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Kakwa Falls

Kakwa falls is the main attraction of the Kakwa Wildland Provincial Park which is in the Foothills, 150 kilometres southwest of Grande Prairie. Besides being a place of great beauty, it is also quite rugged. The last portion of the road to the falls is passable only by 4-wheel drive vehicles.

The Kakwa River, fed by Lake Kakwa, is an offshoot of the Smoky River. The falls are formed as the river flows over a large anticline, or folded arch of bedrock. Looking downstream from the lookout of the falls, you can see that the ridge that forms the falls also forms the lip of the canyon. This demonstrates that the falls have moved slowly upstream as the underlying rock was eroded away.

The river plunges a vertical distance of approximately 30 metres. Like most falls, they are the result of a river crossing an outcrop of resistant rock which overlies softer, and more easily eroded rock. The distinctive feature of these falls is the degree of undercutting that has taken place. There is a large cave behind the falls formed by water splashing and spraying against the back wall of the falls and eroding it. The boundary, or contact, between the upper resistant layer and lower weak layer is what forms the ceiling of the cave.

To learn about other features of the foothills region click here.