The Canadian Rockies is the dream vacation spot for all outside lovers. Whether or not you want mountaineering, mountain biking, kayaking, actually any sport, the breathtaking mountains provide all of it.
As a result of mountaineering is so accessible, it’s straightforward to see why it’s the preferred outside exercise, irrespective of the health degree.
I’m going to indicate you the 10 greatest day hikes in 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 through the eight years I’ve been dwelling close to the Canadian Rockies. And I attempted my hardest to convey you the highest ten hikes once you go to.
Included in this listing are hikes of varied difficulties so everybody can discover their path.
Right here’s my listing of the 10 greatest hikes in the Canadian Rockies.
1. Galatea Lakes
- Distance: 18.7 km return
- Elevation achieve: 806 m
- Issue: average
Situated in Kananaskis Nation, this hike options three beautiful lakes and even a backcountry campground if you happen to’d like to remain in a single day.
The path leads via 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.
Whenever you see the Lilian Lake from above, you’re near reaching the Decrease Galatea Lake. Most hikers finish right here, however I extremely suggest persevering with to the Higher Galatea Lake, the place you may even have it simply to your self.
☞ See Additionally: 10 Best Mountain climbing Trails in Nova Scotia, Canada
2. Grassi Lakes
- Distance: Four km return
- Elevation achieve: 220 m
- Issue: straightforward
Grassi Lakes in Canmore should be one of the standard hikes in the Canadian Rockies. And for a very good motive! The trailhead is situated a brief drive from Canmore, a lesser-known neighbour of Banff.
You may even stroll in sandals because the path via the forest is vast and straightforward. Should you select the harder route, you cross a waterfall and stroll on some rock stairs.
The straightforward route is barely going uphill till you attain Decrease Grassi Lake. Should you proceed round, the Higher Grassi Lake is only a few 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.
Should you’re staying in Canmore, take a look at these 20 enjoyable outside issues to do in Canmore.
3. Sulphur Mountain
- Distance: 11 km return
- Elevation achieve: 700 m
- Issue: average
Should you go to Banff Nationwide Park, you virtually actually hear in regards to the gondola that may take you on prime of the Sulphur Mountain. However since you’re studying this information and like mountaineering, I’ve another choice for you.
You may park on the Higher Sizzling Springs to hike up the mountain. The path is slowly going uphill on many switchbacks via 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 greatest information is, you are able to do Sulphur Mountain Hike year-round.
4. Healy Cross
- Distance: 19.Four km return
- Elevation achieve: 650 m
- Issue: average
Healy Cross is essentially the most vibrant hike in Banff Nationwide Park if you happen to go to in summer season. This hike’s fundamental goal isn’t a lake or reaching a mountain prime, however quite mountaineering up the mountain cross via infinite vibrant meadows stuffed with wildflowers.
The hike begins simply outdoors of Banff city, at Sunshine Village ski resort. The vast filth path follows Healy Creek, crosses a number of wood bridges and provides plenty of beautiful views alongside the best way.
I rated this hike average solely due to the gap as a result of the path is simple. You may hardly even discover the gradual elevation achieve.
After about 7 km, you allow all of the bushes 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 below the mountain peak. I can’t think about a greater view at a lunch break!
5. Johnston Canyon
- Distance: 7.Four km return
- Elevation achieve: 150 m
- Issue: straightforward
Should you like waterfalls and canyons, visiting Johnston Canyon is an actual deal with for the attention. It’s situated alongside the Bow Valley Parkway in Banff Nationwide Park, and it’s a great cease to stretch your legs once you’re driving from Banff to Lake Louise/Moraine Lake.
Johnston Canyon is a very talked-about hike with a giant car parking zone, washrooms, restaurant and rustic cabins.
The first kilometre is a paved path with virtually no elevation in any respect. You hike in the forest in the canyon surrounded by bustling waters and several other small waterfalls.
The first one is Decrease Falls, with a surprising turquoise pool beneath. The falls are proper at your fingertips if you happen to cross the bridge and proceed via a brief rock tunnel. I like to recommend visiting early in the day to keep away from traces to the tunnel.
Farther up one other 2.7 km, the path is constant barely uphill to Higher Falls. You need to see fewer crowds at Higher Falls, however you possibly can proceed to Ink Pots if you happen to’d like to depart behind virtually all guests.
It’s a few 6 km path to 5 blue-green swimming pools, continually effervescent chilly mineral springs. Whichever possibility you select, this hike is to not be missed if you happen to go to Banff Nationwide Park.
6. Floe Lake
- Distance: 22.2 km
- Elevation achieve: 1,000 m
- Issue: troublesome
Floe Lake is hardly on anybody’s radar, possibly as a result of it’s in Kootenay Nationwide Park, a much less visited place than close by neighbour Banff.
