Horseshoe Canyon

Horseshoe Canyon

Let's Talk Horseshoe Canyon: Public Input by July 24  

Horseshoe Canyon is a very popular day use destination within Kneehill County. The canyon experiences approximately 400,000 visits annually. Kneehill County is in the process of preparing a Master Plan for Horseshoe Canyon. The master plan will provide the long-term management and development direction for the site. The plan will work to improve the visitor experience available on site while ensuring that the site’s unique ecological and historic resources are protected for generations to come.

Your input is key to creating a master plan that is driven by the community and allows the site to be used in ways that are supported by the community! The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete and all answers are anonymous. Please participate in the online survey and online mapping to provide your ideas on the future of Horseshoe Canyon. Survey closes July 24, 2018.




A must see attraction along the Highway 9 corridor with over 400,000 visitors annually, Horseshoe Canyon boasts hiking trails, amazing views, day-use and rest areas.

Horseshoe Canyon in the News

Horseshoe Canyon offers Stunning views, Opportunity

Kneehill Notes, October 2016 

Kneehill County residents, guests, and partner in tourism were treated to some good fortune Friday, September 30, when a dreary morning transformed into blue skies and warm sunshine, just in time for the Horseshoe Canyon Inaugural Event. 

Offering stunning vistas and scenic hiking trails, Horseshoe Canyon is a must see attraction along Highway 9. With over 150,000 visitors to date in 2016, the canyon provides Kneehill County with an incredible opportunity to promote tourism and grow economic development.

The canyon was originally purchased by Jack Lowen SR in 1946, it was used as pasture land for his cattle with its excellent prairie wool grassland on the upper plateaus. The land was later passed down to his sons Ralph and Jack Jr. who also used it for grazing and hay land. The land was further handed down to their daughters Judy Lowen (Goodine), Cindy Lowen (Groeneveld), Janice Lowen (Blackie-Goodine) and son Alec Lowen. 

With an agreement to carry on the Lowen's family love of Horseshoe Canyon, its long-term preservation while still allowing the public to experience and enjoy the dramatic natural landscape and geology, the property was sold to Kneehill County in July 2016. 

Kneehill County Council sees this investment in Horseshoe Canyon as a way to further their strategic vision as a place to "Live, Work, Play." Indeed, since the purchase in July, Kneehill County's Agriculture and Parks Department has worked tirelessly to make the site safer for visitors. Improvements include a staircase from the observation deck to the canyon floor, erosion matting and numerous new lookouts constructed upon the hills. 

Trees and shrubs will be added next spring with the contribution of $25,000 from Canadian National Railways and their CN Eco Connexions From the Ground Up Program. With its partners Tree Canada and Communities in Bloom, CN EcoConnexions helps Canadian Municipalities establish tree plantings in a sustainable manner. 


For more information contact Debra Grosfield, Communications
Kneehill County, 403-443-5541

Horseshoe Canyon

Kneehill County Invests in Horseshoe Canyon Tourism

Press Release: July 26, 2016

At the May 10, 2016 Regular Meeting, Council moved forward on purchasing the privately owned area icon and tourism draw, Horseshoe Canyon. The land is located at SW 27-28-21 W4M in the southeast part of Kneehill County. The land title was transferred at the beginning of July, making the purchase official. 

Council discussed the Horseshoe Canyon Action Plan at the July 26 Regular Council Meeting. Immediate plans consist of making the observation area safer for visitors, as drainage has caused washouts in many areas.

Kneehill County Agriculture and Parks Department continues to work on developing a long-term plan to present to Council, including recreational areas, hiking trails and other developments that will support long-term economic goals of our area. 

Reeve Bob Long is excited to have the area under our wing. "Horseshoe Canyon in a gem in our prairie profile, a part of the Canadian Badlands. It's an important attraction to maintain for our many visitors and residents to enjoy."

Horseshoe Canyon parking area was originally under Kneehill County control through a long-term lease until the management of the property was turned over to Alberta Parks and Recreation in 1986. When the Province made plans to privatize or close the parking lot area in 1998, Kneehill County entered a partnership with the Town of Drumheller to further promote tourism in the region. 

On September 6, 2002, the Horseshoe Canyon Conservation Area was opened by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Kneehill County re-assumed ownership of the parking lot of the popular tourism stop in 2008, and pavement and bathrooms were added to upgrade the area. 

With the full quarter now under ownership and operation of Kneehill County, we will be able to develop the recreation area while working with our neighbours, the Alberta Nature Conservancy to the west of the parking area. 


For more information contact Debra Grosfield, Communications
Kneehill County, 403-443-5541