150 WAYS TO ENJOY
CANADA’S MOUNTAIN PARKS
Compiled by Billie Norman
We asked our readers what their favourite ways were to enjoy the beauty of Canada’s Mountain Parks. We received over 500 submissions with answers of all kinds, from summit picnic spots to the best frozen waterfalls to climb. Looking for your next adventure? Scan this list for ideas that come from passionate, outdoorsy people who get out there the most.
ON THE TRAILS
There is nothing like standing on a lofty Rockies summit with an ocean of peaks beneath you and a cool breeze taming the harsh stare of the sun high above. It is this feeling of awe that truly is something else. And it isn’t just about bagging peaks; sometimes a hike around a pristine lake surrounded by towering pine trees is all you need. Here are some of your most cherished hikes in Canada’s Mountain Parks, and don’t forget to pack like a pro on your next day hike.
1/ Lake O’Hara – Check out our Trip Report
2/ Pocaterra Ridge
3/ Big Beehive Trail
4/ Devil’s Thumb
5/ Highline Trail
6/ Lake Agnes Teahouse Trail
7/ Helen Lake
8/ Akamina Ridge
9/ Mt. Assiniboine
10/ Mt. Temple
11/ Berg Lake – Check out our Trip Report!
12/ Iceline Circuit – Check out our Trip Report!
13/ Eiffel Peak
14/ Larch Valley – Check out our 8 Must-Do Larch Hikes in the Canadian Rockies!
15/ Tunnel Mountain
16/ Sunset Pass Trail
17/ Castle Mountain
18/ Cascade Mountain
19/ Rockwall Trail – Check out our Trip Report!
20/ Brazeau Loop Trail
21/ Paradise Valley to Sentinel Pass
22/ Ha Ling Peak
23/ Sulphur Mountain
24/ Red Rock Canyon in Waterton
25/ The Hole in The Wall
26/ Mount Lady Macdonald
27/ Hosmer Mountain – Check out these 6 Day Hikes in Fernie!
28/ Skyline Trail
29/ Mount Yamnuska
30/ Ribbon Creek
31/ Egypt Lake – Check out our Trip Report!
32/ Harvey Pass
33/ Mount Rundle
34/ Tonquin Valley
35/ Skoki region – Check out our Trip Report!
36/ Minnewanka Trail
37/ Anywhere in Kananaskis Country
ON THE ROCK (AND ICE)
Be it hanging from the heights of a multi-pitch climb or beginning a scramble (safely) in the early hours of the morning, ascending a mountain on your own hands and feet (and harness and rope, in some cases) often feels like the most intrinsic way to enjoy the mountains. From horizontal cracks to hair-raising overhangs and frozen waterfall ice pitches, there’s a climb for everyone in Canada’s Mountain Parks, and many of them offer pretty spectacular views. To make your next ascent a breeze, Abby Cooper has rounded up some of the best climbing hacks.
38/ Bugaboo Spire
39/ Back of the Lake (Lake Louise)
40/ Lower Black Band (Tunnel Mountain)
41/ East End of Mt Rundle
42/ Heart Creek
43/ Grassi Lakes
44/ Tower of Babel (Moraine Lake)
45/ Supreme Walls at Echo Canyon in Canmore
46/ Mt. Edith Cavell
47/ Richardson, Ptarmigan, Pika peaks (Skoki)
48/ St. Nicholas Peak
49/ Mt. Saint Piran
50/ Cirque Peak
51/ Maligne Canyon
52/ Grotto Canyon
53/ Johnston Canyon
ON THE WATER
The powerful water that runs through Canada’s Mountain Parks is a force to be reckoned with. While wild white water rushes through meandering rivers, pristine glacial lakes stand still, meaning there are a ton of options to explore Canada via water.
55/ Canoeing on Lake Minnewanka
56/ Canoeing the lakes of the Pine Pass
57/ Kayaking on Horseshoe Lake
58/ Rafting on the Bow River
59/ Rafting on the Kicking Horse River
60/ Taking a boat ride on the pristine water of Maligne Lake in Jasper
61/ Swimming at Johnson Lake
62/ Swimming at Dog Beach in Jasper
63/ SUP on Two Jack Lake
64/ SUP’ing downwind, surfing a small wave all the way from the Upper Lake and down across the Lower Lake in Waterton
65/ Fly fishing on the Bow River and waiting for a Bull Trout to tug on your line
66/ Soothing the muscles in the Lussier Natural Hot Springs
ON THE SNOW
Barely touched, free from the crowds and ultimately a paradise – that’s how you describe the Canadian Mountain Parks in the winter. Whether you’re stepping through 10cm of the fluffy stuff in your snowshoes, touring into the backcountry for a day of fresh lines, mellow trees and steep couloirs or doing laps at your favourite ski resort, nothing beats untouched powder in the Rockies.
