Siffleur Falls - 4km each way (Easy)
I really enjoyed this hike. You encounter a little bit of everything before reaching a viewpoint for the falls. The trail is very well marked and begins in a decently sized parking lot. From Highway 11, just past the Two O'clock Creek Campground on your way to Banff, there are signs for Kootenay Plains on the highway where you should turn for the hike. The parking lot has a sign saying Siffleur Staging Area to confirm that you are in the right spot.
The trail starts with a wide open section through a meadow. There are a couple of interpretive signs that tell you about the flora and fauna in the area and you have some beautiful views of the mountains right off the get go.
There are two river crossings along the trail. The first one is a suspension bridge, about 15 minutes in, and crosses the North Saskatchewan River. From the bridge you walk along a boardwalk, which protects a nice meadow.
You will continue along the boardwalk for five minutes before entering a section of coniferous forest (Sarah was not along so we have no plant or tree identification). The second river crossing occurs after this forest, taking you across the Siffleur River on a wooden bridge. Another 15 minutes brings you to the only uphill section of the trail. It's a short yet somewhat steep climb. Trust me though, it is worth the short climb as you are almost to the viewpoints.
Once you get close to the falls there are a couple of viewpoints of the gorge that the river has carved out. A couple more steps and you’re at the falls. This was very exciting for me as we are going on a trip to Iceland soon and I wanted to photograph some waterfalls in preparation. The trail doesn't actually give you a fantastic, life changing view of the waterfall but there is a good viewpoint looking down into the mouth of the falls.
From here you have three options: turn around and walk back down, continue onto the farther sets of Siffleur waterfalls (~3 km), or walk just past the falls viewpoint and hang out at the top of the falls. We elected to do the third and just chilled for a bit at the top of the waterfall before heading back down.
Now you may have noticed that Sarah is not in any of these pictures but rather some people that look similar to Braedyn. Well, Sarah was a party pooper and did not come so I called in some backup in the form of my dad and sister (Sarah comment: I wasn’t being a party pooper actually, I was running in the 4th MEC road race of the season in Edmonton). My dad ended up bringing lots of attention to our little group on the way down because he decided to go barefoot. At least three other groups of people commented on it and one girl looked so disturbed/amazed like it was the first time she had seen another human’s bare toes before.
This trail took us one hour each way and was a relatively easy walk the entire way. I really liked this trail as it gave us so many different things in one trail. There are meadows, bridges, boardwalks, gorges and falls. I would rate it 8.5/10. The only thing I would caution is getting there early. We were the second car in the parking lot at 9:30am but the parking lot was full when we got back at noon. Also, if all you care about is waterfalls and you don't want to do a hike to get there, I would recommend Crescent Falls back towards Nordegg as there are two beautiful falls right near the parking lot.