helen-lake-banff

Hiking Banff National Park – Helen Lake

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.

Grotto-Canyon

Hiking the Bow Valley – Grotto Canyon

While not the most scenic hike, there is definitely a fun factor to this half-day outing – creek crossings, rock-hopping, pictographs, waterfalls and rock climbers are all appealing. Natural turnaround points are at the waterfall (approx. 2 km return) and at the hoodoos (approx. 6 km return). The steep canyon walls and creek can be a cool respite on hot summer days. In the winter, ice cleats should be considered essential for this trail.

Arethusa-Cirque

Hiking Kananaskis Country – Arethusa Cirque

Up near Highwood Pass in Kananaskis Country, Arethusa Cirque is an easy hike with a couple of options to make it shorter or longer as your fitness or schedule permits. It’s a good choice for wildflower season, since the trail crosses an expansive meadow that erupts into bloom at just the right time of year. It’s also a decent option for larch season. We’ve hiked here 8 or 9 times and are still discovering new aspects of the landscape, which includes small waterfalls and a rock field with plenty of fossils.

First Hike of 2010 – Arethusa Cirque

It’s hard to accept that it was July 22 before we finally made it out for our first hike of the 2010 season. It’s easy to make excuses: bad back, lousy weather, other commitments, holidays. But the reality is that when we took that first breath of clean mountain air, we realized how much we…