Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
2,252.00 ft (686.41 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
9.10 mi (14.64 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The aptly named Coliseum Mountain resides at the western border of the David Thompson Country near the small town of Nordegg, Alberta. Its location affords vast and expansive westerly views of the impressive Canadian Rocky Mountains from the ridge and summit as well as less interesting views of the grassy plains to the east. This trail could be considered difficult by some because the first few miles sharply ascend the south peak of this uniquely shaped mountain. Several switchback cuts have developed, and attempts have been made by park wardens to block these unofficial trail cuts that cause erosion. The main trail is marked in some areas. Several types of big-game wildlife frequent the area. Hikers should be bear-aware and understand mitigation tactics on this trail.

Once you've successfully followed the sometimes less-than-obvious small roadside signs marking the route to the trailhead, be sure to check the informational plaque for a map of the region and guidelines to adhere to. The trail begins meandering through meadow-like vegetation scattered with birch trees alongside the neighborhood of vacation homes in the North Nordegeg Subdivision. A small creek is easily crossed early on in the trail, which seems to be the only source of water on the trail in the late spring and early summer. The scrub alpine forest consisting of lodgepole pine, western redcedar, and rocky mountain firs becomes quite thick through the majority of the climb as the trail switches back successively, climbing sharply. The trail becomes more rocky as it nears the ridge crest and completely levels out near the top of the south peak of the mountain, allowing for a few comfortable-looking trailside backcountry campsites.

The trees then disperse, allowing for dramatic, expansive views of the summit to the north and a massive cirque in the empty space between, far below with the crescent-shaped ridge to the east. To the west, the seemingly unending Rocky Mountain range occupies the entirety of the horizon. The trail continues through a massive limestone rockslide, then follows the crescent ridge as it gradually descends onto a saddle and a sparse forest returns. Many small meadows of wildflowers can be found alongside the trail with consistently unimpeded views of the Rockies on your left. Far below, rock formations somewhat resemble ancient Roman coliseums. Nearing the end of the crescent ridge walk, toward the obvious summit hump, the timber line is left behind while the trail again climbs a couple of switchbacks to the summit plateau. Here the terrain is tundra-like with small patches of wildflowers in the summer. A large rock cairn marks the actual summit where vast, panoramic views of the ever-present Rockies can be found.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Expansive vistas of the Canadian Rockies. Backcountry campsites. Wildlife viewing. Solitude.

Cons

Trail can be steep at times.

Trailhead Elevation

4,597.00 ft (1,401.17 m)

Highest point

6,614.00 ft (2,015.95 m)

Net Elevation Gain

2,017.00 ft (614.78 m)

Features

Vault toilet
Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Family friendly
Big vistas
Big Game Watching
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

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