Top 10 Hikes in the Canadian Rockies

Top 10 Hikes in the Canadian Rockies

 

A ‘ top 10 Hikes in the Canadian Rockies ’  list is not a new idea, I read hundreds of them before visiting the rockies desperately attempting to plan and plot the best trails trying to insure we wouldn’t miss out on a single breathtaking view. I read blogs by those who spent barely a week in the area and by others who had grown up hiking the region as kids ….and I wrote them all down. Just so you know, this wasn’t a small feat, I think my list exceeded 60.

 

And so finally after 3 months of our ’ultimate Canadian road trip’ we arrived into the enormous clutches of the Canadian Rockies and would not be split for a month. Trails ascended and descended virtually every valley, others would trail off into a thick coniferous forest and to our luck many were vacant from other hikers. Each national park we visited had dozens of trails leading to either a lookout, an illusive peak, a grand plateau, an ancient glacier or aquamarine lake, or all of the above. It was incredible. Everyday we would wake up and set out afresh with a day bag or sometimes our tent, there was a freedom we hadn’t experienced before.

 

We haven’t done it all, I’m the first to tell you that but we did reach some places that honestly made our hearts beat faster, ours jaw stop chattering (which was rare in late September) and our photo drive look far more impressive…

 

So here we go in no particular order, here are our

Top 10 Hikes in the Canadian Rockies

 

 

Floe Lake, Top 10 Hikes in the Canadian Rockies

1. Floe Lake, Kootenay National Park

Difficulty: 4/5

Hours it took us: 6.5 hours round trip

Length: 21km

Height Gain: 700m

Favourite part: Golden larches set against a rich blue and striking slate grey rocky escapement which etched Floe lake in our memories.

 

 

 

Opabin plateau, Lake O’hara - Top 10 Hikes in the Canadian Rockies

2. Opabin plateau, Lake O’hara, Yoho National Park

Difficulty: 3/5

Hours it took us: 3 hours to walk up to Lake Ohara from car park and then 45minutes to Opabin Plateau

Length: (from the car park) it’s 11km to Lake O’hara and then 1.8km to Opabin Plateau. (25.6km return) Note: you can catch a bus up the first 11km if you pre book early enough.

Height Gain: 750m height gain from car park

Favourite part: After a 3 hour hike along a ‘fire road’ we emerged in an alpine haven of glittering iridescent lakes surrounded by cliffs. The larches had turned gold with the first hint of winter and the views from the top of Opabin Plateau showcased the most glorious view of region. A place so unspoilt and so exquisite that Lake O’hara tops our bucket list.

 

 

Wilcox Pass, Icefields Parkway - Top 10 Hikes in the Canadian Rockies

3. Wilcox Pass, Icefields Parkway

Difficulty: 2/5

Hours it took us: ~2.5 hours

Length: 8km return

Height Gain: 340m

Favourite Part: Easily our favourite part on this hike was the perspective when you are on top of the pass. You genuinely feel like a pin prick amongst the enormous mountains which seem to encase you. Keep a lookout for long-horn sheep too.

 

 

Berg Lake, Top 10 Hikes in the Canadian Rockies

4. Berg Lake, Mount Robson Provincial Park

Difficulty: 5/5 (you have to carry in your own gear + food for the days you are in there)

Hours it took us: 3 days

Length: 21km from the car park to campsite then there are treks further on from their. (42km return)

Height Gain: 800m height gain to campsite

Favourite part: Unzipping your tent to overlook Berg lake and it’s glacier doesn’t get any better!

 

 

Iceline Trail, Top 10 Hikes in the Canadian Rockies

5. Iceline Trail, Yoho National Park

Difficulty: 4/5

Hours it took us: 7.5 hours

Length: 23km round trip

Height Gain: 850m

Favourite part: The diversity of scenery on the hike was extremely impressive. Waterfalls, glaciers and turquoise glacial lakes, alpine forests, craggy moonscapes and dramatic perspectives. WOW!

 

 

 

Diana Lake, Kootenay National Park- Top 10 Hikes in the Canadian Rockies’

6. Diana Lake, Kootenay National Park

Difficulty: 3/5

Hours it took us: 6 hours

Length: 17km return

Height Gain: 700m

Favourite part: Its remoteness, even getting to the trail head was an adventure. Sitting by the glorious Diana Lake and taking it all in was also special.

 

 

Cavell Meadows, Top 10 Hikes in the Canadian Rockies

7. Cavell Meadows, Jasper National Park

Difficulty: 2/5

Hours it took us: 2 hours

Length: 8.5km

Height Gain: 500m (there are so many amazing views before you reach the top, if you want to keep it shorter you can!)

Favourite part: the constant Avalanche’s, the colour of lake Edith Cavell, the flowers and the critters we found in the rocks along the way. Keep a look out for Pika’s, marmot’s and ground squirrels!

 

 

Tea house trail, Top 10 Hikes in the Canadian Rockies

8. Tea house trail, Lake Louise, Banff National Park

Difficulty: 2/5

Hours it took us: 45min

Length: 7km return

Height Gain: 400m

Favourite part: The Christmas-sy feel, the coziness and the high clique’ factor of a teahouse amidst the woods above Lake Louise. It was snowing when we went and it was utterly perfect.

 

 

Bald hills, Maligne Lake, Top 10 Hikes in the Canadian Rockies

9. Bald hills, Maligne Lake, Jasper National Park

Difficulty: 3/5

Hours it took us: 4.5 hours

Length: 10.4km return

Height Gain: 500m

Favourite part: The astonishing view over Maligne Lake. The panorama looks like a watercolour painting, we took up our lunch and just sat in awe as we cooled down ready for the return journey.

 

 

Sulphur skyline, Top 10 Hikes in the Canadian Rockies

10. Sulphur skyline, Jasper National Park

Difficulty: 3/5

Hours it took us: 4.5 hours

Length: 8km return

Height Gain: 700m

Favourite part: If you enjoy being the king of the castle then this is your hike. When you eventually reach the top you get a grand view over the entire cluster of mountains within Jasper National Park.

 

 

And just because you made it all the way to the bottom, here’s one more to add to the collection of best Hikes in the Canadian Rockies …

 

Boulder trail, Morraine Lake, Top 10 Hikes in the Canadian Rockies

11. Boulder trail, Morraine Lake, Banff National Park

Difficulty: 0.5/5 (Too easy!)

Hours it took us: 5 minutes

Length: 200m

Height Gain: 30m

Favourite part: Unbelievably this quick hike offers the very best vista of Morraine Lake, Lake Louise’s prettier cousin. It doesn’t get any better!

 

Return to ‘Ultimate Canadian Road Trip‘ for more ideas

 


 

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Top 10 Hikes in the Canadian Rockies, Ultimate Canadian Road Trip

Written by

Prue Sinclair is a twenty-eight year old Aussie who for the past seven years has been exploring the furthermost reaches of the World. Living anywhere but her homeland, she now resides somewhere in the UK where she writes about the adventures of her Ultimate British Road Trip. Her message is simple: You can get anywhere on any budget, you just need to think outside the box. You can trust she’s finding her way to somewhere lesser-known and writing a ‘How To’ guide.

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