The Helen Lake trail is an awesome wildflower season hike. With a relatively modest elevation gain of just under 600 meters from trailhead to lake shore, a long stretch of trail also offers expansive views of Dolomite Peak and several unnamed ridges, peaks and three glaciers. Upon reaching the scenic highlight that is Helen Lake, there are a few options to extend the day, including hiking to the Cirque Peak or a nice ridge walk above the lake.
This is a big map, packed with tons of content: charts, timelines, planning and wildlife viewing tips, 80 sights and attractions and more than 100 hikes. The main attraction is the beautiful, shaded relief map of Banff, Yoho & Kootenay National Parks, along with Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park and a few bits of Kananaskis Country, all at a scale of 1:250,000. There are at least three reasons to buy this map: It's a great resource if you're planning a trip to the Canadian Rockies. It makes a great souvenir. It offers ideas to foster your exploration and appreciation of the Canadian Rockies.
ILLUMINATIONS: human/nature was conceived for people like me! Billed as a participative art experience incorporating history and nature, I expected a mash-up of art and nature featuring tons of lights and projected images, triggered by walking or touching something while enjoying the great outdoors in Banff National Park. While most of those elements were part of the experience, for me, the participative aspect fell short. Our group focused primarily on doing what needed to be done to move on to the next way station and there wasn't much discussion or sharing of perspectives. I do really like the overall concept of a short-run, multi-media, site relevant art installation celebrating Canada's parks quite appealing and hope for they'll be another opportunity to experience art in nature before Canada 200 rolls around.
Despite more than 20 years of hiking experience, we occasionally blow our trip planning. So while we thoroughly enjoyed the varied landscape and fantastic scenery just beyond Bow Hut, we didn't even know to hike up The Onion for an overhead view of Iceberg Lake. That's a good reason to hike this trail again - soon!
Popular hiking trails in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks are expected to be busier than ever in 2017, thanks to free national parks entry in celebration of Canada's 150th. Thanks to careful planning and trail selection, we're aiming for maximum enjoyment while exploring the Canadian Rocky Mountains this summer. Read on to take advantage of our top strategies and to get the inside scoop on our favourite hiking trails.