The Hard Luck Canyon is a short drive south of Whitecourt as you follow the Lost Creek and West Mountain Road. The canyon was carved out of the sandstone layers by Hard Luck Creek and reveal the Paskapoo formation which underlies most of Alberta. The area provides a scenic picnic site, an afternoon hike, and waterfall views.
Things to Do and See at Hard Luck Canyon
Hard Luck Canyon is a gorgeous, unique geological formation of sandstone banks and cliffs. The view of the canyon from the bridge that spans the falls which you can access via the hiking trail gives you a taste of what lies ahead There is also a series of stairs that lead you to the canyon floor- you can enjoy this view from every angle!
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Venturing down to the canyon floor does not take long (5-10 minutes) and serves as a picturesque spot for a rest. The canyon floor is covered in rock and a shallow creek, and bright green moss can often decorate the tall falls. There is a lot to explore down on the floor! Take in a quick history lesson along you hike, too: the trail is marked with timestamps that indicate how the canyon formed over the past 11 000 years.
The area is an excellent picnic spot, and Whitecourt is a short enough drive away that you could easily grab snacks on your way in from local restaurants or bakeries. There are numerous treed-in picnic sites that allow for some privacy, as well as several garbage/recycle bins throughout. The view from the top is also easily accessible for strollers and wheelchairs.
Whitecourt is the snowmobile capital of Alberta, and it gets its name from its extensive trail system that allows riders to reach the untouched snow of the foothills. You can find one of these trails just north of Hard Luck Canyon, and east of the town of Whitecourt. The Goat Creek Trail begins at a staging area/picnic site off Highway 32.
You can ride these trails back east into town, but there are north and south branches that can each take you to gorgeous foothill vistas and viewpoints. And if you are here in the winter, it can be an excellent chance to see a frozen yet still beautiful Hard Luck Canyon Falls.
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Planning Your Trip to Hard Luck Canyon
What: See the canyon resulting from Hard Luck Creek, which began forming 11,000 years ago. The tall sandstone cliffs tower over the creek, which also has a small waterfall. There is a short and easy hiking trail that take you to a bridge overlooking the falls, and a staircase leading to the canyon floor.
Best time to go: Open year-round
Go in spring for a “fuller” Falls or after a rain fall (high run-off).
How much: Free
Hard Luck Canyon is located 22 km south of Whitecourt and 200 km (2 hours) from Edmonton.
RR 125, Woodlands County
South on West Mountain Road for 7 km, nutil a right turn onto RR 125. Travel 14 km to find the Canyon parking lot on your right.
For more information:
By: Bernadette Gallagher