Hoodoo Creek

Hoodoos and Abraham Lake

Hoodoos, a cave and great views of abraham lake

by | Published on August 27, 2013 | Last updated on July 5, 2019

Based on a visit to the area on August 17, 2013

Scramble up the creek bed to a cave and great views of Abraham Lake. The popular Hoodoo Creek hike offers great views the entire way along highway 11.

An unofficial trail takes you in and out of the creek bed, making your way up the narrowing valley pass two hoodoos on the way to the shallow cave.

Hoodoo Creek

An oasis on the cliff where you’ll find the cave

Hoodoo Creek

Hoodoos along the way

Hoodoos like the ones you’ll see on this hike are evidence of the glaciers that once covered the area. As they advanced and retreated over the region, they carried rocks of various size and deposited them along the way.

The deposit, called till, contained a mixture of clay, sand fragments and occasionaly larg rocks. In some cases like here, the calcium carbonate in the limestone cemented the deposits together.

A the water eroded the deposits, those hardened deposits remained as pillars called hoodoos.




Plan Your Adventure

Trail conditions can change quickly. The map and directions below are based on our hike in the area on July 28, 2013.

  • Activity: Hike
  • Distance: 3.8 km return
  • Elevation Gain: ~360 m
  • Challenge Level: Moderate
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Trail Type: There and back
  • Trail Conditions: Unofficial trail – easy scrambling and creek walking
  • Season: April to November
  • Congestion: Moderate
  • Alternate Descriptions: The David Thompson Highway – A Hiking Guide includes a version of this hike.
  • Trailhead: The trail starts along highway 11, 2.8 km west of the Windy Point access. There is a cairn with an informal marker on the side of the road where the trail starts and Hoodoo Creek is now marked with a green highway sign. This is 52 km east of Saskatchewan Crossing and 39 km west of Nordegg.

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: None
  • 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 guided hikes from April to November. Get in touch with them to plan your custom adventure to Hoodoo Creek.

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 Hoodoo Creek trail.

Access Trail | 1.9 km

  • 1.0 km | Hoodoos
  • 1.8 km | Cave Access
  • 1.9 km | Cave

Return Trail | 1.9 km

  • Retrace your steps back to the trailhead

Unfortunately this trail can be a little hard to find at first. Alberta Transportation has now added a green highway sign for Hoodoo Creek, making it easier to find the trailhead but there is still no trailhead parking lot. On weekends it’s often easier given the number of cars parked on the side of the road, otherwise it is the first major creek after Windy Point when you’re heading west. There is a cairn on the side of the road with a stick and quite often flagging tape marking the start of the trail.

The trail is on the right side of the creek and right from the start there are some great views of Abraham Lake and surrounding mountains.

Hoodoo Creek
Hoodoo Creek
Hoodoo Creek
Hoodoo Creek
Hoodoo Creek
For the first kilometre, the trail is in good shape and stays to the right of the creek while it steadily gains elevation. The views improve as you go and before long you’ll reach the hoodoos that are the namesake for this creek.
Hoodoo Creek
Hoodoo Creek
Hoodoo Creek
Hoodoo Creek
Hoodoo Creek
After the hoodoos the trail disappears and the next section is a mix of walk and scramble along the creek bed.
Hoodoo Creek
Hoodoo Creek
Hoodoo Creek
The access to the cave is up a steep scree slope. It is a well used path and quite easy to find.
Hoodoo Creek
Hoodoo Creek
Hoodoo Creek
Hoodoo Creek

Extending Your Hike

If you have time after visiting the cave it is well worth continuing up the creek for 300 to 600 metres. At a fork in the creek there is a nice cascade down the side of the mountain and going further on the right fork gives some nice views of the V shaped valley, Mount Michener and Abraham Lake below.

Hoodoo Creek
Hoodoo Creek
Hoodoo Creek

The Return

To head back to the trailhead, simply retrace your footstep. Walking down the creek all the way to the highway is an option but the trail is faster.

A Word of Caution

This is a pleasant hike usually suitable for families. Too often however we encounter unprepared groups on this hike. You will be hiking on a creek bed, over boulders and up a scree slope which all require proper footwear.

The creek is very shallow, not much more than a stream, on most days. It is obvious however from the width of the creek bed, the size of the boulders and the signs of slides that this hike can be treacherous on a rainy day or during a storm.

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 no cell phone reception. We recommend carrying an InReach on your hikes. The nearest phone is 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.