What makes the summit of Mount Allan an attractive goal for day hikers? Wildflowers! There's an extended ridge walk with great views of the surrounding landscape. The Rock Garden at the 5.5 km mark is unlike anything we've seen in the Canadian Rockies. While it's steep, there's no vertigo-inducing exposure. Centennial Ridge to Mount Allan …
Cirque Peak via Helen Lake trail is a challenging day hike along the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park. It's not for everyone: there are a couple of scrambly bits, there is a bit of exposure to stree drop-offs and it's very steep. But for those with the experience and skills to summit the views of Bow Lake, Bow Glacier and Dolomite Peak are absolutely stunning. The summit is small and the hike is popular, so leave early to beat the crowds.
An out and back hike starting from the parking lot at Emerald Lake, the relatively steep trail to Hamilton Lake in Yoho National Park traverses a patch of Western Interior Cedar-Hemlock Rainforest, follows a stretch of Hamilton Creek to the base of a lovely, multi-stepped waterfall, then climbs through more typical forest, crossing a couple of avalanche slopes where wildflowers bloom in abundance, before finally reaching the brilliantly-turquoise Hamilton Lake. We opted to carry on past the lake, up a long talus slope to the base of Top Hat Peak. Looking down on Hamilton Lake brought back fond memories of hiking the nearby Lake O'Hara region of Yoho National Park.
A unique, horseshoe-shaped ridge walk in the Spray Valley, Tent Ridge includes some fairly technical sections and is not for those with any fear of heights/exposure. It's not an officially-sanctioned Alberta Parks' trail, so is not maintained. But it's popular and well-established. And while it took us three attempts to complete (and we don't plan on doing it again), there is satisfaction in crossing Tent Ridge off our list of "must do" hikes.
Floe Lake and Numa Pass are part of the multi-day backpacking route between Marble Canyon and Vermillion Crossing in Kootenay National Park: the Rockwall. Most itineraries describe it as a four to five day adventure, and recommend starting with the trail into Floe Lake. Since we're strictly day hikers, we ascended the trail to Floe Lake for lunch, continued to Numa Pass in the early afternoon and retraced our route arriving back at the parking lot a little before 6 pm. A long and rewarding day, the Floe Lake backcountry campground has got us thinking about giving backpacking a try.