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Green Monster Icefall Hike

Author: Simona Haluzova


Green Monster Icefall Trail Stats

Length:11.6 km

Elevation gain: 550 m

Duration: 4-5h

Difficulty: easy to moderate (climbing part)

Trail Type: Out and back

The Green Monster Icefall is a breathtaking natural wonder located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Many people may be wondering why icefall has this name: "Green Monster"; it was given to this icefall due to its vibrant green hue, which is caused by the presence of algae that thrives in the freezing temperatures.  This is a very popular area for hiking, rock climbing, and snowshoeing, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime. From my point of view I would recommend visiting in winter because you can get very close to the waterfalls and views are stunning!

How to get there

The Green Monster hike is located along Highway 40 in the Spray Valley Provincial Park in Kananaskis Country, just a few minutes south of Kananaskis Village and the Nakiska Ski Area. It is an easily accessible location that makes it an ideal hike for anyone visiting Kananaskis in the winter.

You’ll find the Green Monster trailhead in the Evan-Thomas Day Use parking lot. It is a large parking lot, but due to the popularity of this Kananaskis winter hike, the parking lot fills up quickly on weekends and holidays, so be sure to get there early!

The Green Monster hike begins from the Evan-Thomas parking lot in Kananaskis. You’ll officially begin on the Old Baldy Trail, which is a nice and wide mixed use winter trail at the start, often with a groomed ski trail (single track) on one side.

A few hundred meters later, the trees start to thin on the right as the Old Baldy – Green Monster trail meets up with the Evan-Thomas Creek where you’ll enjoy beautiful scenery with spectacular mountain views.

The winter hike up the Evan-Thomas Creek trail to the massive frozen Green Monster waterfall can be different from day-to-day depending on snowfall and temperatures. There’s usually a well packed trail to follow. 

What to expect on the trail

This guide from All Trails describes the winter route to Green Monster Falls on the Evan-Thomas Trail in Kananaskis. “This trail is along the river and into a canyon. It crosses several times via snow and ice bridges. The unofficial trail to this giant frozen waterfall is not the most accessible—you'll have to hike 5 km alongside Evan Thomas Creek to the base of a canyon, then climb into it along the exposed cliffside with the use of ropes and chains. A fun trail, but not one for beginner hikers or those with a fear of heights. The trail is only made challenging by the technical section with chains and ropes, but it’s otherwise a relatively easy, flat hike with beautiful scenery and several waterfalls along the way.”

After the  junction, the Green Monster trail goes left up a steep hill leading you up and over the waterfall from the end. The steep trail is almost always snowy, sometimes icy- so I highly recommend ice cleats (spikes).

Near the top of the steep hill, there is a safety chain bolted into the canyon wall. The first safety chain is quickly followed by a much longer second safety chain. The hiking trail along the chain section is often only one foot wide with a steep drop off down.

After there will be a descent down a very steep hill, again with slippery snow or ice. Here, there are a series of knotted safety ropes to help you maintain control during the descent. Beyond the ropes and chains, the Green Monster hike continues along the bottom of a canyon.

On-leash dogs are allowed on Kananaskis hiking trails. I’ll be honest, if you plan on going all the way to the Green Monster waterfall, I think bringing your dog is a bad idea. It's wonderful, easy and friendly for the dogs all the way to the ropes and chains. After this point it gets pretty hard for the dogs.

The Green Monster waterfall is also popular with ice climbers, making it a fun place to stop for lunch and watch the climbers.

If you want to see a video of this beautiful hike, visit our Instagram or YouTube accounts: Canmore Mountain Vacations

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