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. Summer is the best time to experience them as the snow will be gone and route finding will be easier.
Little Beehive hike in Banff National Park
The Little Beehive hike is a classic in the Lake Louise area, with wonderful views of Lake Louise, Mirror Lake and Lake Agnes. If you’re feeling energetic you can stop at the Lake Agnes Teahouse on your way down (or up). It’s approximately 9 km return with a height gain of 520 m.
Read: The Lake Agnes – Little Beehive Hike near Lake Louise
Fairview Mountain hike
If you’re strong and fit, the Fairview Mountain trail overlooking Lake Louise is a great choice for wonderful views of the Victoria Glacier and surrounding peaks.
With approximately 1,000 m 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.
Read: A Hike to the Summit of Fairview Mountain
Sunshine Meadows hike
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 combo gondola – chairlift package 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.
Reservations are recommended.
Read: A Hike into Sunshine Meadows, Banff National Park
Rawson Lake hike
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 m height gain, 7.8 km return). It’s possible to hike above the lake to Sarrail Ridge for even better views.
Grassi Lakes – a Canmore Classic
Grassi Lakes, in the Canmore area, is another great option. Short and sweet (4 km return, height gain 300 m) 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.
Note that the trail is closed until 2023 while the parking lot is repaired.
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.
This is a guest post by Jacqueline Louie, a Calgary-based freelance writer.
Other Alberta blogs related to hiking you might enjoy
- 5 of the Best Hikes in the Crowsnest Pass Area
- A Guide to the Best Places for Larch Viewing in Alberta
- 9 Canmore Hikes that Offer Great Views
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