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10 Greatest Hikes in The Canadian Rockies

The Canadian Rockies is the dream destination for all outdoor lovers. Whether you like hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, really any sport, the breathtaking mountains offer it all. Because hiking is so accessible, it’s easy to see why it’s the most popular outdoor activity, no matter the fitness level. I’m going to show you the 10 […]

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The Canadian Rockies is the dream vacation spot for all outside lovers. Whether or not you want climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, actually any sport, the breathtaking mountains supply all of it.

As a result of climbing is so accessible, it’s straightforward to see why it’s the most well-liked outside exercise, regardless of the health stage.

I’m going to indicate you the ten greatest day hikes within the Canadian Rockies. You may go to totally different nationwide and provincial parks to see mountain tops, wildlife, waterfalls, and beautiful turquoise lakes.

These hikes are only a fraction of the numerous I did in the course of the eight years I've been residing close to the Canadian Rockies. And I attempted my hardest to deliver you the highest ten hikes whenever you go to. 

Included on this checklist are hikes of assorted difficulties so everybody can discover their path.

Right here's my checklist of the ten greatest hikes within the Canadian Rockies.

1. Galatea Lakes

  • Distance: 18.7 km return
  • Elevation acquire: 806 m
  • Problem: reasonable

Situated in Kananaskis Nation, this hike options three attractive lakes and even a backcountry campground for those who’d like to remain in a single day.

Galatea Lakes, Kananaskis
Galatea Lakes, Kananaskis

The path leads by means of the forest with a number of creek crossings. It’s fairly flat many of the approach till you attain inexperienced Lilian Lake, the place the campground is. Proper after the uphill switchbacks begin, you get rewarded with views of mountain peaks throughout you.

While you see the Lilian Lake from above, you’re near reaching the Decrease Galatea Lake. Most hikers finish right here, however I extremely advocate persevering with to the Higher Galatea Lake, the place you would possibly even have it simply to your self. 

☞ See Additionally: 10 Best Hiking Trails in Nova Scotia, Canada

2. Grassi Lakes

  • Distance: 4 km return
  • Elevation acquire: 220 m
  • Problem: straightforward
Grassi Lakes Hike, Canmore
Grassi Lakes Hike, Canmore

Grassi Lakes in Canmore have to be probably the most common hikes within the Canadian Rockies. And for cause! The trailhead is positioned a brief drive from Canmore, a lesser-known neighbour of Banff.

You may even stroll in sandals because the path by means of the forest is broad and straightforward. In the event you select the harder route, you go a waterfall and stroll on some rock stairs.

The simple route is barely going uphill till you attain Decrease Grassi Lake. In the event you proceed round, the Higher Grassi Lake is just some minutes away.

Benches across the lake are an ideal spot to benefit from the altering colors of the lakes, relying on the angle solar rays contact the floor.

In the event you’re staying in Canmore, try these 20 fun outdoor things to do in Canmore.

3. Sulphur Mountain

  • Distance: 11 km return
  • Elevation acquire: 700 m
  • Problem: reasonable

In the event you go to Banff National Park, you nearly definitely hear concerning the gondola that may take you on prime of the Sulphur Mountain. However since you’re studying this information and like climbing, I've another choice for you.

Sulphur Mountain, Banff National Park
Sulphur Mountain, Banff Nationwide Park

You may park on the Higher Scorching Springs to hike up the mountain. The path is slowly going uphill on many switchbacks by means of the forest, with occasional views of Banff city and Rundle Mountain throughout the valley.

After about 4.5 km, you attain the gondola’s higher terminal and proceed on the boardwalk for one more kilometre to Sanson’s Peak. The view of the encompassing mountain peaks and valleys is unforgettable.  

The very best information is, you are able to do Sulphur Mountain Hike year-round.

4. Healy Cross

  • Distance: 19.4 km return
  • Elevation acquire: 650 m
  • Problem: reasonable

Healy Cross is probably the most vibrant hike in Banff Nationwide Park for those who go to in summer time. This hike's major goal isn’t a lake or reaching a mountain prime, however somewhat climbing up the mountain go by means of countless vibrant meadows crammed with wildflowers.

Healy Pass, Banff National Park
Healy Cross, Banff Nationwide Park

The hike begins simply exterior of Banff city, at Sunshine Village ski resort. The broad dust path follows Healy Creek, crosses a number of wood bridges and provides a lot of pretty views alongside the way in which.

I rated this hike reasonable solely due to the space as a result of the path is simple. You may hardly even discover the gradual elevation acquire.

After about 7 km, you allow all of the timber behind and step into a vibrant meadow with wildflowers so far as you possibly can see. Reaching the Healy Cross provides one other reward, a view of the alpine lake proper underneath the mountain peak. I can’t think about a greater view at a lunch break!

