Giorgio Zanetti

Hiking
.......................... in the


Magnificent
Canadian Rockies
....


*** SUMMER 2006 ***


HOME

*** INTRODUCTION ***

The following is a description of 26 days self-organized hiking tour in the Canadian Rockies, including Glacier National Park (Montana - USA) and Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming - USA) that my wife Lidia and I undertook in the summer of 2006.

Please, Also Check The Following Trips In the Rockies

TRIP DESCRIPTION AND PHOTO ALBUMS - 2002  | | |   TRIP DESCRIPTION AND PHOTO ALBUMS - 2003

TRIP DESCRIPTION AND PHOTO ALBUMS - 2010   | | |   TRIP DESCRIPTION AND PHOTO ALBUMS - 2011

TRIP DESCRIPTION AND PHOTO ALBUMS - 2012   | | |   TRIP DESCRIPTION AND PHOTO ALBUMS - 2013

TOWNS WHERE WE STAYED AT
Many Glacier - USA Gardiner - USA Waterton Field Banff Calgary
**** 2006 PHOTO ALBUM ****

GLACIER YELLOWSTONE WATERTON YOHO - BANFF DRUMHELLER HEAD SMASHED-IN BUFFALO JUMP


USEFUL LINKS


*** CHRONOLOGICAL ITINERARY ***

CALGARY ARRIVAL - JULY 20th

  • 3 nights in Glacier National Park - Montana, USA
  • 4 nights Yellowstone National Park - Wyoming, USA
  • 4 nights in Waterton
  • 6 nights in Field
  • 6 nights in Banff
  • 2 nights in Calgary
CALGARY DEPARTURE - AUGUST 14th

*** DISTANCES ***
  • CALGARY - MANY GLACIER = 298 Km.
  • MANY GLACIER - YELLOWSTONE = 727 Km. (Gardiner, Montana)
  • YELLOWSTONE - WATERTON = 787 Km. (via Sweet Grass, Montana/Cardston, Alberta)
  • WATERTON - FIELD = 573 Km. (via the Crow Nest Pass and Golden)
  • FIELD - LAKE LOUISE = 27 Km. to the village (58 Km. to the lake)
  • FIELD - BANFF = 85 Km.
  • BANFF - CALGARY = 128 Km.
* We drove a total of 5,560 Km.
* We hiked for a total of approximately 124 Km.
* Total elevation gained was equal to 4,620 m.
TRAILS WE HIKED

IN USA

  • APIKUNI FALLS
  • MT. WASHBURN
  • ST. MARY FALLS
  • GRINNELL GLACIER
  • IN CANADA

  • WILCOX PASS
  • TAYLOR LAKE
  • BERTHA LAKE
  • IN CANADA

  • PAGET LOOKOUT
  • BOURGEAU LAKE
  • CASTLE LOOKOUT
  • WALL & FORUM LAKES

  • WHERE

    DESCRIPTION

    JULY 15 - 20

    MANY GLACIER
    MONTANA - USA

    We stayed at: SWIFTCURRENT MOTOR INN

    MAP OF GLACIER PARK

    GLACIER NATIONAL PARK - USA

    Glacier National Park [Montana - USA] has a very high concentration of grizzly bears [Ursus arctos horribilis] and black bears [Ursus americanus]. They are often seen in the high meadows on the slopes of the mountains surrounding the parking lot near Swifcurrent Inn. In fact, scanning the high slopes with binoculars or telescopes is a favourite pastime of numerous visitors, especially in the evenings. Bears, grizzlies in particular, can easily roam 30, 40 plus kilometers a day, so beware of the probability of bear presence while hiking. Let them know you are there, but please leave those bells at home!!! The Park Ranger explained that the bells are basically useless devices for warning off bears and very annoying to humans.

    On August 25, 2005 two hikers were attacked and injured [see article] by a sow with two cubs on the Grinnell Glacier trail.

    Always check with the Park Ranger office about possible trail closure due to bear activity.

    Bears don't like to be surprised!

    WHAT TO DO IF YOU ENCOUNTER A BEAR [by Glacier National Park]
    also
    BEARS AND PEOPLE - A GUIDE [by Parks Canada]



    . TRAILS WE HIKED


    NAME: GRINNELL GLACIER - GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MONTANA - USA
    TIME: 3 hrs. up - 2 hrs. and 40 mn. down LENGTH: 6.2 Km to glacier viewpoint (via boat; see note below)
    ELEVATION GAIN: 488 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,000 + m.

