Stanley Glacier

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
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.
3.5-5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
11.4 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.
568 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.
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more 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 of the Stanley Glacier hike in Banff National Park, Alberta

The Stanley Glacier hike in beautiful Kootenay National Park is a true delight. The trail goes from burnt forest with mesmerizing wildflowers, to alpine meadow, to the amazing Stanley Glacier. This gentle climb has it all – complete with beautiful cascading waterfalls too!

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Route Description for Stanley Glacier

Proceed over the Vermillion River Footbridge and start up the trail. The burnt forest characterizes the beginning of the trail, as it was struck by lightning in 1968. The amazing wildflowers that grow in this area are truly stunning, and the lack of foliage allows for more frequent viewpoints. Watch out if you are attempting this hike during high winds, as the tree branches are brittle and can break off.

Climb steadily up switchbacks until you reach a river formed by the runoff of the Stanley Glacier –this is roughly 2.0 km into the hike. Cross the creek then continue beside it as the forest around you slims. The climbing is not as strenuous as you enter a pristine alpine meadow with incredible views in all directions. Many waterfalls run down to either side of the valley in spring and early summer. The trail from here continues ahead, with the wonderful Stanley Glacier on your right-hand side.

You can see a path rising on both sides of the valley up ahead. This is an optional ascent to a great viewing area, which adds 3.0 km and 240 m onto the hike (the GPS track shows this route). You reach the decision point 4.2 km into the trail, and the sign denotes that the end of the maintained route has arrived. If you want to continue, immediately enter a boulder field and start to climb up. It's steep, but the views make it worthwhile.

The highest point you will reach is a group of trees on a plateau. From here you can choose to turn back and return the way you came or continue through the trees, across a stream and down the other side of the valley. We prefer the circuit as it gives different views of the side walked up. Rejoin the main path and continue down the way you came up, enjoying great scenery across the main valley to Mount Whymper.

If you don't do the extension, then this is a perfect hike for the youngsters in the group. It is not too long, has plenty of scenery changes, and great views.

Find other great hikes in Kootenay National Park:

Insider Hints for Stanley Glacier

  • Stop off or stay at the wonderful Storm Mountain Lodge. The food is delicious and the historic cabins are usually reasonable.

Getting to the Stanley Glacier Trailhead

Going west along the Trans-Canada Highway from Banff, turn south at Castle Junction towards Radium highway 93. The Stanley Glacier parking lot is on the left side of the road, four kilometers from the provincial border.

Route Information

  • When to do

    June through October

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Toilets

    Trailhead

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Stanley Glacier Elevation Graph

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Stanley Glacier Reviews

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