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Heart Creek Canyon| Kananaskis| Canmore, AB

Heart Creek Canyon| Kananaskis| Canmore, AB

| 1 comment

Heart Creek Canyon- The hidden falls

After we tackled The Vault hike, we decided it might be kind of fun to check out the other trail that leads East out of the Heart Creek parking lot.   This trail was labeled Heart Creek Canyon, and it promised to be an easy 3 Km round trip hike with 8 wooden bridges.

Heart Creek Canyon Trail

We set off on the path, heading East behind the information sign and washrooms. The deeper we walked into the valley the more Savannah and I noticed how the sounds of the traffic from Hwy 1 began to fall away.

Heart Creek Canyon Trail

We bumped into a number of other hikers using the trail.  We even encountered a trail maintenance crew that was doing clean-up along the river.  We stopped and chatted with one of the worker.  I was curious to know about one of the signs we had seen earlier on the path that told us  part of the trail was closed for reconstruction. The friendly maintenance girl told us the trail had been through quite a few changes after the 2013 floods.

We continued along the river and shortly after we came upon the first log bridge.

Heart Creek Canyon trail log bridge

The log bridge over the river is quite sturdy and does not appear to be very high over the creek, but it took us about 5 minutes to talk the dog into crossing it.  I am sure he thought we were making him walk a tight-rope 400 feet in the air.

But, once he did the first one all the other bridges seemed to become easy for him.

Heart Creek Canyon-log bridge number 8

Heart Creek Canyon-Log Bridge

We continued to follow the path up the river, until we came to a rocky area.  Savannah and I decided we would build an Inukshuk overlooking the creek to welcome new visitors.

Heart Creek Canyon-Inukshuk

We were only a short walk now to the end of the canyon.  Here, we discovered a bench where a person could sit and listen to the waterfall and simply watch the creek babble by.

Heart Creek Canyon-Bench

The only strange part was we couldn’t see the waterfall!  Being agile and spry,  we figured if we climbed up the steep, slippery rock-face we would be privileged to a view of the falls flowing into the gorge.  Unfortunately we had no luck!

Heart Creek Canyon-slippery rock face

Heart Creek Canyon-trying to see the falls

Instead we watched as a couple of girls tried to wade into the water and around the steep rocks in the gorge to see if they could lay eyes on the waterfall.  However,they weren’t having any luck either.  The creek water was too cold for them and the rocks far too slippery.

Not willing to give up the search for a glimpse of the falls, Savannah and I  started looking around and spotted a path on the opposite side of the creek that headed up the mountain.

*Warning-  This is where the trail stops being an easy hike for kids and families. However, everything up to this point is a great little hike for the novice hiker looking for a fun walk in the woods.   But from this point on the hike turned into an intense scramble for the average couch potato!

Heart Creek Canyon-Start of steep hike to see falls

We thought to ourselves …Well darn it, we have walked all this way! We want to see those falls!! So undeterred we began the mad scramble over the mountain in front of us.

Heart Creek Canyon-Mountain scramble

We climbed the path slowly, stopping many, many times to catch our breath and curse Cheetos for their cheesy goodness.

Heart Creek Canyon-summit

Alas we finally mounted the summit! Wahoo…. Surely all we had to do now was look over the side of the big mountain we had just climbed to catch a peek of those hidden falls.  Nope …Again no luck!  These falls are definitely hidden!

At this point we decided “well if we are in for a dime, we are in for a dollar!” We were going to have to scramble down the other side of the big mountain to see this thing.  Because the path looked kind of sketchy, we thought it would be wise to text the other half of our hiking party and tell them what we were planning on doing. Once they gave us the green light … We went for it!  Slowly we clambered down the massive hill and its slippery slope to the creek bed far below.

Heart Creek Canyon-Scramble down the other side

Heart Creek Canyon-Creek bed top side of gorge

Finally we made it!  And I tell ya we were feeling pretty elated by this point.  We were on the other side of mountain and were about to finally see those bashful falls.  Someone before us had written some graffiti on the canyon wall, that in that very moment felt exactly like how we were feeling.  Win!

Heart Creek Canyon Hike- win

We walked up to where the creek plunged over the edge and into the waiting gorge below, but still we couldn’t see the falls.  Savannah then took my camera, and on her belly she wiggled out onto one of the rocks still blocking our view, and tried to snap a photo of the mysterious falls. (We had taken the leash off the dog and attached it to her belt loop so she could wiggle out quite a ways, while I held onto her ankle!  Did I mention this side was kind of sketchy?)  But …Still not luck!

Heart Creek Canyon-edge of falls

What the heck?!?!  Gathering ourselves one more time we decided to cross to the other side of the creek and climb the adjoining mountain in hopes of seeing these silly falls.

Heart Creek Canyon-Hidden Falls

Heart Creek Canyon-Hidden Falls

Finally!! There they were tucked deep into the gorge!  From our new vantage point we could even spot the end of the Heart Creek Canyon trail and the resting bench where one could sit and listen to the falls.

Heart Creek Canyon bench by trail

We meandered around the creek bed searching for a prized rock to take home, as a souvenir of the day’s event. Then quickly threw together a mini Inukshuk in the creek,  just to proclaim to the world that we had, in fact been there!

Heart Creek Canyon-mini Inukshuk

Then we gathered our packs, set our eyes toward the summit once again and began the big hike back to our waiting hike partners.  All in all we were very pleased with the day’s adventure. For a while there it was looking like we would never see the falls.  But after much perseverance we can gladly say … We came, We saw, We conquered!

On to the Next adventure! 🙂

    • Date of the Journey: August 3rd 2016
    • Location: Heart Creek Trail 8 miles East of Canmore
    • We Parked at:  Heart Creek Trail  Day Use Area in the parking lot
    • Distance: 3  km to canyon end or 5.3 round trip over the mountain in front of you to see the falls with your own eyes
    • Highest Point: 1480 m
    • Height gain cumulative: 329 m
    • Things to watch for: nothing to begin with, but if you make the assent over the mountain to the falls watch for slippery foliage, Steep banks when descending, slippery rock by the falls

    1 Comment

  1. Yikes. You are a determined lot. Once upon a time I saw myself doing those kindsa things, but I’m a bit more prudent. Lol

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