We’ve teamed up with popular bloggers and 10Adventures’ contributors to come up with a Top 10 list of their favorite hikes in the Canadian Rockies.
So, check out this star-studded list. Then, it’s up to you to decide which ones will be your last hike of 2017. You better make it a good one, but then again, how could you not with this impressive list?
Kootenay National Park, BC
Written by: Buzz Bishop
It’s just a few steps from a busy highway but, if you go up a steep slope there, at the back of a hanging valley next to the Stanley Glacier, is one of the earliest birthplaces of life on this planet.
The Stanley Glacier hike in Kootenay National Park takes you up more than 984ft in the first few kilometres. It’s a switchback trail through the bones left behind after an old forest fire. Small shrubs and wildflowers have since returned, giving new life to the landscape. Once you get up the slope, you have another 1.9mi of easy hiking through a rich forest. You’ll follow the path of a busy creek to the back of the valley towards the base of Stanley Glacier.
When you emerge from the forest, you’re faced with towering cliffs, melting glaciers, and a massive valley filled with rocky scree. More than 500 million years ago, this valley was part of the ocean floor. In 2008 geologists found fossils from the Middle Cambrian period and included this area as part of their studies being done at the Burgess Shale.
I did the hike with my 8-year-old son. Our nearly 6.8mi trip up and down took about 3.5h, including 45 minutes for lunch at the top. If you’d prefer a guided trek, Parks Canada offers them and they can take up to 7 hours due to the extended break in the hanging valley when you get to search for fossils. Note the parking lot is small and when we arrived on a summer Sunday at 10a.m., there were only four spots left.
Ready to take on Stanley Glacier? Click here for more information.
Buzz was named to the #YYC100 – a list of the most influential social media voices in Calgary! When he’s not on the radio and writing for Calgary Buzz or The Huffington Post, he’s spending time with his family, oh and he’s a Team Diabetes Media Champion. He truly is an epic Calgarian!
Read the rest of the article from Buzz here.
Icefields Parkway, AB
Written by: Inspiration Rick
There’s a reason why Helen Lake is considered a must-do, “classic” hike in Banff National Park. Passing through the Icefields Parkway and looking for an amazing day hike? Heading out from Calgary and Jonesing for some crazy beautiful views? A trip to Helen Lake is always the answer.
In the summer months, a vibrant green valley filled with wildflowers awaits you en route to Helen Lake. However, for a different experience, I recommend an early September hike when the grass has become a brilliant golden. The hike to the lake is pleasant: a well-worn path over roots, streams, and through a forest. It opens up to some wonderful views of Dolomite Peak to the east and Cirque Peak in the distance to the north. Hiking through the valley alone is stunning. Between the mountain visuals, the sun’s heat on your skin, the smells of the alpine flora and the sounds from happy hikers, your senses will be in overdrive. Yet, the lake evokes calm and peacefulness. We always find a quiet spot at Helen Lake to rest and take it all in even on the busiest of nice summer days.
But, don’t just stop at Helen Lake. Continue onward to the ridge, which is an additional 328ft gain or so, and stop for a snack while admiring Helen Lake and the valley from this vantage point. For the ambitious, looking for a challenge, I recommend summiting Cirque Peak. After many years of scrambling in the Rockies, it ranks in my top three. The scree ascent can be exhausting, but good heavens, the 360-degree panorama of mountain tops, lakes, and glaciers is incredible.
Ready to take on Helen Lake? Click here for more information.
Looking for a little inspiration? Give Rick a follow. He works hard at his desk during the week so he can enjoy the weekends in the outdoors. His blog is incredible and fills you with motivation and enthusiasm after reading every post.
Read the rest of the article from Rick here.
Written by: MyHikingJournal
Consider Crypt Lake the jewel on top of the triple-crown challenge. This hike is an 18km adventure that features a boat ride, three gorgeous waterfalls (with the option of a fourth), a cliff with cables, a small cave, and a rewarding lake at the end.
In order to gain access to the trailhead, you need to take a boat taxi across Upper Waterton Lake. Once there, you are greeted with multiple switchbacks that take you past the option of Hell Roaring Falls, all the way up to Twin Falls. The path then moves through the valley that nestles between Vimy Ridge and Mount Boswell. Once you begin moving away from the lush forest and into rust coloured rock, you are greeted with the beautiful Burnt Rock Falls. For the next 1.2mi, the switchbacks return with a vengeance, moving upwards until you are able to get an amazing view of the trail before you as well as a shallow, emerald, alpine pond fed by Crypt Falls.
