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Nature lovers and casual hikers will enjoy exploring Amerada Trail, an easy hike near Rocky Mountain House.
Located in Crimson Lake Provincial Park, Amerada Trail (also known as Crimson Lake Loop) passes through forests and wetlands as it circles the perimeter of Crimson Lake.
There are plenty of opportunities for bird sightings and viewpoints along the trail offer scenic rest points for enjoying views of Crimson Lake. The route also has some covered shelters in case of rain, interpretive panels about the area, two outhouses, and kilometre markers.
Hiking Amerada Trail (Crimson Lake Loop)
Distance: 10 km round trip
Elevation Gain: 38 m
Trail Type: Loop
Time: 2.5- 3 hours (at a relaxed pace with stops to enjoy the scenery)
Trailhead: Day use parking area at Crimson Lake Provincial Park
Amerada Trail starts from the east side of the day use area parking lot and goes counterclockwise around Crimson Lake. You’ll see a trail marker that says “Amerada”, a bulletin board with a trail map, and a sign about what to do if you encounter a bear or a cougar.
The hike begins by entering into a mixed wood forest with tall aspen, lodgepole pine, and white and black spruce. The forest is quite old and you’ll notice some fallen trees in the bush.
The path continues past some of the park’s smaller loop trails before crossing the road that leads to Pioneer Ranch Camp. You can hear a bit of traffic noise here from the nearby highway, but that soon disappears once the trail turns and heads west away from the highway.
Still surrounded by forest, the trail eventually comes to a fen, a type of wetland with peaty soil, alkaline water, and tamarack trees.
About 3.5 km into the hike, you’ll get your first glimpses of the lake as the trail passes by some wetlands and begins to follow closer to the shoreline. Listen for different species of frogs that can be heard calling from the surrounding wetlands.
The most scenic part of the hike is between kilometres 4 and 6 because the trail closely follows along the north shore of the lake. There are some benches at viewpoints that make nice rest areas to stop and watch for birds. You might see loons, geese, and mallards floating in the water.
After kilometre six, the trail leaves the lakeside and moves into another forested area. The next scenic stopping point is at Beaver Pond, just before kilometre 8. There’s a short side trail off the main path to reach it.
Beaver Pond is surrounded by cattails and conifer trees and is a peaceful place to watch for birds. There’s a small floating pier providing access to the pond.
After Beaver Pond, the trail continues through the trees eventually coming to a junction with the trail to Twin Lakes. At this point you’ll want to turn left to head back to the day use area.
The trail then follows beside the park road and passes by the campground entrance before arriving back at the day use parking lot, completing the Amerada trail loop.
Review of Amerada Trail
The Crimson Lake hike is enjoyable for people of all ages and hiking abilities. It offers a nice variety of scenery on a well maintained, easy to walk trail, and doesn’t require any special equipment like hiking boots or trekking poles.
Being surrounded by forest, water, and the calls of loons and frogs brings you close to nature without having to venture into the backcountry. It’s a relaxing atmosphere that melts stress away, especially in the springtime before the summer crowds arrive.
Even though the Crimson Lake Loop doesn’t offer any challenges in terms of elevation gain or trail obstacles, you’ll still get some decent exercise because of its 10 km length.
Since this trail is multi-use, hikers will have to share it with mountain bikers and trail runners. Simply moving to the side gives enough room for people to easily pass.
Pictures of Amerada Trail
Here are a few more photos from the Crimson Lake Loop hiking trail.
Tips for Hiking Amerada Trail
Location: Amerada Trail is located in Crimson Lake Provincial Park, 15 km from Rocky Mountain House.
Getting to Amerada Trail: From Rocky Mountain House, take Highway 22 north then keep left onto highway 11. Drive west on Highway 11 until Highway 756 where you will turn right. Follow 756 to Township Road 402A then turn left into the park. Follow the signs to the day use area and there will be a parking lot at the trailhead.
Best Time to Hike at Crimson Lake: Amerada Trail is open year round but it’s best hiked from May to October.
Facilites: Amerada Trail has two outhouses, covered rest areas, and benches at viewpoints. The day use area near the trailhead has a picnic area and drinking water station.
Visitor Guidelines and Safety: Crimson Lake is in bear and cougar territory, so take some time to read the sign at the trailhead about what to do if you encounter them.
What to Bring: Since the trail is a flat gravel surface, regular running or walking shoes are fine.
- Bring water and some snacks to enjoy at a viewpoint along the trail.
- Bring bug repellant in the summer.
Trail Map: Here is map of Amerada Trail and the other trails at Crimson Lake.
You may also enjoy these nearby trails:
- Coliseum Mountain Hike- David Thompson Country
- Nordegg Hiking Guide- Hikes Near Nordegg and Abraham Lake
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