    NOTES: On the evening of our arrival we booked 2 spots on the next morning 8:30 boat.The boat takes hikers to the Grinnell Glacier trail across Swiftcurrent lake and lake Josephine. Taking the boat shortens the hike by about 2 kilometres and makes the surrounding peaks, as seen from the boat, even more spectacular. On this hike there was a Park Ranger interpreting the geology of the area. It made the hike much more interesting. The Ranger stopped once in a while to observe and describe the rock formation; we took a half hour for lunch; continued onto the moraines of the Grinnell glacier, with more explanations on the glacial processes and its historical retreat. The whole trip took about 7 hours. The Ranger suggested to bring a minimum of 2 litres of water each for the hike. Between my wife and I we had 5 litres. On the way down, with still 2 hrs to go, I had to refill the bottles with a filtered pump [today's temperature was 290 C].

    Along this trail we encountered 2 beautiful falls; one tumbles down along an escarpment before crossing along the trail; the other one falls right onto the trail from high above. On the way up the amount of water splashing from this one was light and pleasantly refreshing, but by the afternoon, on the way down, the amount of water falling down had increased quite considerably and got a good soaking; there is no room to manoeuvre out of the way; you will get wet both ways. Take precautions with your camera.

    GRINNELL GLACIER - WIKIPEDIA (interesting pictures comparing the glacier's recessions since 1938).

    GRINNELL GLACIER by the US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

    NAME: APIKUNI FALLS - GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MONTANA - USA
    TIME: 40 minutes to falls LENGTH: 1.6 Km. to falls
    ELEVATION GAIN: 213 m !!! MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 1,676 m.

    NOTES: This is a short but very steep trail; the falls were very nice indeed.


    NAME: St. MARY FALLS - GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MONTANA - USA
    TIME: 1.5 hr to falls LENGTH: 5 Km. from Sun Point parking lot to falls
    ELEVATION GAIN: Drops 76 m. to Baring falls then climbs again to eventually drop down to St. Mary's falls. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: N/A

    NOTES:Starting from the St. Mary's Falls pull out, a bit further west of Sun Point nature trail parking lot, the distance to the falls is a mere 1.2 Km. with a drop of 33 meters.
    We started from the Sun Point parking lot, but after almost 1 hr. hiking, well past the Baring falls, we encountered 2 hikers who advised us that they had spotted a sow with 2 cubs not far from the trail. We decided to turn back. St. Mary's falls are supposed to be very nice, but we would like to see many more... Why take a chance.

    TOWN LIST
    JULY 23 - 26

    GARDINER
    MONTANA - USA

    We stayed at: HEADWATER B&B
    just 5 km north of Yellowstone National Park

    While there try out the "Lighthouse Restaurant" a couple of km further north from the B&B. A real treat.

    THE YELLOWSTONE CALDERA

    YELLOWSTONE VOLCANO OBSERVATORY

    YELLOWSTONE PARK

    WIKIPEDIA - YELLOWSTONE PARK [National Park Service]

    HIKING IN THE PARK [National Park Service]

    YELLOWSTONE PARK HIKING TRAILS


    YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK - WYOMING - USA

    Yellowstone park is teeming with visitors just about everywhere you go, but if you stop and think that for the most part you are walking/driving in a caldera, makes you forget the people while observing and smelling the power of nature surrounding you.
    Yellowstone is a great place to observe wild animals; and yes they are wild and therefore very unpredictable; stay at a safe distance no matter how sleepy or calm they appear to be.


    . TRAILS WE HIKED


    NAME: Mt. WASHBURN - YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
    TIME: 2 hrs. up and 1.5 hr. down LENGTH: 4.8 Km. to the top
    ELEVATION GAIN: 424 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 3,122 m.

    NOTES: The Park Ranger advised us that the best trail to the top of Mt. Washburn was the one from Danraven pass [2697 m.]. In fact the lower meadows along this trail were in full regalia with an abundance of wild flowers. At the very top of the mountain there is a fire lookout building with the ground floor open to the public. The view is a spectacular 360 degrees over the Yellowstone park.

