Crescent Falls and Bighorn Gorge Lookout

by - Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Crescent Falls is where the Bighorn River plummets 30 metres over two ledges. After visiting the stunning falls, you can hike or drive to Bighorn Gorge Lookout, a deep and dramatic canyon. Just half an hour from Nordegg, or 3 hours from Calgary!


While the upper falls can be viewed from viewing platforms near the parking lot, it's a bit more work to see the lower falls. For a complete view of the upper and lower falls, hike 1 km towards Bighorn Gorge Lookout. *Most of the trail isn't fenced, so use extreme caution.* From there, you may continue on to the canyon lookout (6 km return from Crescent Falls Day Use) or go back the way you came.

I recommend turning back after 1 km and doing a more scenic hike such as Siffleur FallsVision Quest, or Hoodoo Creek. You can easily view Bighorn Gorge Lookout from a pullout on the way back to Highway 11 (signed & on the right). If you choose to hike to the lookout, it is an easy, forested walk with a logs to climb over.


Crescent Falls
Trail to Bighorn Gorge Lookout


Crescent Falls - upper & lower falls

Crescent Falls at a Glance

Directions: 18 km west of Nordegg, turn right at the Crescent Falls sign. Continue for 4.4 km, then turn left towards Crescent Falls Provincial Recreation Area. After 1.7 km, park in the day use parking lot on the left. 
Washrooms: Pit toilets at Crescent Falls Day Use area
Stroller friendly: No
Nearest Campground: Crescent Falls campground is across the creek from the day use area. Sites are unserviced, first come-first served, and quiet.

Sketchy sidetrip: If you have time and good shoes, you may take a sketchy, unofficial trail to the pool below the upper falls, but do so at your own risk with extreme caution. Several people have lost their lives here. The water is powerful and the rocks near the falls are extremely slippery. NOT recommended for children. Allow 30 minutes return. 


Steep trail down to lower (unofficial) lookout
Crescent Falls
Crescent Falls
Image Credit: Melissa Schulze (Instagram @rockieschick22)

Crescent Falls
Image Credit: Melissa Schulze (Instagram @rockieschick22)
Bighorn Gorge Lookout

Directions from Nordegg: Drive west on Hwy 11 for 18 km, then turn right at the Crescent Falls sign. Continue for 3.5 km. Park at the small parking lot on the left side of the road.

Directions from Crescent Falls: Drive SE towards Hwy 11. In 2.7 km, the parking lot will be on your right.

Bighorn Gorge Lookout
Thanks to Melissa from Rockieschick's Adventures for the beautiful photos of Crescent Falls! I've been twice, but was the first time it was smoky (forest fires in BC) and this year, it was rainy. Fingers crossed it's a clear, sunny day next time we go!

Related Posts

For more hikes along the David Thompson corridor, please see:
Did you know the David Thompson (Hwy 11) connects to the Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93)? 
Check out Touring the Icefields Parkway with Kids for a super fun road trip!

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