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Troll Falls is a short, easy hike that takes no more than two hours. It is located in Kananaskis Country near Nakiska Mountain and can be quite busy in the summer months. The hike starts on an easy trail through the forest with minimal elevation and ends at a series of large heavy flowing waterfalls, the first of which is Troll Falls. This hike can also be completed during the winter months (some say the falls are more beautiful this time of year), but you will likely need snowshoes.
Time Required: 2 Hours
Location: 100km west of Calgary
Distance: 2-4km round trip
Highest Elevation: 1500m
Elevation Gain: 50m
Difficulty: 3/10 – Good for all skill levels
Season: April to November
Additional Requirements: N/A
From Calgary: Take the Trans-Canada (Hwy 1) west approximately 70 km to Kananaskis Trail (Hwy 40) and follow that south for 25 km to Nakiska Ski Area. Turn right onto Mt Allan Dr. and follow it for 1 km. Take your first right onto the gravel road that leads to Stoney Day use parking area.
From Canmore: Take the Trans-Canada (Hwy 1) east approximately 30 kmto Kananaskis Trail (Hwy 40) and follow it south for 13 km. Turn right onto Mt Allan Dr. and follow it for 1 km. Take your first right onto the gravel road that leads to Stoney Day use parking area.
WHAT TO BRING
- Comfortable Footwear:Hiking shoes.Make sure your shoes are broken in prior to tackling this hike to prevent unexpected blisters. You could get away with running shoes but having extra grip on the rock surfaces will definitely come in handy!
- Water:This hike requires some effort to reach the waterfall. Be sure to bring enough water to stay hydrated.
- Snacks: Bring some of your favorite snacks to enjoy along the hike as well as a light lunch for when you arrive at the falls. Some of our favorite snacks are trail mix, bananas, beef jerky and licorice.
- Weather appropriate clothing:Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
- Long pants/high socks:The final two km of this hike are through dense brush. Having long pants or high socks for this portion of the hike will save the skin on your legs.
- Sunscreen:If it is sunny and you’re like Mattson, who easily burns, bring sunscreen!
- Insect Repellent:Insect repellent can greatly improve your hiking experience.
- Bear Spray:You are in bear country. Always hike with bear spray that is easily accessible.
- Camera:There are numerous photo opportunities you won’t want to miss.
- This Guide:Print a copy of this guide to reference throughout the hike
Wildlife:You will be hiking in bear country. It is always advisable to check in at the local Visitor Information Center to learn of any trail closures due to wildlife. Carry bear spray in an easily accessible location. Travel in groups of multiple hikers and make lots of noise to avoid an unexpected encounter.
Leave No Trace: It is important that we enjoy the outdoors responsibly and sustainably. Some key principles to consider when hiking to “Leave No Trace” are:
- Plan ahead and prepare: Proper planning allows adventurers to hike safely while minimizing damage to the land.
- Travel on durable surfaces: Stick to the trail when possible. If there is no trail, or you must travel off trail, stay on durable surfaces to reduce your impact.
- Dispose of waste properly: Pack it in, pack it out.
- Leave what you find: Leave rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest as you find them.
- Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance. Never feed wild animals.
- Be considerate of other visitors: Be courteous to others to allow everyone to enjoy their outdoor experience.
To learn more about “Leave No Trace” visit http://www.leavenotrace.ca
Summary:The starting point for this hike is at the Stoney Day Use Area. From there you will travel the short easy to follow trail to Troll Falls. Those looking for a longer adventure can continue upstream from Troll Falls to discover more waterfalls.
At the end of the Stoney Day Use parking lot (Route marker #1 on the map), follow the big power lines and to your left you’ll see a sign with a trail leading into the forest. This is the trail to Troll Falls.
As you continue along the trail the forest will open up from time to time and you’ll get a nice view of the mountains. Keep your eyes open for a teepee to the left of the trail.
The first falls you find are Troll Falls (Route marker #2 on the map). The path follows a U shape over rocks and around the back of the falls. In order to find the falls further upstream, take the trail to the left up and around Troll Falls.
The trail to Troll Falls is very well trafficked and easy to follow, but past Troll Falls it becomes slightly more difficult to stay on the “right” trail. There are many different routes, but they all run along the river and lead to the next set of falls. We found the trail on the left side of the river easy to navigate but if you lose the trail, stick near the river and you will run into the next set of falls. (Route marker #3 on the map)
It is a short hike from Troll Falls to two different large waterfalls that are slightly different and unique. Both make a great spot to stop and enjoy a picnic before heading back. Once you decide to head back, follow the same trail you took to get there. Enjoy!
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Have fun out there!