Opal Falls

June 15, 2013

On this quick journey out to Kananaskis I wanted to go past the winter closure gate for the first time and take in as much as I could of the view on the other side.  My sights were set to hit Opal and Elpoca Falls at the same time.  However there was a bear sighting in the area on the trail to Elpoca, which caused me to only get one of my two choices.  The picture above is a small fraction of the entire waterfall, as such I was not disappointed with what I managed to see beyond the gate.

The trail for Opal is achievable from the Elpoca Lookout sight.  Behind the outhouse there is a unmaintained trail which will take you to the waterfall.  Keep in mind when traveling this trail that you will want to keep taking the path which increases in elevation; as the one which goes directly to the stream will cause you to cross the fast moving water.  I took my time this day and explored both path options, what I noticed is that this unmaintained trail is one I would only consider doing if the snow has completely melted as the path is narrow and you would have a good chance getting lost, despite the length of the trail only being one kilometer.

On my excursion I would encounter multiple dead trees on the path; some hanging high and low.  However when following the high trail you are given a couple spots where you step out of the tall trees and take in the majestic mountains.  The final spot to take in the surroundings you will need to descend to near the stream in order to be able to photograph and fully appreciate the size of this waterfall.

Overall I would estimate that this waterfall is near 70 meters tall, if not more.  From what I could gather is this was a two tiered waterfall, however it was hard to tell by looking around the carved out rock face.  If you're not as impressed by such a large waterfall, you should be impressed by its power, as you're able to see how the rock juts out and where the falls have moved the mountain in order for the stream to be born.

Finally this area was heavily populated with mountain goat and snow tailed deer.  In the photo you can see the guardian of the falls (and the only ones to maneuver sound it) the mountain goats.