    TOWN LIST

    JULY 27 - 30

    WATERTON
    ALBERTA - CANADA

    We stayed at:
    SHINTANGLE SPRING B&B (3 nights)

    and at the
    BAYSHORE INN (1 night)

    WATERTON NATIONAL PARK

    LIST OF TRAILS IN WATERTON NATIONAL PARK

    LOTS OF INFO ABOUT THE PARK

    While in Waterton we took the opportunity to go and visit Head Smashed-In Buffalo Jump near Fort McLoed.

    . TRAILS WE HIKED

    NAME: BERTHA LAKE - WATERTON NATIONAL PARK
    TIME: 2.5 hrs to lake + 1.5 hr around the lake LENGTH: 5.4 Km. to lake + 4.6 Km. around the lake
    ELEVATION GAIN: 455 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 1,770 m.

    NOTES: Lovely high cirque setting. We did the tour around the lake in a counter-clockwise fashion. Well worth the extra effort and time. Lots of wildflowers in bloom. Temperature 28 0 C.

    NAME: WALL AND FORUM LAKES - AKAMINA / KISHINENA PROVINCIAL PARK, B.C.
    TIME: 1.5 to Wall lake + 1 hr. to Forum lake from trail junction.
    Total hiking time to both lakes and back was 5.5 hrs., lunch included.
    LENGTH: 15.6 Km. to both lakes and back.
    From trail junction to Forum lake 2.2 Km.
    ELEVATION GAIN: 110 m. to Wall lake + 200 m. to Forum lake from trail junction MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,000 m. at Forum lake

    NOTES: During the night a cold front passed through. Today a cool wind is blowing. Some drizzle on the way up. Hiked to Wall lake first and to Forum lake on the way down. There is a steep climb from the Forum falls. On the shore of Forum lake the temperature was 100 C. with a stiff breeze coming across the frigid and choppy water. Wall lake is a popular spot for grizzlies, but none were seen while there.

    Both lakes are set within a very impressive landscape.

    TOWN LIST
    JULY 31 - AUGUST 5

    FIELD
    BRITISH COLUMBIA - CANADA

    YOHO NATIONAL PARK

    We stayed at: MT. VAN HORNE GUESTHOUSE (2 nights)

    and
    YOHO GUES HTOUSE (4 nights)

    A TRAVEL GUIDE TO FIELD

    FIELD ACCOMMODATION GUIDE

    BURGESS SHALE FOUNDATION

    MAP OF PARK

    Yoho Park was named as such by Deville and it means "wonder, astonishment" in Cree Indian.

    The village of Field dates from 1884 when the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway reached this point in the Rockies. It was named after Cyrus W. Field, promoter of the Trans-Atlantic cable, who visited the area. The present site was surveyed in 1904 after the north side of the village was destroyed by an avalanche off Mt. Burgess.

    PLEASE NOTE


    AS OF 2006 ALL PASSES TO LAKE O'HARA CAN ONLY BE RESERVED BY PHONING THE PARK OFFICE IN FIELD STARTING AT 8:00. YOU CAN RESERVE THREE MONTHS TO THE DAY IN ADVANCE [BE PREPARED TO REDAIL THE PHONE NUMBER SEVERAL TIMES].

    RESERVATIONS INFORMATION

    . TRAILS WE HIKED

    NAME: WILCOX PASS - JASPER NATIONAL PARK
    TIME: 1.5 hr to pass LENGTH: 4.5 Km. to pass
    ELEVATION GAIN: 325 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,375 m.

    NOTES: From Field it takes a good 1.5 hrs drive to get the trailhead, just past the boundaries between Banff and Jasper parks. Once at the pass, the weather turned a bit nasty; cold and blustery wind with snow pellets. The temperature dropped to 5 0 C., it was probably a bit less with the windchill factor. The view onto the Columbia Icefield across the valley is spectacular.

    NAME: PAGET LOOKOUT AND SHERBROOKE LAKE - YOHO NATIONAL PARK
    TIME: 1.75 hr to lookout.   5.5 hrs return to lookout and lake. LENGTH: 3.5 Km. to lookout + 1.6 Km. to Sherbrooke lake.
    10.2 Km. return.
    ELEVATION GAIN: 518 m. to lookout MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,134 m.

