Welcome to winter in Alberta, where the skies are baby blue, the snow is glistening, and many of our beautiful bodies of water freeze over. While some waterfalls are far too powerful to freeze, others turn into enchanting ice sculptures you'll want to witness. If you're tired of hiding away indoors and are ready to see all Alberta's winter has to offer, why not start by finding some beautiful frozen waterfalls? Here are some of our favourites.
This lovely attraction is a series of two waterfalls that plunge along the Bighorn River near Nordegg. A short hike will lead you to the falls, and you can get there in under half an hour. The trail is very popular for hiking in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter. As is the case anywhere you go in the winter, you'll want to be aware of conditions and keep in mind that it will likely be slippery. Where appropriate footwear and take your time along the trail. If you don't feel like hiking but want to take in the view, there are two viewpoints right near the parking lot.
Siffleaur Falls is located inside the Kootenay Plains Ecological Reserve, also in the Nordegg area. If you want to hike the trail, it's around 10 km. If you want to make it to the viewpoint, that will only take about 3.5 km of walking. If you continue past the viewpoint, you'll find two other sets of waterfalls. While this destination is breathtaking in the summer, some say it's even more beautiful in the winter when the waterfalls freeze. It's a beautiful area and absolutely worth exploring. The frozen waterfalls are just a bonus. Whether you're a big hiker or just a lover of stunning views, this is the perfect place to visit.
You'll find Elbow Falls along the Elbow River, near Bragg Creek. The short hiking loop will take around 15 minutes and is on the easy end. While the falls are smaller than the others on this list, they're still beautiful. You also get to enjoy a backdrop of slow topped mountains under the bluebird sky. This location is superb because it's less than an hour out of Calgary and right near Banff National Park. If you're looking for a day trip that will leave your jaw on the floor, you've officially found it.
Lundbreck Falls is nothing short of enchanting. This expansive landscape of plunging water freezes in the winter, but not entirely. You'll view a mixture of frozen, natural ice sculptures and running water. The falls are on the Crowsnest River near the hamlet of Lundbreck. You can view the falls from the observation platform. If you visit in the summer, you can walk down to get a closer view of the falls. In the winter, you'll want to be aware of the conditions and watch your step if you venture away from the observation deck. You will be in awe no matter which season you visit Lundbreck Falls.
Athabasca Falls can be found in Jasper National Park. This massive waterfall has a drop of 80 feet and a width of about 60. The short hike to the falls is gorgeous at all times of the year, and winter is no exception. Can you imagine seeing ice plunging over the falls' edge rather than water? Trust us. It's magnificent. Even better, you're in the beautiful Jasper National Park. If you're brave enough to take a hike in the winter, you'll be rewarded with the view of a lifetime.
Britanny Burr is a freelance writer and a contributor to Great West Media. This story was written for the 2022/23 Cool Winter Guide advertising feature. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.