Whether you’re starting to hike with kids, and are heading out on your first adventure this year – or you’ve been hitting the trails for a couple of years, waterfall hikes are one of the ways that we keep it exciting when we’re bringing along the kids. For them, it’s completely about the payoff at the end of the hike, and a waterfall is one epic payoff.
Cat Creek Falls
An hike that’s just over an hour from the day use area, this one means parking on the side of the highway, so be careful where you’re walking. You’ve actually got to cross the highway to access the trail, so keep this in mind when you’re taking it with the kids. The hike has interpretive signs throughout, and with viewpoints, trails, creeks and forested areas, it’s one that’s going to keep the kids attention throughout. At the end, there’s plenty to explore, so bring a picnic!
Distance from Edmonton: 372 km
Located in Waterton National Park, it’s one of the most popular hike for parents with kids, in Waterton. It’s incredibly close to the parking lot, making it a simple hike for parents of young kids, but can get incredibly busy during peak hours.
Distance from Edmonton: 562 KM
An easy out and back trail, with a but of space at the falls for kids to wade, it’s a popular hike during the summer months. Your kids are going to love trying to spot the trolls on the trail through the hike.
Distance from Edmonton: 385 KM
This one is an easy trail, perfect for bringing the kids on an easy hike during the summer. The 50m high falls are at the mid point of the out and back trail and is simple enough even for small children. For a change in scenery, visit during the winter months.
Distance from Edmonton: 446 KM
With viewing areas, and a staircase that you can actually go down to the bottom of the river, it’s a great place for a picnic. It’s just off the highway, so again, another short walk for kids that aren’t used to making a long hike to see the falls, but a great introduction with lots to explore around the base of the river.
Distance from Edmonton: 498 KM
Bridal Veil Falls/Maligne Canyon
The walk to Bridal Veil falls is one of the most popular tours in Jasper, regardless of the season. It’s just as gorgeous during the winter as it is during the summer, and to get to the initial falls, it’s a short walk, suitable for even the youngest of children. Keep in mind the waterfall is across the river, so you can see, but not get up close with kids.
Distance from Edmonton: 366 km
Bertha Lake Falls
On the Bertha Lake Trail, there’s a fun veer off to reach Lower Bertha Falls at 1.5 km in. The trail branches left to a viewpoint overlooking Upper Waterton Lake providing a great view for looking out, with another 1.5-2 km to reach the falls. This one will take you past a few minor waterfalls along the way, the trail is well-marked, making it easy to find your way.
Technically not a hike, since it’s a short drive from the icefields, but you can stop and walk around once you’re there, or introduce kids to the wonder of waterfalls, with a short stop on your way to or back from the Ice Fields. If you prefer to walk, park at Sunwapta Resort, and take the short walk to the falls.
Distance from Edmonton: 419 KM
Near Barrier Lake, these falls are easy to access on a 300 meter trail with the kids. They’re perfect for a quick stop on the way to Canmore or Kananaskis, because the road side stop helps to burn off some of that last-minute energy the kids have when you’ve been travelling in the car for hours. The longer, slide falls are fun for little kids, and there is even a wishing well on the trail.
Distance from Edmonton: 374 KM
Perhaps one of the most popular hikes that you think of when you’re thinking about hiking with kids, we love it because of the newly revamped railings on the trail. Our small kids easily made it to the upper falls, with a few breaks along the way, but the short falls are wonderful too. Go during off-hours to avoid the huge crowds from the tours during the spring and summer, and bring ice cleats if the trail is even remotely slippery, they make it less frustrating for small feet to get up the trails.
Distance from Edmonton: 436 KM