Trail starts at the Grotto Lake parking lot and then parallels the 1A highway behind the Baymag plant #2. It is 1.1kms from the parking lot to the creek bed where you head north and follow the creek bed for another km to the falls. The indian pictographs are just before the falls (on the left) and are fading fast so don't touch as the oils in our fingertips will accelerate the erosion of these 500-1000 year old paintings. From the falls you can continue further up the creek bed through a high walled corridor which eventually opens into a wide open valley.
There are some hoodoos in here with a large cave at about the 3km mark. Bear sign quite evident in the area with large overturned stones, tracks, droppings, and at about the 4 km mark a very suggestive growl and some "blowing". I didn't venture any farther as I was soloing. A good half day hike where good footwear is a must. Plenty of water sources so bring a filter/purifier if you need to drink alot. I searched using several names but could not find this little jaunt anywheres in Trailpeak. If it is a copy I apologise. Hike safe!
Editors Note: This is also doable as an ice hike up the canyon and ice climbing for the properly equipped and trained.
From Calgary take the 1A though Cochrane and Exshaw, or for faster & safer drive, go West on TC #1 to the Seebe exit, go North then turn left on 1A for 10.9km. The Grotto Mountain Day Use area is on the North side of the highway and well marked. Trailhead is in the parking lot with an information board at the start.
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Posted By: trufflepigg
- Sun Feb 19 22:40:51 UTC 2017
UpsideAmazing scenery, huge cliff sides surround you if you walk through to the cave and beyond - make sure you go in the winter for the best time I think, and you MUST have proper footwear for the ice. Amazing hike for 2+ hours - I'd say it's like a better Johnston's Canyon DownsideLots of people, slippery in winter, you walk through the industrial plant side parking lot. CommentBest hike I've done in a long time for something short and sweet. Haven't tried in the summer. Great for dogs.
Posted By: baquiran
- Mon Jun 01 14:31:26 UTC 2015
Upsidegreat views Downsidelack of signage, ended up taking a wrong turn to straight up the mountain. didn't end up getting to the cave CommentFYI print out the directions and even better get the gps coordinates
Posted By: Lcampbell
- Tue Mar 10 01:55:02 UTC 2015
UpsideThe hike is a moderate hike- people with mobility issues may have some difficulty. The Ice walking is fun and and seeing the ice where normally the water falls- was awesome! Also- just down from the main fall there's an iced rock wall and produces some amazing sights. DownsideGrotto Canyon trail head follows a path that goes from dirt to creek bed and up the hill on dirt. Near the Baymag plant there's a hill that provides a "Y'. The west trail goes up the mountain and not anywhere near the ice/water falls. The south trail goes down the hill to the "Chief" aggregate site parking- follow down hill to south. Follow main trail then turn right to man made trail to avoid the washout. Follow main trail for a bit then head on another "man made" trail that runs parallel to main. Trails are muddy and icy right now. Wear proper footwear- Many a person was on their butts b/c they didn't have proper footwear. CommentThe sights are worth the trip to the waterfalls or ice falls as the case may be. If going in spring/winter bring or use proper cleats. Yak Traks will not help you on the icy trails. Be prepared for winds in the valley- they are strong and will take a hat off.
Posted By: dehekker
- Tue Jul 08 01:17:38 UTC 2014
UpsideEasy hike with nice canyon, waterfalls, rock climbers, and petroglyphs. Pretty once in the canyon. DownsideFor pretty much the whole hike you can hear the "whine" of the BayMag plant located very visibly along the first part of the hike. The whine is very loud. Also, the huge scars along the mountain made by the limestone/concrete factory are very visible as you exit the hike. CommentOverall, the upside probably outweighs the downside, but I rated this below average due to the industrial activity and the landscape scars in the area. In the summer, the water levels are low and hiking is easy going up the canyon along the creek bed. It's another matter with higher water, and, of course, will be quite pretty in winter conditions as the water is frozen. There's probably some ice climbing in the canyon in the winter as well.
