Falls along Junction Creek (Sheep River)


Junction Creek is a great destination for the adventurous waterfall seeker.  Located just outside the Sheep River Wildlife Sanctuary, the ‘Main Valley Trail’ follows Junction Creek southward.   Many waterfalls are found along the creek and most are accessible to travellers.  Also along the way are the junction of three creeks, which yields a waterfall at each intersection.  Certainly a treat.  As an added bonus, it is possible to bike the Main Valley trail to a certain point.

The most significant falls are the Three Tier Falls, located at a backcountry campground at approximately seven kilometres from the main parking lot.  Three tier falls are probably one of the more scenic falls around, each level with its own swimming hole.  The blue glacier tinted water makes the falls area magnificent.  With care, you can scramble to the top and beyond. 

The main valley trail has its challenges.  At the start, the first challenge is crossing the Sheep River.  The Sheep River is fairly strong at high water levels, and caution should be taken when making a crossing.  The equestrian crossing point is just below the middle of the parking lot, but is not recommended for hikers.  A better crossing exists upriver, near the tumbling dam.  The equestrian crossing will give you direct access the main trail, an old logging road from the sawmill.  Other challenges are the mud. Horse travel has made the trail fairly muddy, compounded by marshy areas in a few spots.  As the trail is not marked, map and compass are recommended.  However, staying on the main trail within earshot of the Creek and marked by horse travel, will lead you to the Three Tier Falls area — fufilling a good day of adventure.  The main valley trail is one part of a trail system leading into the backcountry.  For a backpacking trip, see Gillean Dafferin’s Kananaskis Country Trail Guide Vol. 2 for a detailed trip description.

To get there, proceed to Turner Valley and take the Hwy 546 west turnoff in the middle of town.  Follow Hwy 546 into Kananaskis Country and the Sheep River Provincial Park.  Follow the scenic road till its end at approximately 40kms.  Park in the lot at the end of the road and cross the Sheep River for the beginning of the trail.  The trail begins across from the middle of the lot, just west of the River log riding sign.  Find an appropriate crossing point from here.

Waypoints (UTM):

End of bikeable trail (after saw mill): 11U 660433E 5604906N
Junction of 3 Creeks: 11U  660564E  5604374N
Three Tier Falls: 11U 660325E  5601910N


Falls at the creek junction (Left), significant falls along the trail (2nd Left, middle), Three Tier Falls (right), the Main Valley trail (far right)

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