Family Adventure along Abraham Lake
Based on a visit to the area on July 18, 2017
One of our kids favourite trail, the Whitegoat Falls trail takes you to a double punch bowl set of waterfalls on a pretty creek.
When we were there last the area was filled with smoke from wildfires in British Columbia but the wildflowers along the trail made up for the hazy skies.
Walking in the forest
The Bighorn Backcountry might be close to the national parks and urban centres but it still has a remote feel to it. This include the naming of creeks and natural features where informal names often prevail. You won't find names on the map for place like Hoodoo Creek and others like Whitegoat Creek (official name) is signed as Cline Creek at the highway, an unofficial name (the official Cline Creek is a tributary of the Brazeau River). Historically, the Cline River was named White Goat River, further confusing places along the David Thompson Highway.
Plan Your Adventure
Trail conditions can change quickly. The map and directions below are based on our hike in the area on July 18, 2017.
- Activity: Hike
- Distance: 3.4 km return
- Elevation Gain: ~155 m
- Challenge Level: Easy
- Family Friendly: Yes - no strollers
- Trail Type: There and back
- Trail Conditions: Good to moderate
- Season: April to October
- Congestion: Minimal
- Alternate Descriptions: David Thompson Highway Hiking Guide includes a version of this hike.
- Trailhead: Approximately 45 km west of Nordegg and 45 km east of Saskatchewan River Crossing. The trail starts at the Cline River Waste Transfer Station. Parking available, no washrooms.
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 / OHV (winter only)
- 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 Whitegoat Falls from April to November. Book below or check out the full itinerary.
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 Whitegoat Falls trail.
The Main Trail
- 0.1 km | Whitegoat Creek Trail
- 0.9 km | Whitegoat Falls Trail Junction
- 1.2 km | Y Junction
- 1.3 km | Junction
- 1.3 km | Stream Crossing
- 1.5 km | Stream Crossing
- 1.5 km | Whitegoat Falls
Return Trail Option
- 0.1 km | Junction
- 0.3 km | Junction
- 0.3 km | Junction
- 0.6 km | Junction
- 1.6 km | Trailhead
- 0.3 km | Viewpoint
The trail starts the Cline Waste Transfer Station. This might not sound like the best spot to start a hike but you'll soon forget about it as you make your way up to the falls. Follow the trail on the left heading around the fenced in area to make your way across to the other side of the transfer station. At this point a sign mark the Whitegoat Creek Trail. Follow the wide trail up the gentle hill through the forest.
After 900 metres there is a well marked junction on the left. This is the trail to Whitegoat Falls. Follow the narrower path into the forest, making your way down the hill toward the creek. At the Y junction make your way 30 metres past the sign indicating Whitegoat Falls to some nice views of the V shaped gorge. Return to the Y Junction and follow the sign.
A few metres past the junction there is another junction. The trail on the right is the one described in David Thompson Highway Hiking Guide but we recommend taking the trail on the left at this point. It leads to a somewhat steep hill down to the creek but it is a much easier option than the hill at the end of the trail on the right. At the bottom of the hill, cross the stream on the log and make your way up along the stream bed.
Approximately 200 metres later you come to another stream crossing with multiple logs setup across the creek. As soon as you cross the creek you find out that you are standing at the bottom of the falls, hidden until that point by the rock wall. This makes for a great lunch spot, relaxing below the falls.
The Return Trail
There's a couple options for the return to the trailhead. The easiest option to retrace your footsteps back to the waste transfer station. Another option is to make it up the steeper hill mentioned earlier. It's easier to go up than down and this will take you up along the bench overlooking the creek and with views of the waterfalls from above.
To go this way, look along the trees at the bottom of the hill for signs of a trail. As a side note, there is a very obvious trail at the base of the falls going up. This leads to the same point but is a much more arduous approach. The trail you're looking for starts with a wet section where logs take you across. Make your way up the hill to a junction and head right. Looking back at the waterfalls makes for great views with Mount Stelfox in the background. Follow the trail to the Y junction from earlier and retrace your footsteps from there back to the trailhead.
- 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.
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.