The main feature of this natural landscape is the large spherical reddish boulders (concretions), some of which measure 2.5 metres (10 ft) in diameter. They are scattered across the badlands and coulees, and can be seen along the hiking trails, as well as from the viewpoint on Highway 887 .
Map of the Area
Any maps and map views are for general information only. Do not rely on them for navigation or to determine legal boundaries.
Red Rock Coulee Natural Area contains large red spherical sandstone concretions that have eroded out of the softer bedrock (best example of spheroid rock formations in Alberta); concretions measure up to 2.5 metres across & are believed to be among largest in the world. The natural area consists of eroded steep sided coulees and a small upland of fescue-needle grass. In places, hoodoos (columns of bedrock) have formed. This site lies in the Grassland Natural Region, Mixedgrass Sub-region. A former glacial lakebed, this geology represents some of the best agricultural land in Alberta and, as with other sub-regions in the Parkland and Grassland natural regions, it has proven difficult to find representative landscapes that have not been cultivated (Alberta Parks web site, 2012).
WHAT IS A CONCRETION? Formed approximately 65 million years ago in ancient seas when mineral matter — shells, algae, bone, and so on — formed a nuclei to which other matter stuck to, the concretions are beautiful behemoths to behold. Some measure 2.5 metres in diameter and, the ones that are cracked, broken or in various states of erosion, actually show distinct rings that prove the “growth around a nuclei” or concretion theory. Red Rock Coulee concretions are accessible they are not unique in Alberta. A remote area on the Athabasca River at Grand Rapids — also boasts some of the largest concretions in the world .
WHAT IS A COULEE? Coulee, or coulée is a term applied rather loosely to different landforms, all of which refer to a kind of valley or drainage zone. The word coulee comes from the Canadian French coulée, from French couler ‘to flow’ .
|Site Name||Red Rock Coulee|
|Site Type||Natural Area|
|Natural Region(s)||Dry Mixedgrass; Mixedgrass|
|O.C. No. (Land Ref. Manual)||146/85|
|PASite ID (Map Ref #)||66|
|Site # (Parks Website)||422|
|Total Area||324.15 ha. (800.98 ac.)|
|Recreation Activities||Hiking – front country, Wildlife viewing|
|Operated By||Parks Division|
|Notes and Comments|
The following links are provided as a courtesy but are not verified or endorsed by SAPAA. Clicking on the link will cause you to leave the SAPAA website. Primary source of information is: Government of Alberta – Information & Facilities – Red Rock Coulee Natural Area | Alberta Parks (2022-02-18).
- Red Rock Coulee – Wikipedia (accessed 2022-04-30)
- Dodging snakes at Red Rock Coulee | Calgary Herald (accessed 2022-04-30)
- Coulee – Wikipedia (accessed 2022-04-30)
- Why Red Rock Coulee is one of Alberta’s unsung geological treasures
- Seven Persons Creek | South East Alberta Watershed Alliance
- Cypress Hills – Alberta Wilderness Association
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