Hike up Allstones Creek to a pretty waterfall near Abraham Lake in David Thompson Country. This is a great hike on a hot day (expect to get your feet wet on the many creek crossings)!
Friends told us Allstones Creek is the best place to go on a hot day and they were right! As the temperature approached 30 degrees, we stayed cool wading the creek and picnicking under the trees.
Our adventure began at the mouth of an 80-metre long culvert. At the end, a blue lagoon beckoned, and cliff jumpers across the cove dove into the icy waters of Abraham Lake while kayakers plied the shores. While the culvert isn’t technically part of the creek walk, it was a cool detour with a gorgeous view!
Retracing our steps, we made our way down into the creekbed. From here, the “hike” to the falls is pretty straightforward – keep going upstream for 2.4 kilometres – but the way isn’t exactly straight. Several creek crossings are required, but if it’s hot out and you have the right footwear, you can simply walk in the creek most of the way. (In August, the water was ankle to mid-calf deep most of the way). There’s only one section near the end that requires a short scramble up a 2-metre high boulder, if you don’t relish wading through a deep pool.
Rockhounds will admire the layers of sedimentary rock in the canyon (good example of Duvernay Formation shale). In some spots, they’re tilted almost vertically! Keep an eye out for an eroded overhang in the cliffs too. It makes a good shelter when the weather turns; we waited out a flash storm in the “cave” here last year.
About 2.4 kilometres from the start, you will reach a 6-metre tall waterfall. It’s a beautiful picnic spot with space for a few small groups to spread out. Enjoy the music of the falls and return the way you came.
Allstones Creek at a Glance
- Distance: 4.8 km round trip
- Elevation Gain: 75 metres
- Nearest washrooms: Pit toilets at Abraham Cove
- Stroller friendly? No
- Parking (click links for Google Maps directions): Allstones Lake Staging Area or Abraham Cove
- Trailhead: Across Highway 11, south of Allstones Lake Staging Area / north of Abraham Cove. (The trail north of Allstones Lake Staging Area is Allstones Lake; NOT Allstones Creek). Use extreme caution crossing the road! If you see a huge culvert tall enough to walk through, with a creek below it, you are in the right place. Start the creek walk north of the culvert.
Know Before You Go
This is an unofficial trail, so there is no signage marking the trail or parking area. Save/print directions to the parking area and carry a topographic map of the area and compass/GPS.
Since the water can be quite deep early in the season, we recommend doing this creek walk from mid/late July to September.
Allstones Creek feeds Abraham Lake, Alberta’s largest reservoir. In order to keep the water and canyon clean, please pack out all trash, and avoid going to the washroom near the creek/lake. Best practice (if there is no outhouse nearby) is to go to the washroom 200 feet (61 metres) from a water source and pack out or bury solid waste.
What to Bring
Always pack The Ten Essential Systems.