Siffleur Falls


Siffleur Falls

Bighorn Backcountry

Time: 2 hours

Distance: 9.7 km (return)

Elevation Gain: 208 m

How To Get There: Turn right off highway 11 when you are headed west. It's about 2 km's off the highway, leave the highway when you see the Cline's waste dump. Park at the end of the short road.

Before starting the hike, we observed the monument dedicated to the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. There’s also an information board for Siffleur Falls and the surrounding Siffleur Wilderness Area, a fragile section of land that requires very careful footing.

After getting our information fix, we walked down a small slope from the parking lot and then moved along a well-worn and flat trail.

Along the way, there were several more fact boards talking about the surrounding scenery and its plant life.

The North Saskatchewan River remained to our left as we walked along, finally crossing over the long and well-made suspension bridge to get to the other side.

Almost immediately after the bridge we were greeted with a lengthy boardwalk. It’s been placed there to protect the montane ecosystem below it which is very dry and sensitive to wind erosion. Over time, one footprint can lead to a large wind blown hole.

Once we crossed the boardwalk, we were greeted with a friendly sign advising us that we were headed into the backcountry.

The trail is supposed to be a mix of clay and gravel but was currently covered in snow, flattened down by numerous hikers before us.

With brush and coniferous trees on either side, the trail mosey’s along to the next bridge, which crosses the Siffleur River.

The trail moved further into the lodgepine forest until it finally takes a bend upwards, which is where all of the elevation is gained.

We walked up along the other side of the valley until we could see the canyon beginning to take shape below us.

The closer we got to the waterfall, the more “Dangerous Slope” signs began to appear. Take them seriously as several people have actually lost their lives along this trail because they got to close to the canyon’s edge.

There are many guard rails along the way that allow a safe place for a person to get a better look at the gorge below.

We closed in on the sound of falling water reverberating against rock walls before we actually reached the waterfall itself. Even though the waterfall was almost completely frozen, it’s power beneath was so strong that the rushing water could still be felt. The waterfall isn’t the tallest I’ve ever seen but it’s still impressive in looks and surrounding area. It acts almost like a tease as it’s difficult to take in the full waterfall without getting too close to the water’s edge.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure you are careful in this area. The ground is slippery and one wrong move can spell the end. There are several monuments set up around the trail that indicates those that didn’t heed the warning and paid the ultimate price.

We took a long moment to enjoy the sound of rushing water and the view of one of mother nature’s most powerful designs. A quick lunch break was in order before a growing crowd of people began to form in the area, signalling to us that it was time to head back to the parking lot. Siffleur Falls is popular for it’s easy access and gorgeous persona and it showed. Even in the middle of winter, people were out in throngs to explore the Bighorn Backcountry. The hike can be extended to a second waterfall if you go another 2.5 km and a third waterfall another 1.5 km further. But Matt and I needed to get home and the first waterfall had already provided a very breathtaking experience. I would love to know more about what the other waterfalls look like and what experiences they bring so hopefully one day I will return. While the trail has it’s dangers (sharp cliffs, steep canyons, slippery ground), so long as you stay behind the guard rails and heed to the warning signs, it’s a perfect place to take beginner hikers. The trail is easy enough and provides the perfect reward at the end.

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