When you’re visiting the Alberta Rockies, there’s nothing quite like going for a hike to get up close and personal with nature. Here are five hikes offering some of the best views in the Alberta Rockies.
This is a classic hike in the Lake Louise area, with wonderful views of lakes Louise, Mirror and Agnes. If you’re feeling energetic you can stop at Lake Agnes and the teahouse on your way down (or up). Approximately nine kms return, height gain 520 metres.
If you’re strong and fit, the Mount Fairview trail overlooking Lake Louise is a great choice for wonderful views of the Victoria Glacier and surrounding peaks. With approximately 1,000 metres in elevation gain, you’ll need to be well prepared for this long, rugged hike with good hiking boots, plenty of water and snacks, and perhaps a hiking pole, to help spare your knees on the way down. Stay on the trail – no short cutting.
The flower-filled alpine meadows above Sunshine Village offer spectacular hiking at 2,220 metres above sea level, with lakes, waterfalls, and dramatic mountain views. There’s a shuttle bus that will take you all the way to the start of these gentle hiking trails, described by the Lonely Planet as one of the top hikes in Canada.
You can also reach Sunshine Village on the gondola, Friday through Sunday, until September 5. The gondola runs 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and you don’t need a reservation.
(The shuttle bus will run at all other times, reservations recommended).
This is a gem of a hike in Alberta’s Kananaskis Country in the Upper Kananaskis Lake area. Rawson Lake is exquisite, with sheer cliffs rising far above its emerald waters. This hike offers lots of variety in the terrain you walk through to reach the lake (320 metres height gain, 7.8 km return).
Grassi Lakes, in the Canmore area, is another great option. Short and sweet (four kms return, height gain 300 metres) this is a very popular trail leading to two emerald-turquoise hued lakes. Formerly called Twin Lakes, Grassi Lakes were renamed to honor legendary trail builder and mountain guide Lawrence Grassi, a longtime Canmore resident.
Grassi Lakes features two trails, one marked ‘difficult’ and the other ‘easy.’ (The ‘difficult’ trail has a steeper bit near the top, and more variety in what you see along the way). You can do these trails as a loop (go up the ‘difficult trail’ and down the wide and gentle ‘easy’ trail – or simply return the same way you came.
Grassi Lakes are a beautiful place for a picnic, or simply to enjoy the peacefulness of the lakes and mountains. It’s also fun to watch the rock climbers doing their thing on the cliffs above the lakes.
The Alberta Rockies await you – it’s all out there, yours to discover.
“There’s just lots of opportunity to get outdoors,” says Jill Sawyer, regional communications officer with Alberta Parks. “There are so many hikes for people of all different hiking abilities.”
For more information, please visit Alberta Parks.
Please be aware that a bear warning has been issued for all of Kananaskis this year. You can read about it here.
This is a guest post by Jacqueline Louie, a Calgary-based freelance writer.
Other Alberta blogs related to hiking you might enjoy:
- 5 Stunning Hikes You’ll Want to do along the Icefields Parkway
- 3 of the Best Hikes in the Crowsnest Pass Area
- A Complete guide to the Best Places For Larch Viewing in Alberta