Quick housekeeping: This is not the Evan Thomas trail nor the Mount Evan Thomas (rarely hiked) summit route. This is the super fun frozen waterfall winter hike. It is, mostly, only accessible winter time as part of the loop requires walking over a creek which requires a good build up of snow, and natural bridges. I say mostly because you can still go explore spring/summer time if you don’t mind getting wet by glacier water.

This is one of those hikes that you can make as hard, and as adventurous as you want. You will have a great time with the whole family, and as it a well travelled hike you won’t even need snowshoes. This is a busy one thought; get here early or late to avoid the crowds!

Getting There

It’s a hard place to miss. From Highway 1 (Trans Canada) take Highway 40 turnoff into Kananaskis. You will pass Nakiska turnoff (aka Troll Falls), and shortly after Kananaskis Golf Course you will see Evan-Thomas Provincial Recreational Area sign. Take a left into a pretty generous parking area.


The Hike

As you leave the parking lot you will be hiking the first little while in a wooded corridor. To your right once in a while you see some glimpses of the creek valley with beautiful mountains all around. As it is a loop hike, in about a kilometer you will have to make a choice: go counter clockwise (to your right) or clockwise (to your left).

If you want the scenic route that will give you slight incline exercise with fairly rewarding view then go to your left, counter clock. This will keep you on a wooded dense path for another little while. Don’t miss the turn right (I did) to the loop. If you gone to an opening with a little valley, and a canyon on your far right then you missed the turn. You actually going to be hiking on top of that canyon, and back down to connect the loop. This is a much more challenging option, and can be very slippery with deep snow depending on the time of the year.

If you choose the let’s get to the waterfalls, counter clock, path then you will have a fairly straight forward hike. You will walk into the valley you had previews of from the woods, and follow the creek along side a spectacular mountain cliff. If you get a chance, find a quiet spot a little ways past the first falls, and just listen to nature. You will hear the woods around you move, birds, and the cliff will come alive with sounds. It’s the beautiful raw moments we wonder into the mountains for.

This will be the first frozen waterfall you will pass.

After the waterfall above you will continue along the creek. and right before the woods you will see a trail that goes to your left. This is where the loop connects but the hike isn’t over yet. Just past the woods is where the action begins. You will notice the creek runs into the canyon what seems like a dead end. It is not. You can actually climb into it via the path up to your left.

The next section can be scary, and dangerous when it’s icy. If you are afraid of heights, and have a dog I do not recommend to continue on.

Evan Thomas Creek, Kananaskis, Alberta, Calgary, Kirk Lubimov

You will have to hug the wall on a narrow path up, and around over the side of the canyon. There are some ropes to help you but as you see the margin for error is very small. This reminds me of that part on Mount Yamnuska hike. Besides the narrow path, you will have to rope down a steep but short section into the canyon. This is the part where it’s almost impossible, and risky for dogs. Unless you have a super agile pooch.

On the other side you will have a short but beautiful walk to some other waterfalls. The space here is very narrow, and frankly just won’t be as fun on a crowded day. If you can, pick a time that you think will be less busy on the trail. You would want to spend as much as possible at this:

Distance: About 14km if you the whole loop, and go into the canyon.

Elevation: 450 of pretty steady incline if you go left. If you take a right into the valley there is almost no elevation.

Difficulty: Easy all the way around. Great beginner hike.

Time: 5-6 hours.

Season: Winter.

Dog Friendly: Yes. Except the climb into the back canyon.

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