For many people the hiking season ends when the snow starts to fly. But it…
If you’re looking for the classic Mount Assiniboine view then hiking the Nublet is essential. It’s an easy day hike from either the Lake Magog Campground or from Mount Assiniboine Lodge. Strong hikers can continue on to Nub Peak for the ultimate view in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park.
Hiking the Nublet happened for us in the second week of September after a big early season snowstorm came through leaving the area looking very wintry. Although it wasn’t much fun getting into the park the day before – due to horrendous driving out of Calgary, the payoff – incredible beauty of the snow covered peaks along with deep blue skies.
Hiking the Nublet – starting point
We started our hike right in front of Mount Assiniboine Lodge. If you’re camping at Lake Magog, it’s very easy to find the signed trail to Nub Peak. The distance between the lodge and the campsite is 1.6 km.
Within minutes of starting out on the trail, we ran into the bird pictured below. It seemed totally unafraid of us – and was probably far more interested in just trying to stay warm. The temperature first thing in the morning was -16°C – in September.
From this intersection, it was a steady climb to the ridge below the Nublet. The views as you’ll see in the photos left me with my mouth open in awe.
Easy route-finding up the Nublet
Once we got to the ridge, we had to break trail with snow knee-deep in places. But even with the trail snow covered, it was easy to find a route up to the top of the Nublet.
Our original plan had been to climb to the summit of Nub Peak. To get there, you must traverse an airy ridge from the Nublet which is really more of a scramble, but under snowy conditions I wasn’t feeling “it”.
Chances of falling were slim but still it wasn’t in me to continue. Plus I wasn’t in the mood that day to hike for another three hours so after climbing about a third of the way along the ridge, I talked John into turning around. I don’t do that often, but after a wildly busy summer, I think I was just a little burnt out.
The return hike was a snap. I think we were back at the signed intersection in less than an hour – and in the two-three hours since we’d started hiking, the temperature had climbed enough that the snow started to melt.
I feel like I have unfinished business in this park. I would like to return and explore the area in more depth – and summit Nub Peak.
Getting to the Lake Magog Campsite & Mount Assiniboine Lodge
You have three options for getting to the Lake Magog Campsite – and Mount Assiniboine Lodge. Two are difficult and one is easy but expensive.
Easy but expensive
Fly in via helicopter. It’s about a 10 minute flight from the Mount Shark Trailhead. From what I was told, you have to be staying at either the Naiset Huts or Mount Assiniboine Lodge to get on a flight. It hasn’t always been this way, so I don’t know if I just got bad information.
Hike via Citadel Pass
Hike in starting at the Sunshine Trailhead. It’s accessed via a ride on the gondola from the Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort, located 18 km west of Banff. From the resort it’s a 29 km one way hike – that many people split up by spending a night at Og Lake.
Hike in from the Mount Shark Trailhead
Hike in from the Mount Shark Trailhead, located 38 km south of Canmore via the Smith-Dorrien Trail. Much of the hiking is tedious but it’s a shorter route – around 25 km one way. It too can be broken up by staying at the Bryant Creek Shelter. Once you get to Marvel Lake it gets more interesting.
In my opinion, the ultimate trip would involve hiking in from Sunshine Village, spending a few nights at the Lake Magog Campsite and then hiking out over Wonder Pass to the Mount Shark Trailhead. But you’d need to arrange a car shuttle or pick-up to do that.
A shuttle service so you can do a loop hike
Since I first penned this post there has been a Mt. Assiniboine shuttle service added between the Mount Shark trailhead and Canmore, Banff and the Sunshine Village parking lot. You’ll find more info here. Reservations are required.
Further reading on things to do in the Mount Assiniboine area
- The Marvel Lake – Wonder Pass Hike
- A Stay at Assiniboine Lodge in British Columbia
- A Hike into Sunshine Meadows, Banff National Park
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