    NOTES: During the night the temperature dropped to 20 C. Some drizzle on the way up. Great view of the Kicking Horse river valley and the peaks across from the lookout, such as Cathedral mountain.

    NAME: TAYLOR LAKE - BANFF NATIONAL PARK
    TIME: 2 hrs to lake LENGTH: 6.3 Km. to lake
    ELEVATION GAIN: 580 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,070 m.

    NOTES: Taylor lake, with its turqoise-colored water, is beatifully set in a spectacular high cirque.

    Taylor lake is situated on the west side of the Trans Canada Highway (#1) between Lake Louise and Banff/Windermere Highway (#93) intersection. There are no signs indicating on how to get to Taylor lake trailhead parking lot. From Banff there is a NO LEFT TURN sign for the Taylor lake area parking lot [no special left turn lane designated for it; it is dangerous to attempt to turn left because of the speeding traffic coming from behind]. It is also tricky if you come from Lake Louise because there is no sign posted warning you of the upcoming trailhead and it could be is easily missed. The trailhead parking lot is just over 17 Km. from Lake Louise.

    NAME: CASTLE LOOKOUT - BANFF NATIONAL PARK
    TIME: 2.75 hrs. to lookout LENGTH: 3.5 Km. to lookout
    ELEVATION GAIN: 350 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 1800 m.

    NOTES: The steep hike takes you just below the towering Castle Mountain with an expansive view of Bow valley from the lookout.

    TOWN LIST

    AUGUST 6 -11

    BANFF
    ALBERTA - CANADA

    We stayed at:
    HIDDEN RIDGE RESORT (6 nights)

    BANFF NATIONAL PARK

    . TRAILS WE HIKED

    NAME: BOURGEAU LAKE - BANFF NATIONAL PARK
    TIME: 2.5 hrs to lake LENGTH: 7.4 Km. to lake
    ELEVATION GAIN: 747 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,150 m.

    NOTES: Bourgeau lake, with its rocks and boulders strewn shore, is set within a dramatic amphitheatre.

    NAME: JOHNSTON CANYON - BANFF NATIONAL PARK
    TIME: 2.5 hrs to Ink Pots LENGTH: 5.9 Km. to Ink Pots
    ELEVATION GAIN: 330 m. in total with a loss of 110 m. to the ink pots. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 1,631 m.

    NOTES: Very popular trail especially on week-ends. Impressive views into the depths of the canyon.

    TOWN LIST

    AUGUST 12- 13

    CALGARY
    ALBERTA - CANADA

    We stayed at:
    BEST WESTERN PORT O'CALL HOTEL (2 nights)

    NOTES: Visited the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, 120 Km. east of Calgary. A fascinating museum, set in the strange landscape of the Badlands.

    TOWN LIST
    TOWNS WHERE WE STAYED AT
    Many Glacier - USA Gardiner - USA Waterton Field Banff Calgary
    **** 2006 PHOTO ALBUM ****

    GLACIER YELLOWSTONE WATERTON YOHO - BANFF DRUMHELLER HEAD SMASHED-IN BUFFALO JUMP



    Bibliography

    1) The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide; Brian Patton and Bart Robinson, Summerthought Publication, Banff, Canada - Second edition, 1978
    2) Plants of the Rocky Mountains; L. Kershaw, A. McKinnon, J. Pojar, Lone Pine Pub. Canada & USA - 1998
    3) Tour Book; AAA & CAA, AAA Pub. - 2006
    4) Maps by Gem Trek Publishing; Cochrane, Alberta, Canada
    5) Classic Hikes in the Canadian Rockies; Graeme Pole, Altitude Publishing Canada Ltd. , Vancouver - 1999
    6) The Wonder of Yoho; Don Beers, Rocky Mountain Books, Calgary - 1994

    DISCLAIMER
    Hiking can be potentially hazardous. Hikers must be prepared for any changes in weather, trail conditions and wild animals behaviour, and must keep in mind that safety must be their first priority and must use sound judgement accordingly. The data and descriptions contained in this web page must be used for general information purpose, and therefore I disclaim any liability for mishaps of any kind to anyone using the information found herein.

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    Copyright © - September - 2006 Giorgio Zanetti

    LINKS CHECKED SEPTEMBER 2012