Did you know Fish Creek Provincial Park has ice falls and caves near Bow Valley Ranch Visitor Centre? Here’s where to find them, and what else you can see in this part of the park.
We love exploring our local parks in all seasons and seeing how different they look at different times of year. A few years ago, we stumbled upon ice falls at Fish Creek Park, and have been going back to admire them each winter. In addition to beautiful ice falls, there are little ice caves, a historic home which is now a restaurant, Visitor Centre (closed for 2020 – see Alberta Parks for more info), and Artisan Gardens that are home to 175 sculptures. Plan to spend at least an hour here; longer if you’d like to walk further.
Directions to Fish Creek Ice Falls
From the west end of the parking lot, look for the yellow bunkhouse, and turn left. Follow the path to the bridge. JUST BEFORE the bridge, you will see two trails on your right. Take the right fork and continue straight for about 300 metres. You will see the ice falls on your left.
If the ice is thick enough (it should be at least 4″ to walk on, 6″ if there are lots of people on the ice), you may cross the creek to get a closer look at the falls. Traction devices are recommended for walking on the ice. Use extreme caution if it has been warm for a few days, and avoid this area in spring as the water can be deep and fast. See our Ice Safety post for more info.
On the right side of the falls, a couple metres above the creek on a steep slope, there are small caves with natural ice sculptures inside. So cool, right?
Fish Creek Ice Falls at a Glance
- Parking: Park at the Bow Valley Ranch Visitor Centre
- Distance: 700 metres one way
- Stroller Friendly? Yes
- Trail surface: pavement and gravel
- Washrooms? Yes at Visitor Centre. Open Monday to Friday from 10 am – 4 pm.
Go back the way you came, and cross the bridge to explore more of Fish Creek Park: 1) Go right to reach a bench. 2) Go left to do a short loop through the cottonwoods.
Before you leave, stop in at the Fish Creek Visitor Centre (o learn about the area’s rich history, go for Afternoon Tea at the Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant, then check out the Artisan Gardens west of the restaurant. The Artisan Gardens contain 175 works of art by 75 artists. Did you know the historic ranch house was built by William Roper Hull in 1896?
I hope you enjoy visiting the Fish Creek Ice Falls as much as we did!
What to Bring
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Base layers, insulated winter boots, a down jacket and windproof/waterproof shell (or insulated ski jacket/parka), gloves or mittens, and toque are must-haves. See our fall/winter hiking gear guide and Best Winter Gear for Kids for product recommendations.
For winter hiking and walking on ice, we recommend traction devices such as Kahtoola Microspikes (Available from Amazon and MEC), or Hillsound Trail Crampons (Available at Amazon and Sport Chek) and trekking poles with snow baskets.
For snowshoeing, see our Snowshoeing Gear List.