Horseshoe Falls


The trail along the north side of the Bow River.

Horseshoe Falls is a waterfall and old dam on the Bow River downstream of Seebee.
The hike to the dam is about 9km return, and a great destination early in the spring, as the south-facing river edge dries out early.
On this hike, we had a beautiful spring day - warm, sunny, and a clear blue sky.
The trail is fairly straightforward, though unofficial. It starts off along the edge of the river, and follows along it the entire way.
The first section of trail moves through a short section of forest, then walks right along the river for a while.

The group starts off.

The Bow River upstream from the start.

Hiking up a short forested section.

Heike leads the group through the plains section.

The first notable point on the route is the Seebee cliffs.
Back when Seebee was accessible, this was a popular place to come cliffjumping.
It was accessed on the other side of the river, and included multiple platforms of different heights, and a sandy beach area to get out.
The Bow River here is very very deep, and slow-flowing, plus the exit point is a little downstream, making everything easy.
It was possible to swim the river and ascend the far side (from which we're now viewing), and climb up to jump off the highest outcropping here.
With the closure of Seebee, it no longer sees regular use, but is still a great spot to check out the rock layers.

The top of the cliff.

Looking across the river to the cliffs.

The multi-level cliffs, and the sandy downstream exit.

The thick beach on our side of the river showing the abrupt dropoff.

Immediately after the cliffs, the trail winds away from the edge and into the forest.
Just before entering the trees, have a look up into the treetops.
For several years, a pair of bald eagles have made a nest at the top of one of the tall trees.
Sometimes we've seen the parents sitting on the nest, flying cover around it, or returning with food, and with good binoculars, you might even see a baby.
Passing the nest, the trail hikes up a steep slope through the trees to get around a gully and return to an edge view of the river.

Walking towards the trees. Nest just right of centre.

The group at the top of the hill.

The trail then remains high and opens into prairie grasses and flowers as it continues along the edge.
There is an old cow skeleton scattered through this area from 2010 or so. The bones spread a little more each year and are now somewhat scattered.
One final obstacle is an abrupt gully cutting through the hillside. We must descend, cross a creek, and re-ascend the other side.
The slopes are a little loose, but gradual and easy most of the time. The creek sometimes holds ice longer than the surrounding area.
In early spring, that can make it easy to cross on a snowbridge, but a little later, the melting ice can actually dam the creek and raise and widen it to a much bigger crossing than it should be.
Once the ice is gone, the creek is very small and poses no problem to step across on rocks.
On the other side, the open walking resumes until we reach the lunch spot and the Horsehshoe Falls dam.

The group hikes along the river.

The Pasque flowers are in full bloom in the sunshine

The group hikes above defined layers in the hillside.

The Horseshoe Falls dam.

A few more flowers on the hillside near the dam.

Descending to lunch.

While you can continue further, there is an excellent lunch spot just west (upstream) of the dam.
It's on a lower rise, and contains some great large shade trees, as well as a picnic table.
The water is a short walk further down, with a rocky beach.
Most of the time I have been here, the weather has ranged from mediocre to poor, and this warm, sunny day was quite a change.
The trail is neat in poor weather too, but this was the first time I have seen the water look so blue and inviting.
With more time, a swim after lunch could be excellent.

The group walks down to the picnic area.

The rocky beach and peaks behind.

The beautiful blue water that called to me.

Heike eats lunch under some large trees.

After lunch, if you don't want to continue to explore further, the return trip is the same way.

The fun shaley rock at the beach.

The group starts back down the gully.

Part of the creek and the west side of the gully.

Ascending the west side of the gully.

Heading back.

The swimming hold below the Seebee dam.

Photos taken by Rachel

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