Oldman River

Not to be confused with Old Man River (disambiguation).
Oldman River

Oldman River seen from Veteran Memorial Highway
Country Canada (Alberta)
Main source Canadian Rockies
2,100 m (6,900 ft)
50°06′50″N 114°43′14″W / 50.11389°N 114.72056°W / 50.11389; -114.72056 (Primary source of Oldman River)
River mouth South Saskatchewan River
701 m (2,300 ft)
49°55′45″N 111°41′27.4″W / 49.92917°N 111.690944°W / 49.92917; -111.690944 (Mouth of Oldman River)Coordinates: 49°55′45″N 111°41′27.4″W / 49.92917°N 111.690944°W / 49.92917; -111.690944 (Mouth of Oldman River)
Basin size 26,700 km2 (10,300 sq mi)[1]
Physical characteristics
Length 363 km (226 mi)
  • Average rate:
    95 m3/s (3,400 cu ft/s).[1]

The Oldman River is a river in southern Alberta, Canada. It flows roughly west to east from the Rocky Mountains, through the communities of Fort Macleod, Lethbridge, and on to Grassy Lake, where it joins with the Bow River to form the South Saskatchewan River, which eventually drains into the Hudson Bay.

Oldman River has a total length of 362 kilometres (225 mi) and a drainage area of 26,700 square kilometres (10,300 sq mi).[1]


In 1991, the Alberta government finished construction of the Oldman River Dam. The Piikani renegade, led by Milton Born With A Tooth, had attempted to divert the Oldman River away from the Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District canal intake, leading to an armed standoff.[2] The dam was constructed where the Oldman, Crowsnest, and Castle river systems converge.

The Peigan Timber Limit B and Peigan 147 Indian reserves of the Piikani Nation.

2013 floods

On June 21, 2013, during the 2013 Alberta floods Alberta experienced heavy rainfall that triggered catastrophic flooding throughout much of the southern half of the province along the Bow, Elbow, Highwood and Oldman rivers and tributaries. A dozen municipalities in Southern Alberta declared local states of emergency on June 21 as water levels rose and numerous communities were placed under evacuation orders.[3]


Oldman River in Alberta

From headwaters to mouth, Oldman River receives:


Oldman River originates in the Beehive Natural Area,[4] an area of alpine tundra and old-growth spruce and fir forests. Downstream it flows through Bob Creek Wildland Park[5] and Black Creek Heritage Rangeland.[6] Oldman Dam and Oldman River are other Provincial Recreation Areas established along the river.

The river and some of its tributaries have formed coulees in Southern Alberta, and the strata revealed by these formations guide local prospectors to ammolite deposits.


The Oldman River contains fish species such as rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, bull trout, brown trout, hybrid trout species ("cutbow" rainbow and cutthroat cross), mountain whitefish, pike, walleye, lake sturgeon, suckers, goldeye, and minnows.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Atlas of Canada. "Rivers in Canada". Retrieved 2007-01-13.
  2. University of Lethbridge. "Oldman River Dam". Retrieved 2006-11-10.
  3. Kaufmann, Bill (June 21, 2013). "Thousands flee rising waters from Red Deer to Crowsnest". Calgary Sun. p. 3.
  4. Alberta Community Development. "Beehive Natural Area". Retrieved 2006-11-12.
  5. Alberta Community Development. "Bob Creek Wildland Park". Retrieved 2006-11-12.
  6. Alberta Community Development. "Black Creek Heritage Rangeland". Retrieved 2007-11-12.
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