5. Johnston Canyon

  • Distance: 7.4 km return
  • Elevation acquire: 150 m
  • Problem: straightforward

In the event you like waterfalls and canyons, visiting Johnston Canyon is an actual deal with for the attention. It’s positioned alongside the Bow Valley Parkway in Banff Nationwide Park, and it’s a perfect cease to stretch your legs whenever you’re driving from Banff to Lake Louise/Moraine Lake.

Johnston Canyon, Banff National Park
Johnston Canyon, Banff Nationwide Park​

Johnston Canyon is a very talked-about hike with a giant parking zone, washrooms, restaurant and rustic cabins.

The primary kilometre is a paved path with nearly no elevation in any respect. You hike within the forest within the canyon surrounded by bustling waters and several other small waterfalls.

The primary one is Decrease Falls, with a shocking turquoise pool beneath. The falls are proper at your fingertips for those who cross the bridge and proceed by means of a brief rock tunnel. I like to recommend visiting early within the day to keep away from strains to the tunnel.

Farther up one other 2.7 km, the path is constant barely uphill to Upper Falls. You need to see fewer crowds at Higher Falls, however you possibly can proceed to Ink Pots for those who’d like to depart behind nearly all guests.

It’s a few 6 km path to 5 blue-green swimming pools, always effervescent chilly mineral springs. Whichever possibility you select, this hike is to not be missed for those who go to Banff Nationwide Park.

6. Floe Lake

  • Distance: 22.2 km
  • Elevation acquire: 1,000 m
  • Problem: troublesome

Floe Lake is hardly on anybody’s radar, possibly as a result of it’s in Kootenay National Park, a much less visited place than close by neighbour Banff.

Floe Lake, Kootenay National Park
Floe Lake, Kootenay Nationwide Park

Although Floe Lake is a day hike, there’s a backcountry campground for those who’d like to remain in a single day. In the event you like climbing with nobody round to benefit from the tranquillity, Floe Lake is a superb place to begin.

The trailhead is positioned alongside the Banff-Windermere Freeway in Kootenay Nationwide Park. You begin by crossing the Kootenay River with its mesmerizing turquoise color.

After a brief stroll by means of the bushes, the path continues regularly uphill with a number of switchbacks. It’s flat many of the approach and steepens on the switchbacks solely.

Eight kilometers into the hike, the path steepens considerably. The switchbacks appear countless, however whenever you count on them to final eternally, that’s precisely when it flattens. You see the huge rock wall earlier than you possibly can see Floe Lake proper beneath.

It’s a really peaceable place with a rocky shore the place you possibly can sit for hours. Autumn brings out good tree colors, and summer time provides the warmth and possibility for a chilly dip.

7. Iceline Path

  • Distance: 18.3 km loop
  • Elevation acquire: 793 m
  • Problem: troublesome

Iceline Path is probably the most scenic and numerous hike I’ve tried within the Canadian Rockies. You see huge waterfalls, numerous glaciers, emerald lakes, and loads of wildlife.

Iceline Trail, Yoho National Park

The trailhead begins at Takakkaw Falls in Yoho Nationwide Park, the twond largest falls in Canada. You see the waterfalls proper originally, and a good greater shock is simply forward of you.

While you go the Whiskey Jack Hostel, the path goes steeply uphill by means of switchbacks within the timber. You climb above the treeline and acquire about 500 meters. That is the toughest a part of the hike. Any longer, put together to be in awe.

The Takakkaw Falls seem proper in entrance of you from a unique perspective, and as a bonus, you additionally get to see the huge glacier above feeding the falls.

The path continues on a rocky path with probably the most spectacular views – glaciers in your left and Takakkaw Falls far proper.  

A complete change of surroundings occurs as you go the glaciers and step right into a lush inexperienced forest with a number of emerald lakes.

After about 4 km on the Celeste Lake Path, you attain Little Yoho Valley, the place the path flattens till the tip. Nevertheless it’s removed from getting uninteresting as there are a number of waterfalls earlier than you end the loop and attain Takakkaw Falls.

8. Lake O’Hara

  • Distance: 3 – 9 km
  • Elevation acquire: 0 – 300 m
  • Problem: straightforward to troublesome

Lake O’Hara space in Yoho Nationwide Park is probably the most pristine and delightful place I’ve seen within the Canadian Rockies. There’s no overcrowding as a result of solely a restricted variety of individuals can go to annually.

Lake O’Hara, Yoho National Park
Lake O’Hara, Yoho Nationwide Park

The highway to Lake O’Hara is closed to all visitors, and you may solely get in by a shuttle bus (reservations open in April annually, and it's important to be fast to safe a spot, you possibly can book online here).

