Blackiston Falls

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

About Blackiston Falls

Hiking Distance: 2km round trip
Suggested Time: 60-75 minutes

Date first visited: 2010-09-22
Date last visited: 2010-09-22

Waterfall Latitude: 49.12594
Waterfall Longitude: -114.03085

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Blackiston Falls (or Blakiston Falls – I’ve seen it spelled both ways; also Chutes Blackiston in French) was a waterfall that Julie and I hadn’t planned on seeing. Fortunately for us, we noticed it on a topographic map in our accommodation in Waterton and decided to do it. We were quite glad that we did. It turned out to be one of more unexpected surprises of our 2010 Canadian Rockies trip.

The falls was perhaps one of the more accessible ones we visited at the Waterton Lakes National Park. It was actually nestled in a section of the park known as Red Rock Canyon. The falls itself consisted of perhaps a 15-20m main cascade while there were other sloping cascades further upstream. What we particularly enjoyed about this waterfall was the mountainous backdrops making for nice photos as well as getting that sense of really being in the Rocky Mountains.

We took a 1km walk (each way; or 2km round trip) that was pretty straightforward to follow. It started from a primitive car park area before passing by a sheltered picnic area looking more like someone’s log cabin. Already from the beginning, we appreciated the shapely mountains towering over the immediate forest cover just on the other side of Blackiston Creek. A few paces further, we then crossed a bridge as the trail entered that pretty dense forest.

Blackiston_Falls_008_09222010 - Julie on the Blackiston Falls trail while surrounded by beautiful mountains and dense forests
Julie on the Blackiston Falls trail while surrounded by beautiful mountains and dense forests

It was in this stretch that we were wary of grizzly bears, especially after someone informed us that they had seen bear scratches on trees and Julie thought she had heard a strange groan earlier on in the hike.

Anyways, it wasn’t long before the trail climbed gently towards a more open part where the vista opened up from trees to the pretty mountains surrounding the valley as well as the waterfall itself nestled within its depths. Even before we started to notice the waterfall, the shapely peaks and valleys made us enjoy the hike and take our take.

There were a pair of viewing decks where one provided a distant frontal view downwards towards the falls while the other deck was right at the brink of the falls. The path leading to the viewing deck by the brink of Blackiston Falls also provided views of an upper cascade as well. The whole hike took us a very leisurely 75 minutes.

Blackiston_Falls_003_09222010 - Looking across Blackiston Creek towards an attractive mountain
Blackiston_Falls_005_09222010 - Julie peering into a log cabin that was really a picnic area
Blackiston_Falls_009_09222010 - Crossing the bridge over Blackiston Creek
Blackiston_Falls_011_09222010 - Julie meanding through the forested section of the trail
Blackiston_Falls_013_09222010 - When we left the dense forest cover, the beautiful mountains started reappearing again
Blackiston_Falls_014_09222010 - Even though we were kind of looking against the late afternoon sun, the trail was still beautiful
Blackiston_Falls_025_09222010 - Our first look at Blackiston Falls with some people at the overlook above it for some scale
Blackiston_Falls_026_09222010 - Julie taking photos of Blackiston Falls from one of the more distant viewpoints
Blackiston_Falls_028_09222010 - Looking downstream from Blackiston Falls
Blackiston_Falls_034_09222010 - Looking at Blackiston Falls and some rapids further downstream
Blackiston_Falls_041_09222010 - Another look at Blackiston Falls with mountain context
Blackiston_Falls_005_09222010 - Julie peering into a log cabin that was really a picnic area
Blackiston_Falls_044_09222010 - Some of the small upper cascades just upstream from Blackiston Falls
Blackiston_Falls_058_09222010 - Julie right at the top of Blackiston Falls
Blackiston_Falls_064_09222010 - Last look at Blackiston Falls before it was time to go
Blackiston_Falls_070_09222010 - Looking downstream from the bridge over Blackiston Creek towards those log cabins doubling as picnic shelters before an attractively wrinkled mountain
Blackiston_Falls_074_09222010 - Looking towards a thin but attractive cascade tumbling beneath another pointy mountain on the Red Rock Parkway
Blackiston_Falls_077_09222010 - Gorgeous scenery as we headed back towards the Waterton township


From the town of Waterton, drive east about 4km back in the direction of the park entrance where you turn left to get onto the Red Rock Parkway. Follow this paved but fairly beat-up road for the next 15km where the public part of the road ends and veers off into a looping car park (the road is private beyond this point so this is as far as you can go anyways).

For specific driving directions to Waterton, see the Cameron Falls page.

As for the context, Waterton was 284km (3 hours drive) south of Calgary and 373km (4 hours drive) south of Banff. Across the US-Canada border, Waterton was 76km (over an hour drive) north of St Mary and 398km (over 4 hours drive) north of Helena.

Following the waterflow from the brink of the falls

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Tagged with: waterton lakes, waterton, national park, alberta, canada, us border, waterfall, canadian rockies, red rock canyon, blackiston creek, glacier

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