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.
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.
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).
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.
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