There are many hikes you are able to do for those who select to camp in a single day. For day-trippers, I extremely advocate the Opabin Plateau. It’s nearly 6 km lengthy with solely 250 m elevation acquire.

The spotlight is climbing to the cliff with a chicken’s eye view of Mary Lake and Lake O’Hara subsequent to one another and towering mountain peaks throughout.

In the event you’re a powerful hiker on a day journey to Lake O’Hara, make sure that to go to Lake McArthur as nicely. The 8 km path by means of McArthur Cross results in a one-of-a-kind deep blue lake, fairly an uncommon color for the Canadian Rockies.

9. Valley of the 5 Lakes

  • Distance: 5.5 km loop
  • Elevation acquire: 100 m
  • Problem: straightforward

Valley of the 5 Lakes is a family-friendly hike accessible for all ranges.

Valley of the Five Lakes, Jasper National Park
Valley of the 5 Lakes, Jasper Nationwide Park

There aren't any steep uphills, rocks or sketchy sections, only a good dust path round 5 astounding emerald lakes and possibly a moose hiding within the timber. It’s additionally an awesome hike when it’s raining; the inexperienced colors are simply as fairly.

The trailhead is positioned simply 10 km south of Jasper city in Jasper Nationwide Park. You begin climbing by means of a small forest and into a stunning open meadow crammed with wildflowers throughout summer time. After a few kilometre, you attain the primary and largest lake.

Nevertheless it’s the third lake that's stealing the present right here. The shore has a unique hue of inexperienced than the center and adjustments color based mostly on the sunrays. It’s probably the most spectacular sight to expertise the altering colors firsthand.

The well-known purple chairs are on the far finish of the lake, that are normally positioned on the most stunning viewpoints within the nationwide parks.

The next two lakes additionally supply benches to relaxation or have a pleasant picnic by the lake. In the event you go to within the morning earlier than the crowds arrive, you've gotten a greater likelihood of wildlife viewing.  

10. Wilcox Cross

  • Distance: 8 km return
  • Elevation acquire: 425 m
  • Problem: reasonable

You bump into numerous breathtaking viewpoints, waterfalls, lakes, and hikes when travelling from Banff to Jasper Nationwide Park on the Icefields Parkway. Wilcox Cross is simply after the Banff-Jasper border positioned in Jasper Nationwide Park.

Wilcox Pass Hike, Jasper National Park
Wilcox Cross Hike, Jasper Nationwide Park

What I like probably the most about Wilcox Cross is the distinctive alpine atmosphere the place you possibly can sit on a meadow with solely bighorn sheep round and benefit from the view of the Athabasca Glacier throughout the valley.

The path doesn’t end on the similar spot the place it begins, and also you would want to rearrange a shuttle with pals. However there’s one other approach.

You may hike 4 km in and return the identical approach. You continue to get to see probably the most incredible glacier view and sit in purple chairs whereas watching the bighorn sheep. As a bonus, there’s a campground proper on the trailhead.

5 ideas for climbing within the Canadian Rockies

  • At all times carry a bear spray inside arm’s attain (not in a backpack) and learn to use it. Within the Canadian Rockies, you’re in bear nation. Make noise whereas climbing, so that you don’t shock any bears. Parks Canada has an awesome resource page for learning.
  • Carry a water bottle with a filter, so that you don’t want to hold plenty of water for those who’re passing a creek, river, waterfall, or lake (I exploit a Lifestraw bottle). As you possibly can see from this information, there’s loads of alternatives to refill.
  • Examine the path report earlier than heading out. Some trails is likely to be quickly closed as a consequence of bear sightings or avalanche hazard. Parks Canada is probably the most dependable supply for climbing in nationwide parks and Alberta Parks for climbing in provincial parks.
  • Tenting could be very common and reasonably priced, and each space described on this information has campgrounds close by. You may keep in a tent, or an RV, trailer or campervan, which is the most well-liked possibility as a consequence of occasional wildlife sightings in campgrounds.
  • There aren't any charges to enter any of those trailheads, however it's worthwhile to buy a day by day Park Cross or yearly Discovery Pass for visiting any nationwide park. For climbing in Kananaskis, you might be required to purchase a Kananaskis Conservation Pass.

Last Ideas

In the event you're quick on time, I like to recommend the Iceline Path in Yoho Nationwide Park and Sulphur Mountain in Banff Nationwide Park and also you hit all three – waterfalls, lakes, and a mountain peak!
Which one would you select first? Do you want waterfalls, admire alpine lakes or summit mountain peaks? Joyful Mountain climbing.

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The publish 10 Best Hikes in The Canadian Rockies appeared first on Goats On The Road.

Support author of this article and visit his post, originally published HERE

This post is originally published at Goats On The Road blog and it's not owned by this site! Respect content authors!