This is where the real fun begins. A narrow rock ledge leads to a metal ladder that provides entry into the 66ft-long tunnel through the rock wall. A brief scramble down to a rock ledge with a 656ft drop-off leads you to a ledge that requires a cable assist anchored into the stone. From there, you are quickly compensated for your efforts with your first look at Crypt Lake, which fills the entire surrounding mountain bowl. Enjoy the view and then return the way you came where your boat ride awaits!
The hike to Crypt Lake is an 5.4mi one-way with an elevation gain of 2280ft to a maximum elevation of 6499ft. This hike is considered moderate to challenging, depending on your physical abilities.
Ready to take on Crypt Lake?
Kayla is a born and raised Alberta girl, growing up on a farm then the small town of Vulcan. After working in downtown Calgary for a few years, she started to seek out more meaning of life. And that’s when she met her obsession. Follow her blog to find out more about hiking in Alberta!
Read the rest of the article from Kayla here.
Lake Louise, AB
Written by: RockiesFamilyAdventures
Starting at the world famous Lake Louise, you hike up the well-maintained Saddleback Pass Trail. This is an official Parks Canada trail, and you’d have a hard time getting lost. Round trip distance is 7.4km with 600m of height gain. The trail never feels overly steep and most hikers should be able to make the round trip hike in 3-4h. The hike is especially beautiful in September as the larch trees turn a golden yellow colour.
From Saddleback Pass, you can rest in a gorgeous meadow surrounded by larch trees, enjoying views up to Mount Temple. This is also the point where you’ll have to decide if you want to go higher. Saddle Mountain is to your left and Mount Fairview is to your right as you enter the meadow. Saddle Mountain only adds another 328ft of height gain and maybe an extra 1km round trip. It is a great “easy summit” option from the pass and in September you’ll be able to look down on a golden valley of larch trees.
If you choose to climb up Mount Fairview, you’ll follow a good trail all the way to the top, gaining another 1312ft of height (for a grand total of 3281ft of height gain,) with 6.6mi return for both the pass and the mountain. From the top you can look down on Lake Louise and look out over several of the area’s biggest peaks including Mt. Temple and Mount Victoria.
I made it up both Mount Fairview and Saddle Mountain with my 7-year-old son last summer. We were joined by two other families and managed to get six children up Fairview, and four of them up both of the summits. It took us seven hours to tag both peaks and to get back to Lake Louise at a moderate pace, the kids running most of the way down.
Ready to take on Mount Fairview? Click here for more information.
Tanya is an incredible mother and wife whose goal is to inspire other families to explore the outdoors. She takes her son on stunning hikes and backpacking trips in order to make the wilderness a priority in their family. If you are looking for some rocky mountain adventures make sure to follow the Mountain Mom for great tips and tricks on hiking in Alberta.
Read the rest of the article from Tanya here.
Banff National Park, AB
Written by: Jonathan S.
This was the first ‘big hike’ i ever did, so it always has that special place in my heart, you know? After coming to the rockies most summers with our family, this one hike has always stood out. This isn’t a hike for an novice hiker. At 11.8mi and with 2362ft of elevation, Wenkchemna Pass makes for a good day of hiking.
The beautiful little Eiffel Lake comes at you halfway through your hike and it’s amazing on it’s own right. That being said, I is I like the view looking back, where you can see incredible views and your path up. We did this one year as a family and it had snowed. The road to the trailhead is closed in winter, and there is a risk of avalanches, so we had the whole area to ourselves. It was very challenging to see the path, so it was a little nerve-wracking; however, the incredible beauty of this area covered in snow was something to behold.
Ready to take on Eiffel Lake and Wenkchemna Pass? Click here for more information.
Jonathan is a seasoned contributor for 10hikes.com. He has hiked throughout the US and western Canada, spending a great deal of time in the Rockies.
Banff National Park, AB
Written by: jodyrobbins.com
I don’t know why, but everybody seems to forget about ski resorts before striking out for a hike in Canada. If you lived near Banff National Park, as I do, you’d know hiking in the summer and early autumn months is an exercise in patience. There are major crowds, but you can’t really blame them. Not when there’s such pristine wilderness right at your fingertips. Most people don’t clue in that anyplace you can drive to is going be packed. But if you use a bit of effort to get to the trail, you probably won’t find that many people on it.
That’s what makes hiking at Sunshine Meadows so brilliant. You peel off the TransCanada Highway and drive about 10 minutes to Sunshine Village Ski Resort. There’s ample parking and from there you get whisked almost above tree line via gondola to the Village. Then you hop on a chairlift and get deposited mere steps away from the Continental Divide.
I can’t lie and tell you this hike is technically difficult. It’s not. It’s super easy, yet majorly gratifying. You can hike around several azure-hued lakes or simply make for Rock Isle Lake through patches of wildflowers and groves of larch trees. If you don’t already know, the larches morph from a brilliant lime green to golden yellow before losing their needles at the end of October. The trail has been traversed for centuries by the First Nations and later by European traders. Follow their footsteps and you won’t be disappointed.
