Cliff jumping at Horseshoe Lake
Horseshoe Lake is located along the Icefield Parkway and has long been viewed as cliff jumping area for thrill seekers, a cool swimming location on a hot day and a beautiful setting for picnicking and strolling.
Make sure your day at Horseshoe Lake is a safe one by not cliff jumping.
Cliff jumping is a dangerous sport
Cliff jumping is especially dangerous when undertaken by inexperienced and untrained individuals.
Cliff jumping injuries are very common, some points to keep in mind are:
- A jump from any height is traumatic to the body
- The higher the jump, the higher the risk for serious injury
- From 3 metres (10 feet), you're falling at about 27 km/h (17 mph) when you hit the water
- From 6 metres (20 feet), you’re falling at about 40 km/h (25mph)
Even if the water is deep and you go in feet first, your speed is great enough to cause spinal compression, bone fractures, concussion, or a collapsed lung. An awkward entry - landing even slightly off-center - can have a catastrophic result.
2 to 3 major rescues occur at Horseshoe Lake every year
Over the past 5 years, Parks Canada has averaged 2 to 3 major rescues per year at Horseshoe Lake, all related to cliff jumping and often also associated with alcohol or drug use. Many more visitors have been injured and self-rescued to the local hospital for care.
While some injuries are minor, others have included head or back injuries, paralysis, and death.
We do not recommend cliff jumping at Horseshoe Lake
Due to the safety risks involved with cliff jumping, Parks Canada does not recommend cliff jumping at Horseshoe Lake.
If you choose to go, remember:
- You are responsible for your own safety:
- You need to make the right decision for your level of experience
- You need to accept the risks associated with injury and death
- It may take hours for staff to mobilize and rescue you from this location
- Alcohol or drug use can impede your judgement and your ability to land safely
- There are no garbage bins or washrooms at the lake
- Please pack out everything you pack in
- Use the washroom facilities provided at the trailhead