When forest fires in BC closed The Rockwall Trail, our 5-day backpacking trip for August had to undergo a last minute change in location. Fortunately, one of our group was familiar with a hike in the Bighorn Country, west of Rocky Mountain House in Alberta, that would fill the void. The good news was that no reservations were required for the back country camp sites.
Our trip would take us first to Lake of the Falls then to Landslide Lake. Our group assembled at the Lake of the Falls trailhead near the Cline River on the David Thompson Highway, about a half hour drive southwest of Nordegg, AB. The first day’s hike of about 11 km took us about halfway to Lake of the Falls.
On Day 2 it was on to Lake of the Falls. At the confluence of Landslide Lake Creek and Entry Creek the trail forks. To the left is the trail to Landslide Lake. The trail to the right takes you over a little bridge and on to the start of the climb to Landslide Lake. The steepest part of the climb is about 1.5 km but feels much longer. The effort is worth it though as when you finally arrive at Lake of the Falls it is absolutely beautiful. The total distance from the trailhead to the lake is about 18 km with an elevation gain of about 1345 m (about 4200 ft).
The next day was a free day. 3 of our group went on a day hike while I opted to laze about and watch the rest of the group fish. It was a beautiful summer day and was nice just to take it easy and enjoy the scenery.
The next day we departed for Landslide Lake. Our route took us back down the trail to the fork and then another steep climb to Landslide Lake. As you near the lake, the large boulders strewn everywhere make it very clear how the lake got its name. As we got to the lake a thunderstorm rolled in. Donning our rain gear, we continued to the far end of the lake. Along the way, some in the group saw lightening strike a tree on the far side of the lake – definitely too close for comfort! We reached the camping area and set up our tents in the rain. The nice weather of the first few days had now turned into a cold wet evening.
Our intended route for our final day was about a 14 km hike up and over a high mountain pass before dropping down to the trailhead. It is rated as hard with a fair amount of scrambling. With the dropping temperatures and risk of further rain that could turn to snow at higher altitudes, we elected to instead hike back the way we had come. While this route turned out to be nearly 20 km, with close to a 50 pound pack on the back, it was probably still easier than the “short” route over the mountain pass. At least the rain had stopped but I was one tired camper by the time we got back to our cars.