section of highway that runs east from Saskatchewan River Crossing to connect with Highway 12 west of Settler, Alberta. John and I had other ideas for the day but because of my wimpiness when it comes to driving on deserted, snow covered roads, we chose to return to Calgary via Lake Louise and Banff instead of Rocky Mountain House – where we’d spent a delightful couple of nights.

Pretty scenery on the way to Siffleur Falls

Pretty scenery on the way to Siffleur Falls

I’d driven this section of highway years ago on the way to Aurum Lodge, but I must have been too busy chatting in the car to have noticed the scenery. It’s almost Icefields Parkway kind of spectacular!

The trailhead to Siffleur Falls on the south side of the highway is well marked. I never did see any information about the length of the trail but perhaps I wasn’t looking in the right spot. I originally thought it would be a 15 minute sort of hike.

It’s not!

In fact, to get to the first set of falls, it’s four kilometres one way – on an easy trail but it’s likely to take you at least an hour, especially if you’re a photographer.

Had we known the state of the trail, I would also have taken “icers” with me – those grippers you attach to your shoes or boots to make walking easier.

Educational signs enroute to Siffleur Falls

Educational signs enroute to Siffleur Falls

North Saskatchewan River

In early March the river doesn’t have much ice on it – at least this year

Crossing the river via a suspension bridge

Crossing the river via a suspension bridge

The North Saskatchewan River is a very appealing colour of blue

The North Saskatchewan River is a very appealing colour of blue

The long suspension bridge across the North Saskatchewan River

The long suspension bridge across the North Saskatchewan River

Boardwalk on route to Siffleur Falls

A long section of boardwalk where it can get extremely windy and dusty

The hike to Siffleur Falls in Alberta

An easy section of snow, mud and puddles

When we arrived at the gorge area, a sign explained where the name Siffleur originated. In French, siffleur is the word for whistling.  I guess there are (or were) a lot of hoary marmots in the area; Known for their particularly loud whistling, Sir James Hector in 1858 decided to name Siffleur Mountain and Siffleur Falls after the marmots.

Expansive views - but don't get close to the edge

Expansive views – but don’t get close to the edge

John and I went only as far as the first set of waterfalls. There are two more waterfalls – the next set another 2.5 kilometres up the trail and the third set a further 1.5 kilometres. I understand that there’s a small campsite at the final set of falls.

This would be a delightful hike to do again in the summer. To see the water roaring through the gorge would be quite the sight.

Until all the snow melts, exercise extreme caution on the sections of icy trail that are adjacent to any dropoffs. Kids and dogs were on the trail; keep an eye on both as a few unfortunate people have lost their lives here.

Siffleur Falls, Alberta

You can hear the water; this would be an amazing place to stand during the spring melt

Siffleur Falls, Alberta

Looking down into the gorge

Siffleur Falls hike

Looking down the gorge

Trail to Siffleur Falls in Alberta

It’s definitely easier going up the slippery section than down

There’s a lot more of the David Thompson Country to explore? Can you recommend other must-do hikes in the area?

The Hike to Siffleur Falls in David Thompson Country, Alberta

Thank you to Travel Alberta for helping make this trip possible – all part of my weekend in Rocky Mountain House. As always all thoughts are mine alone.

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Author Leigh

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure - & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project - a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

More posts by Leigh

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • budget jan says:

    That hike looks so beautiful. Canada is such a beautiful place. That is the longest suspension bridge I’ve seen. The hike would be beautiful when the wildflowers are out.

  • Marcia says:

    Spectacular views, Leigh! Too bad you didn’t have your ‘icers’ to explore more but this is a sumptuous intro. Hope you return and show us its spring or summer views. Love that bridge!
    (PS: Read this initially on my phone via the Google app and tried twice to leave a comment but it kept telling me I needed to download Java since your site doesn’t accept spam. I was sure I’d left a comment using my phone before but I can’t recall if I did it thru Google.)

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