67/ Paint Pots in Kootenay National Park
68/ Chester Lake
69/ Maligne Lake
70/ Wilcox Pass
71/ Cascade Amphitheatre
72/ Johnston Canyon
73/ Lake O’Hara
74/ Sawback Trail
75/ Medicine Lake
76/ Johnson Lake (and making a stop at Billy Carver’s “hermit hut”)
77/ Lake Louise Ski Resort
78/ Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
79/ Sunshine Village Ski & Snowboard Resort
80/ Mount Norquay
81/ Ski Marmot Basin
82/ Fernie Alpine Resort
83/ Revelstoke Mountain Resort
84/ Canmore Nordic Center
85/ Rogers Pass – Join the Revive Rogers movement!
86/ Wapta Icefield
87/ Burstall Pass
88/ Helen Shoulder
89/ Skoki Lodge – Here are our 3 Ways To Do Winter at Skoki Lodge
90/ Terrain around Elizabeth Parker Hut
91/ Bow Summit
92/ Victoria Glacier
93/ Mosquito Creek
94/ Hidden Lake
95/ Lower Lake in Kananaskis
96/ The Great Divide
ON TWO WHEELS
Cycling is one of the best ways to explore new places, and Canada’s Mountain Parks are no exception. With the wind in your hair, an empty trail ahead of you and nothing but nature, there is no better time to put the pedal to the metal.
97/ Legacy Trail
98/ Coastline Mountain Bike Trail in Banff
99/ High Rockies Trail in Kananaskis
100/ Mount Burke
101/ All Tunnel Mountain trails!
102/ West Bragg Trails
103/ Goat Creek/Spray River Trail
104/ Minnewanka Mountain Bike Trail
105/ Stoney Squaw Trail
106/ Vermilion Lakes Road and the Bow Valley Parkway
WHERE TO CAMP AND STAY
There is something about getting to a campsite, setting up tent and sitting around a campfire, or curling up by the fire at a mountain lodge. Whether you’re putting on your backpack and heading out to a lodge, getting some family time with the kids in the outdoors or honing your outdoor cooking skills, here are your top places to camp in Canada’s Mountain Parks.
107/ Yoho backcountry
108/ On the shore of Abraham Lake
109/ Along the Rockwall Trail
110/ Takkakkaw Falls
111/ Laughing Falls
112/ Campsites in Waterton Lakes National Park
113/ Berg Lake – Check out our Trip Report!
114/ Hector Lake
115/ Rampart Creek
116/ Two Jack Lake
117/ Whistlers in Jasper
118/ Lake Minnewanka
119/ Skoki area campgrounds – Check out our Trip Report!
120/ Mosquito Creek
121/ Egypt Lakes – Check out our Trip Report!
122/ Lake O’Hara – Check out our Trip Report!
EATING AND DRINKING
Exploring all that Canada’s Mountain Parks have to offer takes a lot of energy. Sometimes you have to sit back, relax and re-energize with some food and drink. Here are your favourite ways to do that…
127/ Eating a packed lunch gazing over unspoiled terrain
128/ Eating dinner on the nub at Mt. Assiniboine
129/ Over the campfire – Elevate your backcountry cooking
130/ Enjoying a cup of tea and a slice of pie at Lake Agnes Tea House
131/ Eating lunch on Cirque Peak overlooking the beautiful blue Bow Lake
132/ A cold pint at Banff Ave. Brewing Co.
133/ Brunch at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
134/ Eating at Baker Creek in Lake Louise after a cycle along the Bow Valley Parkway
Everything doesn’t always fit into one simple category, especially when it comes to the mountains. Here are some different ways to discover and explore Canada’s Mountain Parks that we didn’t want to leave out.
135/ Driving to Lake Minnewanka in the early hours of the morning to see the northern lights.
136/ Driving along the Icefields Parkway.
137/ Photographing the beauty of the parks mountains, water and night sky (check out Paul Zizka’s Resources for Photographing the Canadian Rockies!)
138/ Alpine starts, headlamp ascents and shoulder season objectives.
139/ Watching sunrises and sunsets over the mountains.
140/ Seeing wildlife in the parks.
141/ Checking out the ice sculptures at Lake Louise during Ice Magic.
142/ Just breathing in fresh mountain air and connecting with nature.
143/ When a group of random strangers are all connected by their love for the outdoors and share stories or advice on trails and experiences.
144/ Trail running. It provides such a different experience and perspective than hiking. The thrill of dodging tree roots and rocks, anticipating each step, each breath, each movement.
145/ Yoga at Mount Norquay with the view of Banff.
146/ Birdwatching in the spring and fall during migration.
147/ Going to inspiring films and attending talks at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival.
148/ Golfing at Fairmont Banff Springs on the Stanley Thompson 18 midweek.
149/ Seeing bison in Waterton, and now Banff too.
150/ The Waterton Wildlife Festival.
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A NOTE FROM CROWFOOT MEDIA: You, the reader, are responsible for your own safety and gathering the information you require to tackle these hikes and trips. Please adventure safely and use these suggestions as just that: suggestions.
Billie Norman fell in love with Canada at the age of seven and writing at the age of 21. After studying History & Politics at Loughborough University and enjoying a couple of winter seasons in the Rockies, it felt right to merge her two passions together. She started a travel guide website called Voyage Collective to inspire others to get out there and explore.