Though Floe Lake is a day hike, there’s a backcountry campground if you happen to’d like to remain in a single day. Should you like mountaineering with nobody round to benefit from the tranquillity, Floe Lake is a superb place to start out.
The trailhead is situated 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 via the bushes, the path continues progressively 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 infinite, however once you anticipate 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 season provides the warmth and possibility for a chilly dip.
7. Iceline Path
- Distance: 18.Three km loop
- Elevation achieve: 793 m
- Issue: troublesome
Iceline Path is essentially the most scenic and numerous hike I’ve tried in the Canadian Rockies. You see huge waterfalls, numerous glaciers, emerald lakes, and loads of wildlife.
The trailhead begins at Takakkaw Falls in Yoho Nationwide Park, the twond largest falls in Canada. You see the waterfalls proper initially, and a good larger shock is simply forward of you.
Whenever you cross the Whiskey Jack Hostel, the path goes steeply uphill via switchbacks in the bushes. You climb above the treeline and achieve 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 special 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 essentially the most spectacular views – glaciers in your left and Takakkaw Falls far proper.
A complete change of surroundings occurs as you cross the glaciers and step right into a lush inexperienced forest with a number of emerald lakes.
After about Four km on the Celeste Lake Path, you attain Little Yoho Valley, the place the path flattens till the top. Nevertheless it’s removed from getting boring 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 achieve: 0 – 300 m
- Issue: straightforward to troublesome
Lake O’Hara space in Yoho Nationwide Park is essentially the most pristine and delightful place I’ve seen in the Canadian Rockies. There’s no overcrowding as a result of solely a restricted variety of folks can go to every year.
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 every year, and it’s important to be fast to safe a spot, you possibly can ebook on-line right here).
There are many hikes you are able to do if you happen to select to camp in a single day. For day-trippers, I extremely suggest the Opabin Plateau. It’s virtually 6 km lengthy with solely 250 m elevation achieve.
The spotlight is mountaineering to the cliff with a hen’s eye view of Mary Lake and Lake O’Hara subsequent to one another and towering mountain peaks throughout.
Should you’re a robust hiker on a day journey to Lake O’Hara, make sure that to go to Lake McArthur as properly. The Eight km path via 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 achieve: 100 m
- Issue: straightforward
Valley of the 5 Lakes is a family-friendly hike accessible for all ranges.
There aren’t any steep uphills, rocks or sketchy sections, only a good filth path round 5 astounding emerald lakes and possibly a moose hiding in the bushes. It’s additionally an awesome hike when it’s raining; the inexperienced colors are simply as fairly.
The trailhead is situated simply 10 km south of Jasper city in Jasper Nationwide Park. You begin mountaineering via a small forest and into a stunning open meadow stuffed with wildflowers throughout summer season. 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 special hue of inexperienced than the center and adjustments color based mostly on the sunrays. It’s essentially the most spectacular sight to expertise the altering colors firsthand.
The well-known crimson chairs are on the far finish of the lake, that are often positioned on the most lovely viewpoints in the nationwide parks.
The following two lakes additionally provide benches to relaxation or have a pleasant picnic by the lake. Should you go to in the morning earlier than the crowds arrive, you could have a greater probability of wildlife viewing.
10. Wilcox Cross
- Distance: Eight km return
- Elevation achieve: 425 m
- Issue: average
You encounter 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 situated in Jasper Nationwide Park.
What I like essentially the most about Wilcox Cross is the distinctive alpine setting 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 identical spot the place it begins, and also you would want to rearrange a shuttle with associates. However there’s one other approach.
You may hike Four km in and return the identical approach. You continue to get to see essentially the most implausible glacier view and sit in crimson chairs whereas watching the bighorn sheep. As a bonus, there’s a campground proper on the trailhead.
5 suggestions for mountaineering in 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 mountaineering, so that you don’t shock any bears. Parks Canada has an awesome useful resource web page for studying.
- Carry a water bottle with a filter, so that you don’t want to hold a number of water if you happen to’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 replenish.
- Test the path report earlier than heading out. Some trails may be quickly closed resulting from bear sightings or avalanche hazard. Parks Canada is essentially the most dependable supply for mountaineering in nationwide parks and Alberta Parks for mountaineering in provincial parks.
- Tenting may be very standard and reasonably priced, and each space described in this information has campgrounds close by. You may keep in a tent, or an RV, trailer or campervan, which is the preferred possibility resulting from occasional wildlife sightings in campgrounds.
- There aren’t any charges to enter any of those trailheads, however it is advisable buy a every day Park Cross or yearly Discovery Cross for visiting any nationwide park. For mountaineering in Kananaskis, you might be required to purchase a Kananaskis Conservation Cross.
Should you’re brief 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? Completely happy Mountain climbing.
Disclaimer:Goats On The Highway is an Amazon Affiliate and likewise an affiliate for another retailers. This implies we earn commissions if you happen to click on hyperlinks on our weblog and buy from these retailers.