Evan Thomas Creek to Falls is a 10.6km trail in Kananaskis, Alberta with about 546m of elevation gain. We arrived around 10am the find the parking lot mostly full, which was to be expected because of the gorgeous weather.
This trail is relatively flat and you can skip most of the elevation entirely if you decide not the take the last small loop and instead treat it as an out and back. There are two technical sections that have chains or ropes to hold on to.
The trail begins on a well travelled section that is groomed for cross country skiing, and then branches off through a river bed. The snow was deep but the trail was well packed down.
There are a few beautiful frozen waterfalls to admire along the way and we passed a few sections where climbers had set up for the day.
At last we arrived at the first technical section. It was steep but not difficult so long as you held on to the chains. The biggest obstacle was actually trying to cross the section without running in to hikers who were going the opposite direction. It’s easier to pass on narrow sections when you don’t have dogs along for the adventure.
My friends roommate who was hiking with us kindly offered to take June along the steep sections with her so I didn’t have to try to maneuver the chains with two dogs in tow. We eventually had to trade places so I was walking in front because June was nervous when she couldn’t see me any more. And here I thought Piper was the clingy dog.
The steepest section has some climbing rope tied to tree to hold on to and is well packed down. I kept Pipers line tight so she wouldn’t try to run down and pull me along with her and we made it down just fine. The handle on the back of her harness comes in handy for sections like this.
We finally made it to the biggest frozen waterfall. There were a view groups enjoying a packed lunch nearby and others taking turns stepping behind the ice.
We waited our turn and each got a chance to step in to the small ice cave behind the falls. So cool! We decided to continue on a bit longer and hiked up to one more smaller frozen waterfall.
There, we found the perfect spot to sit for a quick break. Megan had bought three delicious apple cinnamon buns earlier that morning that we devoured while the dogs snacked on the assortment of treats that we packed.
I was glad to have my spikes on for the icy sections. Important to note, however, that they do not grip on to rocks and are instead quite slippery. There were only a few steps along the way that require some extra caution.
We then made our way back through the rope and chain sections and moved on to the section of the hike with some elevation gain. We hiked up to where the warm sun was peeking over the mountainside. It got so warm that we even stopped to take a layer off and hiked in our t-shirts.
The perfect day had everyone and their dogs out on the trail. We were surprised at just how many other dogs we saw. After a bit of elevation gain the trail easily coasts back down to the main groomed section.
Eventually, we were back at the parking lot. We packed up our happy dogs and make our way back to Canmore.