Hoodoo Creek Trail, Bighorn Backcountry

by - Tuesday, September 20, 2016

To see hoodoos, a cool cave, and great views of Abraham Lake and Mount Michener, head to Hoodoo Creek in Bighorn Backcountry! Although the hike is only 5.2 km return, allow at least half a day for exploring the cave and playing on the rocks.

Hoodoo Creek Trip Report
Guest Post By: Philip Lund, All Out Kids

We hiked up to the cave with our 4 and 6 year old who both did amazing, as Hoodoo Creek is a moderately difficult hike. I would recommend a minimum age of 6 years old, unless your children are used to big hikes.

Heading up the creek bed
Image Credit: Philip Lund
I would also recommend hiking boots as it is a really rocky hike up the creek bed with a short scramble at the top to the cave.

Snack time at Hoodoo Creek
Image Credit: Philip Lund
You have two options to do this trail: the creek bed or trail along the right bank. We hiked up the trail and came back straight down the creek bed. The trail bypasses more difficult parts of the creek, but in other parts, the creek is easier, so you can choose your own adventure.

Lots of rocks to climb over
Image Credit: Philip Lund
The trail brings you back to the creekbed right before the hoodoos.

Hoodoos, Hoodoo Creek Trail
Image Credit: Philip Lund
Hoodoos, Hoodoo Creek Trail
Image Credit: Philip Lund
After the hoodoos, the canyon narrows dramatically. Continue through the creekbed until you get to a fork in the stream at the top of the valley. The cave is on the right side. It's a steep 50 m scramble (4-5 minutes) to get up there, but it's worth it!

Hoodoo Creek Cave
Image Credit: Philip Lund
We made it!
Image Credit: Philip Lund
View from the cave
Image Credit: Philip Lund
Looking back at Abraham Lake and Mount Michener
Image Credit: Philip Lund
We returned via the creek bed and were able to keep our feet dry by hopping in and out of the creek bed.

All in all, it was a fun hike through some really cool rock formations with the added bonus of a cave and beautiful view!

Know Before You Go

  • JP Fortin at Pursuit Adventures recommends avoiding this trail on rainy days as there is a risk of flash flooding in narrow parts of the canyon (upper reaches). 
  • We found a few ticks so make sure to do a tick check as usual. For tick safety tips, see this post: 5 Myths About Ticks & Tick Safety Tips.

Hoodoo Creek At a Glance 

Distance: 5.2 km
Elevation Gain: 400 m
Target age: 6+
Time: Allow 4-5 hours with kids (including lunch and snack breaks)
Washrooms: No.
Stroller friendly? No.

Trailhead: There is no sign, but there is a big cairn to the left of the stream, near the road.

Directions from Nordegg turnoff (Stuart Street and Highway 11): Go west on Hwy 11 for 38.2 km. The trailhead is on the north (right) side of the highway - there is no official parking; park on the side of the road. You will see a large gravel wash/creek bed which is Hoodoo Creek.
  • Landmark: Drive 2.7 km west of Windy Point (see photo below) and pull over on the right side of the highway. The trailhead is at approximately 52.2457924,-116.4309815.
Check your odometer here!
Hoodoo Creek is 2.7 km west of here on the right side of the road.
Windy Point is a sharp left BEFORE this (if driving from Nordegg).

About the Author

Philip Lund is a husband, and an active father of two, with a love for the outdoors and the mountains. His passion for outdoor sports range from ice climbing, whitewater kayaking, camping, backpacking, and all things in between. Phil and his wife Kristi have combined their outdoor, retail and management experience to create All Out Kids Gear. Fuelled by their endless frustration searching for good quality kids gear All Out Kids was born. They are dedicated to bringing kids and family gear to a one stop shop, helping, and inspiring families to get outside.

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