Nestled between Jasper and Banff National Parks, Bighorn Country is one of Alberta’s most underrated wilderness areas. Here, you’ll find Crescent Falls, two cascading waterfalls in a double punchbowl on the Bighorn River. Though not strikingly high at approximately 25 metres, the two-tiered waterfall is, nevertheless, quite popular because of its easy accessibility and stunning symmetry. Take a short, steep trail with ropes down to the pool below the upper falls to watch the pounding water gush, surrounded by views of a dramatic canyon. Rock cairns dot the ledges at the base of upper falls; a marker of past visitors who have also sought out this low-effort, high-payoff view. —L.S.
309 km from Calgary via Hwy 2 north and Hwy 11 (David Thompson Highway) west; or take the scenic route, 338 km, Trans-Canada Hwy west, Hwy 93 north (Icefields Parkway) and Hwy 11 east at Saskatchewan River Crossing.
Big Hill Springs Provincial Park
The series of mini-falls at Big Hill Springs Provincial Park aren’t going to wow you with their rushing force, but they’re lovely all the same. Tucked into a coulee between Cochrane and Airdrie, Big Hill Springs is a hidden gem where you can observe and learn about tufa, porous rock formed when moving water deposits minerals more rapidly than it erodes the rock underneath. Big Hill Springs’ proximity to Calgary makes it an ideal waterfall road trip if you’ve got little kids, not least because the falls are only a short walk from the parking area. —S.A.
42 km from Calgary via Hwy 1A north, Hwy 766 (Lochend Rd.) west and Range Road 34A south.
Everything about Yoho National Park is grand and wild and this star-attraction waterfall is right at home amidst its striking surroundings. Well-marked and easily accessible off the Trans-Canada on Yoho Vallery Road, 39 km west of Lake Louise and preceding the turn-off into Field, B.C., this 384-m stunner is what waterfall road trips are all about. Prepare to feel some serious spray! —S.A.
210 km from Calgary via the Trans-Canada Hwy west.