Eagle Mountain Ridge

The Rockies from Eagle Mountain Ridge

Foothills and Rocky Mountains

by | Published on June 17, 2015 | Last updated on July 5, 2019

Based on a visit to the area on June 15, 2015

The lesser known neighbour to Coliseum Mountain, the Eagle Mountain Ridge hike takes you to amazing views of the Rockies and foothills.

The ridge walk gives a different perspective on the area, away from the crowds yet overlooking Nordegg and the David Thompson Highway.

Eagle Mountain Ridge

Abraham Lake in the distance

Eagle Mountain Ridge

Making our way up through the forest

I found this hike almost by accident. The Miners' Cafe in Nordegg posted a picture of the area and it looked well worth the hike. The first attempt on a rainy and muddy day, following the directions from the David Thompson Highway Hiking Guide, wasn't overly successful. It also turned out that the directions were for the summit, not the ridge I was looking for.

My second attempt, from the Beaverdam PRA was much more fruitful, taking me along a nice trail through the forest up to the ridge, overlooking the townsite, with views of the Rockies to the west and far onto the horizon to the east. Eagle Mountain Ridge is not as busy as it's neighbour, Coliseum Mountain, and offers views that are at least as spectacular.

Plan Your Adventure

Trail conditions can change quickly. The map and directions below are based on our hike in the area on June 15, 2015.

  • Activity: Hike
  • Distance: 15.4 km return
  • Elevation Gain: ~660 m
  • Challenge Level: Moderate
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Trail Type: There and back
  • Trail Conditions: Good
  • Season: April to November
  • Congestion: Minimal
  • Alternate Descriptions: The David Thompson Highway - A Hiking Guide refers to Eagle Mountain with an access from Harlech. This approach leads to the summit rather than the ridge and involves some scrambling, way finding and bushwhacking. Part of the trail is also described in Nordegg Area Mountain Bike Trails by Frontier Lodge as GET ER DONE.
  • Trailhead: The trail starts at the Beaverdam Provincial Recreation Area, 6 km east of Nordegg on Highway 11.

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 Parks / Alberta Environment
  • Protection Status: Beaverdam PRA / Crown Land
  • Other Trail Uses: Mountain Biking
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes
  • Permits / Restrictions: None
  • Cell Reception: Good

Head Out With A Guide

Make the most of your adventure and head out with a guide. Pursuit Adventures offers guided hikes to Eagle Mountain Ridge 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 Eagle Mountain Ridge trail.

The Service Road | 2.2 km

  • 0.5 km | Locked gate
  • 1.5 km | Old railway next to the road
  • 1.8 km | Crossing the old railway and abandoned overflow campground
  • 2.2 km | End of the service road

The Forest | 3.9 km

  • 2.2 km | Follow the trail into the woodlot
  • 2.9 km | Continue on the main trail, straight ahead
  • 3.0 km | The trail enters the forest
  • 5.0 km | Continue on the main trail, straight ahead
  • 5.4 km | Steep section
  • 6.1 km | Path to the ridge

The Ridge | 1.6 km

  • 6.1 km | Follow the path at the wood cairn
  • 6.5 km | Base of the ridge
  • 7.7 km | End of the ridge

Return Hike | 7.7 km

The Service Road | 2.2 km

The first section of the trail is on the service road leading to an abandoned overflow campground and woodlot. Park your vehicle at the Beaverdam Provincial Recreation Area campground and head back on the service road toward a locked gate at 0.5 km. The road heads into the forest and gradually up the hill. Walk past the various trails and paths along the way, staying on the road until you reach the abandoned overflow campground at 1.8 km.

Eagle Mountain Ridge
Eagle Mountain Ridge
Eagle Mountain Ridge
Eagle Mountain Ridge
After 1.5 km you'll notice the old railway, now a quad trail, running along the road. The road will be crossing the trail shortly, taking you into the abandoned campground.

The abandoned overflow campground is now used for staff accommodation, firewood and equipment storage by a local campground operator. There is no camping allowed. Please stay clear of all equipment and property as you follow the road along Martin Creek to the woodlot and the next section of the trail.

Eagle Mountain Ridge
Eagle Mountain Ridge
Eagle Mountain Ridge

The Forest | 3.9 km

At the end of the campground, follow the trail heading into the woodlot. The trail is well established and easy to find.

Keep an eye out for wildlife, flowers and berries as you walk through the logged area. The trail to the right at 2.9 km provides access to a climbing area. The Eagle Mountain Ridge trail is straight ahead .

Eagle Mountain Ridge
Eagle Mountain Ridge
Eagle Mountain Ridge
Eagle Mountain Ridge
Eagle Mountain Ridge
From there the trail head into the forest for a pleasant hike with a steady uphill. While the trail is enjoyable the views are limited for most of the next 3 km.

The route is straightforward and at 5 km continue straight ahead where a narrower trail with flagging tape heads into the forest. It becomes obvious at this point that we've already gained significant elevation and there are glimpses of the views to come.

Eagle Mountain Ridge
Eagle Mountain Ridge
Eagle Mountain Ridge
At last we can see through the trees the ridge we're heading for. A quick glance at the cliff bands gives us a heads up that we have some elevation to gain ahead. The steepest section of the trail is coming up ahead. It is relatively short and with hiking poles there's nothing to worry about, even on a rainy day.
Eagle Mountain Ridge
Eagle Mountain Ridge
Eagle Mountain Ridge
Once you get your first glance at Coliseum Mountain and Baldy you know that the views from the ridge will be worth the hike.

The next junction is easy to miss; make sure to keep an eye for a piece of flagging tape and a cairn made of logs and stumps to your left.

Eagle Mountain Ridge
Eagle Mountain Ridge

Ridgewalk | 1.6 km

From the marker, follow the path into the trees making your way to the base of the ridge approximately 400 metres away. The summit of Eagle Mountain is directly to the south at this point. This is the destination of the hike described in the David Thompson Highway guidebook.

Eagle Mountain Ridge
Eagle Mountain Ridge
Eagle Mountain Ridge
Eagle Mountain Ridge
Once you reach the base of the ridge there is a nice quiet spot tempting you to stop for lunch. Continue on for the short walk up the ridge for even better options for a lunch and a rest.
Eagle Mountain Ridge
Walk along the length on the ridge for great views of the forest area to the east toward Rocky Mountain House and views of Nordegg, the historic mine site, Abraham Lake and the front range of the Rockies.
Eagle Mountain Ridge
Eagle Mountain Ridge
Eagle Mountain Ridge

The Return | 7.7 km

Retrace your footstep to return to the trailhead.

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 good cell phone reception. We recommend carrying an InReach on your hikes. The nearest phone access is in Nordegg.
  • 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.