Chester Lake is a great shoulder season hike, can be done on snowshoes in winter, and has a lake for skipping stones, dipping toes or watching fish rise. It's pretty easy, with less than 400 meters elevation gain. And there are a few options to extend your hike past the lake: a loop around the lake, the Elephant Rocks, or continuing up to Three Lakes Valley.
Despite the mist, rain, sleet and snow pellets, it was definitely worth hiking at Lake O'Hara during golden larch season and we hope to do it again (in better weather) some time over the next few years. On the advice of Parks Canada staff, we covered about 9 km, hiking up the Lake Oesa trail, across the Yukness Ledges and then - after a bit of time exploring the Opabin Plateau - down East Opabin trail.
A challenging hike of more than 20 km, the bench above Rockbound Lake provides stunning views of emerald green Tower Lake, navy blue Rockbound Lake and the sheer walls of the "back side" of Castle Mountain. Larches around the lake turn golden in September, wildflowers and mushrooms offer botanical interest along the otherwise boring front section. And since this is not a highly recommended trail, you may just go most of the day without encountering anybody else!
The shortest and steepest of Parks Canada's three guided hikes in the Burgess Shale fossil beds, Mount Stephen is a trilobite lover's dream! And the views are terrific, too.
Highline Trail is a hard-packed trail with multiple route options. Well-used by fat-bike riders, mountain bikers and trail runners, it's also a an easy-to-reach conditioning trail well-suited for winter hiking. Mostly in the woods, there are a few peek-a-boo views into the Bow Valley, including the flood-hardened Cougar Creek.