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Red Rock Canyon is a great hike for the entire family. There is a popular trail around the perimeter of the canyon that is well maintained, has little elevation gain, and gives spectacular views of the colorful rock. On a hot day the creek in the canyon is a popular place for kids to cool off and play in the water. If you are looking for a slightly more adventurous hike you can venture up the canyon through the creek. A quick 1km side trip from the south point of the canyon trail takes you to the scenic Blakiston Falls Lookout Point.
Time Required: 1-2 Hours
Location: 18km from Waterton on Red Rock Parkway
Distance: 3.5km round trip
Elevation Gain: 184m
Difficulty: 3/10 – Family friendly trail
Season: June to mid-October
Additional Requirements: N/A
From Waterton: Take Hwy 5 east approximately 4 km and turn left onto Red Rock Parkway (Range Rd 300A). Follow this north 13.5km and the designated Red Rock Canyon parking area will be on your right. Red Rock Parkway is an excellent road for spotting wildlife so keep your eyes open.
WHAT TO BRING
- Comfortable Footwear: Sneakers or Hiking shoes. A pair of water shoes would be ideal if you are heading up the creek in the canyon.
- Water: Always a good idea to have some water while hiking.
- Snacks: Bring some of your favorite snacks to enjoy at the canyon. Some of our favorite snacks are trail mix, bananas, beef jerky and licorice.
- Weather appropriate clothing: Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
- 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: This guide will describe the route clockwise around the canyon with a detour to Blakiston Falls. After circling the canyon, we highly recommended following the creek upstream through the canyon to explore. This is one of the more popular trails in Waterton so if you want to avoid crowds of people do this hike on a weekday or early in the morning.
Starting at the designated Red Rock Canyon parking lot (Route marker #1 on the map) head west to Red Rock Canyon. Take a left onto the Canyon Loop trail and follow it south.
At the most southerly point of Red Rock Canyon you will cross a bridge to the west side of the canyon and then another bridge south over Blakiston Creek. There is a sign pointing out the side trail to Blakiston Falls. Follow this trail.
The trail to Blakiston Falls is just under 1km and gains a bit in elevation (about 40m). There is a lookout platform at the falls that gives the best view of the waterfall (Route marker #2 on the map).
From the Falls head back to Red Rock Canyon along the same trail you came. Once back at the canyon head 600m along the west side of the canyon to the most northerly point of Canyon Loop Trail (Route marker #3 on the map). At the top, there is a bridge with a great view down into the canyon. Venture back towards the parking lot on the other side (east) of the canyon.
If you are up for more adventure the most interesting part of this hike is following the creek in the canyon upstream. It is recommended that you change into footwear that can get wet as you will have to walk in the creek at various points. The easiest way down to the creek is at the bridge by the parking lot.
Follow the creek north through the canyon as far as you like. We went just pass the bridge you crossed at the most northerly point of the Upper Canyon Loop. You could venture further but the water gets deep and we didn’t feel like getting wet.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
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Have fun out there!