Coral Creek Canyon

The broad valley above the canyon

The Narrow Canyons of the Cline River and Coral Creek

by | Published on July 16, 2013 | Last updated on July 5, 2019

Based on a visit to the area on July 5, 2013, July 14, 2014 and May 7, 2017

Coral Canyon is probably one of the most delightful half-day hikes in the area with gorgeous views and narrow canyons along the way.
While the hike itself is not overly long, the perfect lunch spot awaits with dramatic views of Coral Creek. Plan on spending some extra time on this hike.
Cline River Canyon

The Cline River Canyon

Cline River Canyon

Hiking along the Cline River

This hike is located in the Cline River Area. It is an area that includes alpine, subalpine and boreal upland ecoregions with a significant population of grizzly bears, elk, goats and mountain sheeps.




Plan Your Adventure

Trail conditions can change quickly. The June 2013 flood changed many of the trails that ran along creeks and rivers. The map and directions below are based on our hike in the area on July 5, 2013, July 14, 2014 and May 7, 2017.

  • Activity: Hike
  • Distance: 7.7 km return
  • Elevation Gain: ~190 m
  • Challenge Level: Easy / Moderate
  • Family Friendly: Yes - no strollers
  • Trail Type: Partial loop
  • Trail Conditions: Good
  • Season: April to October
  • Congestion: Minimal - helicopter tours flying above
  • Alternate Descriptions: David Thompson Highway Hiking Guide includes a version of this hike.
  • Trailhead: Coral Creek Staging Area. Parking available, no washrooms.

Guided Tours

Enjoy the comfort that comes with a guide who knows the area’s trails, wildlife and terrain so that you can focus on your adventure, while the rest is taken care of.

  • Management: Alberta Environment
  • Protection Status: Kiska / Wilson PLUZ
  • Other Trail Uses: Horses
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes
  • Permits / Restrictions: None
  • Cell Reception: Limited

Head Out With A Guide

Make the most of your adventure and head out with a guide. Pursuit Adventures offers half day guided hikes to Coral Creek Canyon from April to November. Book below or check out the full itinerary.

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Head Out On Your Own

Sometimes you just want to head out on your own to explore the area. We get it. Here's the guide for the Coral Creek Canyon trail.

Coral Creek Canyon

  • 0.7 km | Stream crossing
  • 2.7 km | Trail starts to level out
From the trailhead parking lot, head toward the trail kiosk where you will find the well defined path.

A short walk from the parking lot (approximately 100m) you will come across a stream crossing. There are usually enough rocks and logs to make it across with dry feet but a pair of hiking poles is helpful for balance as you cross this slippery section.

As the trail starts to climb after the stream crossing you will notice a smaller trail to the left heading into the forest. This is the trail we will follow here since it offers the best views of the Cline River and Coral Creek canyons. For those looking for an easier option, the horse trail alternative is described further down.

Coral Creek Canyon
Coral Creek Canyon
The June 2013 flood washed out the trail in many sections. A new trail has formed along the river. Remember throughout the first section that although the old trail is visible, many sections are unstable. Stick with the new path.
Coral Creek Canyon
From there the trail follows the Cline River. The trail start to climb away from the river as you approach the Cline River canyon. From there follow along the canyon until you reach the confluence of the Cline River and Coral Creek.
Coral Creek Canyon
Coral Creek Canyon
Coral Creek Canyon




At this point you will reach a viewpoint overlooking the Coral Creek canyon and a junction with the horse trail (the horse trail veers off a short distance from the viewpoint along the cut line).

Continue along the canyon, following the path through the forest and along the ridge until you meet the horse trail. Follow the sign for Coral Creek. From here you are approximately 500 metres from the viewpoints.

Coral Creek Canyon
Coral Creek Canyon
Coral Creek Canyon
As the trail reaches the top of the hill heading into the forest, follow the smaller trail leading down toward the canyon and a great viewpoint of the narrow canyon and broad valley above. This makes for a great lunch spot but we'd suggest heading a little further along the trail and down to the creek.

Head back up to the horse trail and follow it into the forest and down the hill on the other side all the way to the creek.

Coral Creek Canyon

On the way back, follow the trail into the forest for a more relaxing adventure back to the trailhead. You will see the trail on your left shortly after the viewpoint access.

Alternate Trail

The trail described above is easy with some steeper sections. Those looking for an easier option can follow the horse trail at the first junction, shortly after the creek crossing. While on the main horse trail you will come across many trails to your right, heading into the forest. Keep going straight on the main path until the well used horse path veers right into the forest. At this junction, stay on the horse trail for the easier option or continue straight ahead to join the more scenic hiking trail.

Even if you intend to follow the horse trail at this point, we strongly encourage you to go straight ahead catch an up close view of the canyon. It is a short distance away and you can easily back track to this junction to resume your journey on the horse trail if you choose to.




Outdoor Safety

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 very limited cell phone reception. We recommend carrying an InReach on your hikes. A pay phone is available at David Thompson Resort.
  • 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.