Ready to take on Sunshine Meadows? Click here for more information.
Jody’s blog is about experiencing all that life has to offer and giving it 110%. Her passions include her family, travel, food, celebrity trivia, and much more. So, if you’re looking to take the family on an unforgettable vacation or just needing some health tips go visit her blog!
Read the rest of the article from Jody here.
Written by: ivebeenbit.ca
Previously, I only had the pleasure of exploring Alberta in the summer, and I was taken aback by the beauty of this winter wonderland. I had heard Maligne Canyon was a must-visit when in Jasper… and it’s so nice I had to visit twice!
While breathtaking in the summer, the winter months offer a unique experience as the water that flows through freezes. Enjoy the beautiful ice creations as you traverse the base of the canyon. Honestly, laying on the frozen riverbed and looking up at the beautiful rock walls is still to this day one of my favourite hiking memories!
Ready to take on Maligne Canyon? Click here for more information.
Lindsay is a Canadian girl from Kitchener, Ontario. She’s a graphic designer who’s been, you’ve guessed it, bit by the travel bug. She loves hiking, coffee and wine, which means her blog is obviously for everyone. Check it out for local travel tips for every one of our amazing provinces and territories!
Read the rest of the article from Lindsay here.
Icefields and Yoho, AB
Written by: Karin, Contributor for 10Adventuers & @adventureafterall
We’ve done this trail in snow, sleet, rain, and sun. Hiking in the sun is obviously the best, but we love it in any weather, just so long as it’s clear enough to see the views. You’ll get your legs pumping right of the start. The switchbacks can seem daunting, but the second you pop above the treeline it’ll all be worth it.
Once you’ve bested the elevation gain, you’ll find yourself on an amazing alpine walk. You’ll get views up, across, and back down the valley, including wonderful views of Takkakaw Falls. As you marvel at the valley, you’ll have the steadying presence of the stoic rock face on your left. You’ll get great views of some glaciers too.
You can turn around at anypoint on this hike, so just listen to what your body is telling you. We usually turn around after the Iceline begins to lose elevation. We usually stay in Field at the Truffle Pigs Lodge. We have a favorite room, but we can’t mention it, as we don’t want others to know! Oh yeah, you must eat at truffle pigs too, so delicious!
Ready to take on The Iceline? Click here for more information.
Karen is a doctor who, in her free-time, is an avid adventurer. She enjoys hiking, mountain biking, trekking and travelling all over the world. Hiking has taken her on a regular basis to Canada and the USA as well as trips to Nepal, India, Europe and South America. Her upcoming tours are cycle-touring in spain, followed by trekking in Morocco and then to India to travel, hike and explore that wonderful country for a few months.
Make sure to give Karen a follow:
Written by: Henry, the 6-year-old budding 10Adventures contributor
This is actually not that hard of a hike. I like doing it because we get to watch movies in the mini-van on the way to the hike and we usually get Timbits. Once we also got to get ice cream after the hike. My dad usually has to carry my baby-brother on his back, but Dad says that soon he will have to walk himself. The best part of the hike is getting to the lake, and we usually have lunch there.
Ready to take on Chester Lake? Click here for more information.
This 6-year-old hiker could be the next big name in Adventure Blogging, or he could be a firefighter, spaceman, professional lego-builder; it’s really too early to tell. When he’s not off on another adventure with his parents and brothers, he’s usually at school or playing with friends. He likes Timbits and Ice cream.
Icefields and Yoho, AB
Written by: Richard
This is one of the most beautiful places on earth, made more beautiful by the fact that access is restricted. You can either book a spot on the bus that comes up to Lake O’Hara, or you hike up the access road. Whatever you choose, any extra trouble getting to the trailhead is worth it.
The All Souls route is a great full-day hike. You’ll pass a large number of beautiful lakes. From the northwest side of the Yukness Mountain you’ll have some great vistas. It’s so calm and serene on this trail that you’ll want to stay here for more than just a day trip.
I usually try and grab a last minute cancellation for September, and spend one to two nights at the campground visiting old favorite walks. After you’ve done the All Souls Route, try the trip up to Lake MacArthur. If you go in the middle to end of September you’ll get the changing larch colours, which are incredible. In winter we have stayed at Lake O’hara Lodge and Elizabeth Parker hut.
Ready to take on Lake O’Hara? Click here for more information.
Richard is the founder of 10Adventures. Richard gained his love of the outdoors by spending his summers hiking all over the world, including the Alps, Rockies, Himalayas, Andes and Pyrenees. This passion is the seed of 10Adventures goal – to make it easier for people to experience the most beautiful places on earth.