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.
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 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.
An awesome wildflower season hike, the Helen Lake trail is also a good option for early fall. It offers great views of Crowfoot Glacier across the valley, has a relatively modest elevation gain of just under 600 meters from trailhead to lake shore, and includes a long stretch of trail with expansive views of Dolomite Peak and several unnamed ridges and peaks. 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.
After 20 years, we finally made a return visit to Bourgeau Lake. This time, we opted to hike beyond the popular Bourgeau Lake, pushing on to Harvey Pass and then to the summit of Mount Bourgeau. In my opinion, the unnamed tarn about 1.2 km beyond Bourgeau Lake is the scenic highlight of this route, with the views from Harvey Pass a close second. It was worth hiking all the way to the summit (once), but I'm not sure I'd do that again. This was the longest day hike we did in the Canadian Rockies in 2015, coming in at just under 25 km in just over 8 hours, with a total elevation gain of well over 1500 meters.