Cat Creek Falls is a hike a with a Twist. I can’t think of an easier hike with a more rewarding journey, and destination that is perfect for all ages, all skill levels. The Twist is that you can explore this area farther, discover more waterfalls, and have one heck of an adventure – this part is for the fit, and the experienced.

Getting There

Cat Creek Falls hike starts from the Cat Creek day use area at the south side of Highway 40 in Kananaskis. Highway 40 goes from Highway 1 as you go towards Banff/Canmore, and connects to the back end of Longview via Highway 541.

If you are leaving from Calgary you have 3 options:

  • From NW Calgary the best route would be taking Highway 1 to 40 and looping through one of the most scenic roads down there.
  • Take Deerfoot to Okotoks to Longview. As you get in to Longview take your first right, and it will be a 30 min drive from there.
  • Take 22x West towards Bragg Creek, right before Priddis take Highway 22 South through the towns of Millarville, Turner Valley, and Black Diamond to Longview. This is my favourite route as I love those charming little towns. They offer plenty of stopping spots (and on the way back). As you get into Longview take your first right, and it’s 30 min drive away.

Cat Creek day use area would be on your left if you are driving from the bottom of Highway 40 or on your right if you are coming from the north.

 

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Nothing like rolling hills and wildflowers 🌺.

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The Hike

This is a beautiful area to explore if you like wildflowers, fishing or have a picnic by the water – but we are here for the hike; the waterfall is waiting!  The trail head starts on right as you drive into the parking lot by the information board. It is a little confusing to find at first but when you see it you will think it is so obvious.

The trail starts with a short, up hill walk in the woods from the parking lot to Highway 40. You have to cross the road to the other side to continue the hike – please be super careful, and look both ways as you cross. After you get to the other side safely the steep part of the hike begins. Don’t worry it is just a little uphill that takes you to some beautiful vantage points. This climb, and climb back up to this area is pretty much all the elevation on this hike. Perfect for all levels including kids on their very first hike!

From there you will go down into the woods, up a small hill, down a meadow, and you will see a creek on your right. Continue on the trail as you will enter the beginning of the canyon who will shortly lead you to your destination:

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No sharks underneath 🦈

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The water is cold but it is cool little swimming hole for humans, and dogs. The area in it is self is not that big so I would recommend coming here during a week day or not on a long weekend. 25 people will make it feel crowded.

The Twist

I promised you more waterfalls. You see in the picture above where the waterfall is coming down from? The canyon behind it holds some gems.

You get there by climbing the vertical side of the canyon where there is a rope hanging down. I can’t express this enough – don’t do this unless you have some climbing experience, fit, and have a strong upper body. Oh yea; and not afraid of heights. Coming down this section is just as scary.

If you climbed up the rope section, crouch down make you away around the canyon wall, and you will find yourself in the back of the water fall above. This is where your adventure begins.

As you go deeper into the canyon (but don’t need to go too far) you will find another beautiful waterfall that you will most likely have all to your self. You can climb around it up a slippery sketchy hill on the right that has a rope as well. Go down around it. Make sure in this section you climb one by one so you don’t kick rocks on someone else below. As you go down the hill you will be on the other side of that waterfall, and can continue to follow the stream to yet another waterfall! This is as far as I made it…for now 😉

Note: if you going to follow ‘The Twist’ make sure you have shoes that you can get wet, and I can’t say this enough – able to do it! You will have to rock climb, go around the edge of the canyon, and in the water. Careful that the ropes are not weathered.

Distance: 2.6 km roundtrip

Elevation:  250m

Difficulty: Super easy. Perfect for all ages, all hiking experience, and fitness levels.

Time: You can hike it in under 45 min but you should stay, and enjoy the area.

Season: Highway 40 is closed some parts of the year for wildlife. June to October would be ideal.

Dog Friendly: Very much so!

 

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