Posted By: Azailer
- Sun Feb 24 07:50:08 UTC 2013
Upsidegreat for beginner/intermediate and the advanced hikers (as an access route to back country) Downsidelocation/trail not clearly marked (however, makes it more interesting to explore) CommentI loved the location and the fact that there were not too many people. I enjoy the hikes when I dont feel like I am part of a "tour group". As a begginer hiker with a somewhat entry level fitness I found this hike to be fun!
Posted By: tongie
- Sun Jul 22 15:20:52 UTC 2012
UpsideBeautiful in the winter when the creek is fully frozen, though crampons or spiked (not coils) traction for your boots are essential to make it extra fun. There are many soggy spots, so be prepared with boots that can handle moisture. Other than that it's easy and enjoyable with kids of all ages. If you hang a left at the end of the canyon you end up in a beautiful semi-back country valley. Have yet to do it in summer. DownsideBusy, and when the ice climbers are hacking down ice you can't safely get to the caves without risking being pummelled by shrapnel.
Posted By: Lbechard
- Mon Jul 25 04:25:06 UTC 2011
UpsideGreat distance and not too steep for beginners. DownsideTrail not clearly marked to the falls - easy to take a more difficult route that doesn't lead to the falls. Walking on creek bed may not be for those with balance or vision challenges. CommentEnjoyed the gorgeous day - nice to see water into the hike - falls small but not dry! Would like to have better signs for pictographs and the trail routes along the way. Where is the end? Does it lead in a loop? We walked and then turned around- no route maps indicating branches or alternate trails.
Posted By: MelZo
- Mon Jul 18 15:26:30 UTC 2011
UpsideBeautiful scenery, good walk, not particularly busy DownsideSo many different trails to take, we're not sure we took the "right" one CommentDid this just this past weekend, so the creek and the falls were dry as dust - at the falls themselves, there were small pools of collected rainwater, but that's about it. There was a large group of people at the trailhead, but we left a few minutes after them, and didn't see them again for the rest of the day. We crossed the creek bed and went up on the left side of the creek to the falls, which was a narrower path closer to the edge of the "cliffs" than the path we took down, on the left side of the creek. All in all, a decent half-day (we went only slightly up from the falls and then made our way back). Note there are no outhouses at this trailhead, unlike a lot of the trails near Canmore. However, a few clicks west on the 1A is Gap Lake, which has outhouses.
If you're going to climb the falls when they're dry, make sure you have adequate footwear, as the stone is smooth as a baby's arse.
Posted By: frostiex
- Mon Dec 28 00:33:57 UTC 2009
Upside-Easy -Many things to see -canyon is very magnificent DownsideHard to find the proper trail. CommentI really enjoyed this trail in the spring time with a bunch of friends. The weather was mild and ice still walkable. Planning on going again in the winter to get a winter view.
Posted By: spaceyfoo
- Fri Jun 19 06:32:59 UTC 2009
UpsideGentle, easy hike with some nice views. Downside Tried this trail twice, once in winter and once in the spring and both times I went I could not venture into the canyon due to ice. So make sure to go in the summer once all the ice has melted if you want to see the pictographs.
Posted By: spaceyfoo
- Fri Jun 19 06:31:53 UTC 2009
UpsideGentle, easy hike with some nice views. DownsideTried this trail twice, once in winter and once in the spring and both times I went I could not venture into the canyon due to ice. So make sure to go in the summer once all the ice has melted if you want to see the pictographs.
Posted By: Sarabiner
- Mon Oct 13 17:36:32 UTC 2008
UpsideGood variety of climbing routes. Ice climbing in the winter. DownsideOverpopulated. CommentDon't forget crampons or ice walkers in the wintertime.
Posted By: macaco19
- Thu Oct 09 20:55:59 UTC 2008
UpsideViews, Pictograms, nice trail year round DownsideI've had some problems with people taking their dogs off leash, I always keep mine on leash. I find it ignorant and disrespectful. CommentGreat hike to enjoy either in the summer months or winter months. Can get a bit hot in the summer over on the exposed areas. But there is usually plenty of water to cool off. Take reasonable precautions in the winter