Plumbago Falls on Plumbago Creek

cluttered gorge and falls in the hills of Alberta

Main plunges of water
  • The highway over Plumbago Lake
  • Swampy tip of the lake
  • Huge beaver dam upstream
  • Some rapids
  • Even more swamps upstream
  • Mist rising up from the cold waters
  • Small chute between snowy boulders
  • Small splits around the rocks
  • Main plunges of water
  • Looking across the spraying drops
  • Dark upstream pool
  • Large, flowing chute of water
  • Gated road leading along the creek
  • Dark lake under grey clouds

Most of Plumbago Creek is swampy, a chain of beaver-infested ponds and marshes that slowly drains down to Plumbago Lake by Alberta. There are several small rapids scattered along the length and one surprisingly large waterfall far upstream. Draining some deep grassy pools high up on the hills the creek tumbles sharply down a deep rocky gorge, over and around boulders and bedrock, forming several significant plunges along the way. A few more open drops lie a few dozen yards downstream of the cluttered gorge.


Park on the south shore of Lake Plumbago at Preacher Park off of US-41, across the road from Alberta about 8 miles south of L'Anse. There is an overgrown and gated two-track south of the park that is directly across from Alberta's entrance. Either follow the road southeast or take the footpaths along Lake Plumbago. The footpaths tend to wander and die out even if they are more scenic.

Take the first fork left past the open clearing at .3 miles. There are more forks along the way, try to stick to the main road past them all. You don't want to head down towards the creek too soon or climb too far up the hill, just be parallel the creek for the entire hike. Over 2 miles from 41 the road curves 90 degrees to the right and the creek climbs up out of it's narrow valley and should be audible. The falls are here, along this bend.

Comments (5)

  • Chelli Joki May 6, '16 I have searched and searched for these waterfalls for years, to no avail. The first time I tried I was using Penrose's directions in Michigan Waterfalls and although it was a fantastic hike I was never successful. I've read your blog for years and have used it more than once as a source for finding the remote falls I was never able to find. Thank you so much for this site.
    • Jacob P Emerick May 9, '16 Hi Chelli - this is definitely a tricky one to find. The only way I ended up finding it at all was to just take that gated two-track up and skip much of the creek. If you stick to the paths along Lake Plumbago and beyond then it gets really thick and swampy too many times. You'll have to let me know if you end up tracking this one down... and Thanks :)
    • Karen Jul 10, '19 I tried getting to the falls by driving the gravel road north of the lake. It wasn't too bad as far as dirt roads go until I came to the right turn that according to Google would take me close to the falls. It was a one lane dirt road with grass/weeds growing in the middle. Has anybody been successful getting to the falls this way?
    • Jacob P Emerick Jul 15, '19 Hi Karen - if you're talking about the road I think you are (it was gated last time I was up there), and if you were driving it for a few miles, then you must have been very close. You probably could have parked there and walked down to the falls. The road does make a sharp right bend right above where you'd head down to the creek.
    • Maddie Jaksa Sep 26, '21 Karen - I found it that way! I realize I'm a bit late to replying, but I was out there today and that is indeed a great way to get there. I recommend going to the very last curve of the road and then walking straight toward the pools above the falls. What a beautiful waterfall, the deep crevasse between boulders and walls of rock makes such an interesting place! Absolutely great fungi in the area in the fall as well!
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