HIKING IN THE MAGNIFICENT CANADIAN ROCKIES and USA

- 2006 - 

JULY 15-20
Many Glaciers - Montana - USA
We stayed at: Swiftcurrent Motor Inn
* Lodgings in Glacier National Park
* Map of Many Glacier Valley

Description

Glacier National Park [Montana - USA] has a very high concentration of grizzly bears and black bears.
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 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.

LA Times article

:::...What to do if you encounter a bear [by Glacier National Park]

CARRY ON

Trails we Hiked While in Many Glaciers

July 15-20
  • TIME: 3 hrs up + 2 hrs and 40 mn down.
  • DISTANCE: 6.2 Km to glacier viewpoint (first section via boat; see note below).
  • ELEVATION: +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.
  • TIME: 40 minutes to falls.
  • DISTANCE: 1.6 Km to falls.
  • ELEVATION: +213 m !!!.
  • MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 1,676 m.
NOTES:
This is a short but very steep trail; the falls were very nice indeed.
  • TIME: 1.5 hr to falls.
  • DISTANCE: 5 Km from Sun Point parking lot to falls.
  • ELEVATION: 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.

JULY 23-26
GARDINER - MONTANA - USA

We stayed at: Headwaters of the Yellowstone
:::.. Lodging in Gardiner

Description

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.>br>

While there try out the "Lighthouse Restaurant"

:::... Hiking in Yellowstone

CARRY ON

Trails we Hiked While in Yellowstone

July 23-26
  • TIME: 2 hrs up and 1.5 hr down.
  • DISTANCE: 4.8 Km to the top.
  • ELEVATION: +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.

July 27-30
Waterton - AB
(elevation 1,243 m asl)
We stayed at: Shintagle Spring B&B
and at the: Bayshore Inn

CARRY ON

Trails we hiked While in Waterton

July 27-30
  • TIME: 2.5 hrs to lake + 1.5 hr around the lake.
  • DISTANCE: 5.4 Km. to lake + 4.6 Km. around the lake.
  • ELEVATION: +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.
  • 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.
  • DISTANCE: 15.6 Km to both lakes and back.
    From trail junction to Forum lake 2.2 Km.
  • ELEVATION: +110 m to Wall lake +200 m to Forum lake from trail junction.
  • MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,000 m at Forum lake.
NOTES:
The two lakes are situated in the Akamina / Kishinena Provincial Park in British Columbia.

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.
Each lake is set within a very impressive landscape of their own.

July 31-AUGUST 5
FIELD, BC

We stayed at: Yoho Guest House

Description

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. :::... Village of Field

CARRY ON

Trails we hiked While in Field

July 31-August 5
  • TIME: 1.5 hr to pass.
  • DISTANCE: 4.5 Km to pass.
  • ELEVATION: +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 50 C., it was probably a bit less with the windchill factor.
The view onto the Columbia Icefield across the valley is spectacular.
  • TIME: 1.75 hr to lookout.   5.5 hrs return to lookout and lake.
  • DISTANCE: 3.5 Km. to lookout + 1.6 Km. to Sherbrooke lake.
  • ELEVATION: +518 m.
  • 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.
The peaceful subalpine lakes offers a great view of Cathedral Mountain as a backdrop.
  • TIME: 2 hrs to lake.
  • DISTANCE: 6.3 Km to lake.
  • ELEVATION: +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.

From Lake Louise the trailhead parking lot is just over 17 Km. Prior getting to the parking lot there is a sign indicating the trailhead is 2 km ahead.
  • TIME: 2.75 hrs to lookout.
  • DISTANCE: 3.5 Km to lookout.
  • ELEVATION: +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.

AUGUST 6-11
BANFF, AB

We stayed at: Hidden Ridge Resort

Description

:::... Town of Banff

CARRY ON

Trails we hiked While in Banff

August 6-11
  • TIME: 2.5 hrs to lake.
  • DISTANCE: 7.4 Km. to lake.
  • ELEVATION: +747 m.
  • MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,150 m.
NOTES:
Bourgeau lake, with its rocks and boulders strewn shore, is set within a dramatic amphitheatre.
  • TIME: 2.5 hrs to Ink Pots.
  • DISTANCE: 5.9 Km to Ink Pots.
  • ELEVATION: +330 m in total and a loss of 140 m down 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.

Johnston Canyon & Ink Pots

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. Mac Kinnon, J. Pojar, Lone Pine Pub. Canada & USA - 1998
  3. Tour Book; AAA & CAA, AAA Pub. - 2001
  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
Page originally created September - 2006
New graphic April 2020
Giorgio Zanetti