Elbow Canyon, Downstream from the falls

Lat: 50.866256 Long: -114.772067 (Click to see map)

WARNING! This place is hard to get to and getting there is dangerous. The trail is perched on top of a precipitous cliff in places and otherwise it is often a steep slope with lose gravel. You have been warned. Don't bring the kids or the elderly. That said, this is a very beautiful site to see.

There is an unmarked pull-out style parking area about a kilometre east of Elbow Falls on top of a hill. It's that hilltop that makes this so dramatic. The walls of the canyon are about 20 metres high so that's the distance you could fall. You will find the trail down into the canyon on the right as you enter the forest from the parking lot. You can also get there by going out of bounds over the railing on the upper lookout at Elbow Falls, but you shouldn't do that.

At the bottom of the canyon are huge bare rock slabs that force the river into a narrow channel forming rapids and small water falls. You can spread out your picnic lunch on a chunk of these rock slabs.

There are no facilities here. No toilet or picnic tables.

 

Elbow Canyon
Elbow Canyon
I have chosen to call this area "Elbow Canyon". I don't think it has an official name. It's a canyon and the Elbow River flows through it, so it seems appropriate. The labels on the photo are self-explanitory. Two things to note are the narrow path with no railing at the top of a scary cliff in the upper right and Elbow Falls which can be seen in the distance in the lower-right photo.
  • Elbow Canyon
    I have chosen to call this area "Elbow Canyon". I don't think it has an official name. It's a canyon and the Elbow River flows through it, so it seems appropriate. The labels on the photo are self-explanitory. Two things to note are the narrow path with no railing at the top of a scary cliff in the upper right and Elbow Falls which can be seen in the distance in the lower-right photo.
  • Pullout Parking
    The parking area is located on top of a hill between Elbow Falls and the Elbow River Launch. There is no sign and there are no facilities here.
  • YIKES! That's a Long Way Down
    When you approach from the hilltop parking, you keep to the right and work your way through the forest to find this approach to the canyon. The trail is dangerously steep in places and it is lose gravel. Do not bring children or elderly and everyone needs to think twice before you proceed.
  • A table for the Gods
    These huge flat slabs of rock make a dramatic location for lunch. This is no place for a quiet romantic conversation though. The river roars. I had to scream very loud to get this lady's attention as I didn't want to startle her.
  • The River Runs Through It
    The river flow was quite low during the moth of August when I visited. Even so the water is compressed into a narrow channel and it crashes and falls over the rocks. Although this is no place for a family picnic it is very beautiful and impressive.
  • Go Explore
    The word "Explore" is used as the title of the Kananaskis Guide to recreational oportunities in K-Country. It is very appropriate. There are lots of wonders to be seen in the area and this is surely one of the most dramatic. Until Elbow Falls can be cleaned and restored to some of its former glory, we're going to have to find some new features and attractions.

 

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