Grassi Lakes Hike

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Very Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
1-1.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
4.0 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
185 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.8
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Panorama from the Wasootch Ridge hike in Kananaskis, the Canadian Rockies

The Grassi Lakes hike is an ideal route in Canmore for beginners, families unaccustomed to hiking in the mountains, or visitors with smaller children. It includes a pair of picturesque, crystal-clear lakes surrounded by impressive rock faces.

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Route Description for Grassi Lakes Hike

Perhaps the hardest part of the Grassi Lakes hike is getting to it. Head past the Canmore Nordic Centre and take the first left, down a paved road to a parking lot on your right. If you get here later in the morning, you may be parking on the road.

The Grassi Lakes hike begins on a wide gravel access road that leads into the forest from the parking lot. After approximately 150 m, a smaller trail leads off to the left into the forest. At this point you can choose to continue on the wide “easy” path to the lakes or take this route to the left, which was built by Lawrence Grassi.

The “easy” path to Grassi Lakes is a steady climb on a wide gravel path. All-terrain strollers can handle this route, and the path is simple to follow. The “difficult” forest trail is a much more exciting route, though not suitable for strollers or young children. In wet or snowy weather we don’t recommend this trail, as it’s easy to slip and incur an injury on the wet ground.

Personally, we prefer to do a circuit where we go up on the “difficult” trail and down on the “easy” trail, which we’ll describe below.

After taking the left-hand trail, you’ll be on a smaller path that heads away from the main route. There are few challenges with route finding, and there are magnificent views from the path. After approximately 1.7 km you will reach the Lawrence Grassi Waterfall. The stone steps are quite exposed, and they can get slippery when soaked in spray from the falls, so take care on this part of the trail.

Coming past the waterfall you’ll soon reach a road. Turn right on this road and head towards Grassi Lakes. Take time to enjoy the first lake and then travel up to the second lake. The path that runs to the right of the junction is known as the Riders of Rohan Trail, and will take you on a picturesque loop around the two lakes. Both lakes are fairly small, but incredibly beautiful – you won’t be able to take your eyes off them!

To return, head over the wooden bridges and towards the gravel path that is traveling back towards the start.

Hiking Trail Highlights

Grassi Lakes

The Upper and Lower Grassi Lakes overlook the town of Canmore and the Bow River Valley, inside the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park. They take their name from Lawrence Grassi, an Italian miner who worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway and later the Canmore coal mines. He became known as a skilled local climbing guide, and constructed the trail that leads to the lakes. The Grassi Lakes were eventually named in his honor.

This area is a particularly popular destination for rock climbers. The gray cliffs that tower above the lakes offer some excellent climbing routes, mainly because the cliff was once a reef, formed by now-extinct sponges that left convenient handholds and footholds in the rock.

The gorgeous turquoise color of the lakes creates some magnificent photo opportunities. Indeed, people have been admiring these beautiful lakes for centuries, attested by the presence of cave paintings close to the trail that date back 1000 years. Add this lovely hike to your Canmore itinerary and you’ll soon see why.

Looking for more amazing hikes near Canmore? Check out the Grotto Canyon hike or the Ha Ling Peak hike.

Insider Hints for Grassi Lakes Hike

  • This is a busy hike, so it’s best to start early or late to avoid the crowds.
  • Head to Le Fournil Bakery in Canmore for the best pastries – the perfect accompaniment to this hike! Sit on a bench at one of the lakes and enjoy a wonderful break.

Getting to the Grassi Lakes Hike Trailhead

To get to the Grassi Lakes trailhead, drive 1.1 km past the Canmore Nordic Centre and take the left turn down Ken Ritchie Way to the Grassi Lake trailhead.

Route Information

  • When to do

    May through October

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Toilets

    Trailhead

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Extreme

  • Route Type

    Circuit

Grassi Lakes Hike Elevation Graph

Weather Forecast

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Grassi Lakes Hike Reviews

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