Red Rock Canyon / Blakiston Falls
Hiking to Red Rock Canyon treats hikers to spectacular layered red canyon walls, flowing water, and surrounding mountain views. Explore the canyon. Wet your feet in the water. Then bask in the beauty of the impressive Blakiston Falls hike. This is the best way to introduce you to Waterton Park at a leisurely pace.
Heading south from the Waterton Park Entrance on AB-5, turn right onto Red Rock Parkway, just before crossing the bridge over Blakiston Creek. Follow the Parkway 15.0km to its end the parking lot.
|When to do|
May to October
At Red Rock Canyon
Note that much of Waterton National Park was severely impacted by the 2017 Kenow Wildfire. To find out what trails are open, please check the Parks Canada website.
At the main lot, there are several different pathways. Begin your exploration of the area on the short canyon loop from the south end of the parking lot. Facing the stream (west), there is a big bridge directly in front of you: can’t miss it. This is the start and end of the Red Rock Canyon Loop trail. The loop goes upstream from the bridge on both sides of Red Rock Creek. We chose to cross the bridge first.
Once over the bridge, turn right on the trail to follow the creek bed upstream. The path climbs and quickly rises far above the creek below, gaining a moderate 20m in elevation over 350m before reaching a bridge over the creek. From here it is a long way down to the creek bed, and the canyon walls are steep. Cross the bridge and continue on the path on the other side of the creek, back to your starting point.
The beginning of the Red Rock Canyon Loop trail also provides a safe entry point down to the creek several feet below, where you can spend some time looking more closely at the rocks that gave the area its namesake. Beautiful layers of reds, creams and gray make an incredible flowing tapestry.
At the creek bed it is possible to explore the canyon bottom in both directions for quite a distance. On a warm day, this is a wonderful place to play, explore, and splash in the water, making it an excellent place to spend time with children!
You would be missing out if you passed on the opportunity to hike to Blakiston Falls from Red Rock Canyon. From the bridge at the Red Rock Loop starting point, follow the creek bed on either side downstream to the dual bridges (making an “L” shape) crossing Red Rock and Bauerman Creek. Look for signs for Blakiston Falls and be sure you are on the correct path. The path travels to the right directly after crossing the Bauerman Creek Bridge.
From here, a wide, fairly level and well-maintained trail travels about a kilometre through a beautiful forest before views open up at Blakiston Falls. Here there are two new viewing platforms accessed by wide, metal stairways. Both platforms provide excellent but different views of Blakiston Creek, the falls, and the surroundings, including Mount Blakiston to the south. Take the time to wander to both and enjoy the sound of the pounding water as it rushes down the creek bed. When you’ve had your fill, return the way you came.
In our opinion, this is the best place to enjoy Waterton with young children. Exploring the canyon bottom can provide hours of fun and splashing in a relatively safe environment. Take water shoes and bathing suits on warm days.
Red Rock Parkway is closed from November 1 to April 30.
If the main parking lot is full, there is a large overflow parking lot just southeast that offers plenty of space.
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