Coral Creek Canyon Trail Guide

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THE NARROW CANYONS OF THE CLINE RIVER AND CORAL CREEK

Coral Canyon is probably one of the most delightful half-day hikes in the area with gorgeous views and narrow canyons along the way.

Published on July 16, 2013 | Last updated on May 3, 2023

While the hike itself is not overly long, the perfect lunch spot awaits with dramatic views of Coral Creek. Plan on spending some extra time on this hike.

This hike is located in the Cline River Area. It is an area that includes alpine, subalpine and boreal upland ecoregions with a significant population of grizzly bears, elk, goats and mountain sheeps.

The Cline River Canyon

The Cline River Canyon Galleria

AT A GLANCE

  • Distance: 7.7 km return
  • Elevation gain: ~190 m
  • Challenge Level: Moderate
  • Trail type: Partial loop
  • Congestion: Moderate
  • Management: Kiska/Wilson PLUZ
  • Other Trail Uses: Horses

Trailhead: Coral Creek White Goat Staging Area.

HEAD OUT ON YOUR OWN

THE JOURNEY

From the trailhead parking lot, head toward the trail kiosk where you will find the well defined path.

A short walk from the parking lot (approximately 100m) you will come across a stream crossing. There are usually enough rocks and logs to make it across with dry feet but a pair of hiking poles is helpful for balance as you cross this slippery section.

As the trail starts to climb after the stream crossing you will notice a smaller trail to the left heading into the forest. This is the trail we will follow here since it offers the best views of the Cline River and Coral Creek canyons. For those looking for an easier option, the horse trail alternative is described further down.

Hiking through the forest along the Cline River

The Cline River and Abraham Lake

The June 2013 flood washed out the trail in many sections. A new trail has formed along the river. Remember throughout the first section that although the old trail is visible, many sections are unstable. Stick with the new path.

From there the trail follows the Cline River. The trail start to climb away from the river as you approach the Cline River canyon. From there follow along the canyon until you reach the confluence of the Cline River and Coral Creek.

The Icefalls

The Cline River Canyon Viewpoint

The access to the canyon

At this point you will reach a viewpoint overlooking the Coral Creek canyon and a junction with the horse trail (the horse trail veers off a short distance from the viewpoint along the cut line).

Continue along the canyon, following the path through the forest and along the ridge until you meet the horse trail. Follow the sign for Coral Creek. From here you are approximately 500 metres from the viewpoints.

The Icefalls

The Cline River Canyon Viewpoint

The access to the canyon

As the trail reaches the top of the hill heading into the forest, follow the smaller trail leading down toward the canyon and a great viewpoint of the narrow canyon and broad valley above. This makes for a great lunch spot but we’d suggest heading a little further along the trail and down to the creek.

Head back up to the horse trail and follow it into the forest and down the hill on the other side all the way to the creek.

On the way back, follow the trail into the forest for a more relaxing adventure back to the trailhead. You will see the trail on your left shortly after the viewpoint access.

ALTERNATE TRAIL

The trail described above is easy with some steeper sections. Those looking for an easier option can follow the horse trail at the first junction, shortly after the creek crossing. While on the main horse trail you will come across many trails to your right, heading into the forest. Keep going straight on the main path until the well used horse path veers right into the forest. At this junction, stay on the horse trail for the easier option or continue straight ahead to join the more scenic hiking trail.

Even if you intend to follow the horse trail at this point, we strongly encourage you to go straight ahead catch an up close view of the canyon. It is a short distance away and you can easily back track to this junction to resume your journey on the horse trail if you choose to.

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We acknowledge that the land on which we gather, explore and adventure is home to the Îyârhe Nakoda First Nation and the Smallboy Mountain Cree, part of the Treaty 6 and Treaty 8 Territories, part of the Métis Nation of Alberta Region 3, and has been the traditional meeting ground for many Indigenous Peoples since time immemorial. We are grateful for the stewardship of these lands along with the knowledge, traditions, and teachings that have been passed down through generations.

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