Giorgio Zanetti
Ottawa-Canada

starstar starstarstarstarstar
Hiking
in the
Magnificent
Canadian Rockies

* Summer 2010 *


HOME PAGE

*** INTRODUCTION ***

The following is a description of a self-organized 18 days hiking tour in the Canadian Rockies that my wife Lidia and I undertook in the summer of 2010.

We arrived at Calgary airport on July 5th at 10:30 a.m. and drove south towards Waterton Lakes National Park immediately thereafter. Waterton is a beautiful park with beautiful trails.

We departed Calgary for home on July 22nd.

TOWNS WHERE WE STAYED AT
WATERTON  (Just north of) FIELD JASPER

SUMMER 2010 - PHOTO ALBUMS


WATERTON NATIONAL PARK   YOHO NATIONAL PARK   JASPER NATIONAL PARK


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 - 2006 |||  TRIP DESCRIPTION AND PHOTO ALBUMS - 2011

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


USEFUL LINKS


*** ITINERARY ***

START - JULY 5th

  • 5 nights in Waterton
  • 6 nights in Field
  • 5 nights in Jasper
  • 1 night in Calgary
END - JULY 22nd

*** DISTANCES ***
  • CALGARY - WATERTON = 300 Km.
  • WATERTON - FIELD = 570 Km. (via Crowsnest Pass and Golden)
  • FIELD - LAKE LOUISE = 27 Km. to the village (58 Km. to the lake)
  • FIELD - JASPER = 260 Km.
  • FIELD - BANFF = 85 Km.
  • JASPER - CALGARY = 413 Km.
  • BANFF - CALGARY = 128 Km.

* We drove just over 3,900 Km.
* We hiked 12 out of the 18 days, for a total of 99.8 Km.
* Total elevation gained was equal to 4,105 m.


TRAILS WE HIKED
  • BEAR'S HUMP
  • OLD FORT LOOP
  • CRANDELL LAKE
  • BLAKISTON FALLS
  • LINEHAM CREEK/FALLS
  • WATERTON LAKESHORE (TO GOAT HAUNT -USA )
  • HAMILTON LAKE
  • LAKE McARTHUR
  • SULPHUR SKYLINE
  • WHISTLERS SUMMIT
  • MARY SCHÄFFER LOOP
  • OPABIN PLATEAU CIRCUIT
  • YOHO AND BURGESS PASSES
  • WHERE

    DESCRIPTION

    JULY 5-9

    WATERTON (elevation 1,279 m. asl)

    WATERTON NATIONAL PARK

    We stayed at: DUNGARVAN CREEK B&B
    Phone: 403 - 627-4764 (Eileen and Bruce Russell)

    LODGING

    B&B

    WATERTON PARK MAP

    After leaving Calgary via the #2 highway we followed the much more scenic highway #22 via highway #533 just out of Nanton. Nanton has a very interesting little aviation museum: "NANTON LANCASTER SOCIETY AIR MUSEUM"

    Waterton Lakes National Park adjoins National Glacier National Park (USA) to the south and together they form Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.

    For thousands of years this was primarily the territory of the Aboriginal tribes of the Kootnai and Blackfoot. Thomas Blakiston was the first European on record to explore the area back in 1858 and he named the lakes for Charles Waterton, an XVIII century English naturalist.

    At the time of our visit, some trails were not reccomended by Parks Canada due to lingering snow accumulation on sections of some trails (e.g., Goat Lake and Carthew-Alderson trails).

    . TRAILS WE HIKED

    NAME: BEAR'S HUMP
    TIME: hr 1:30' return LENGTH: 2.4 Km. return
    ELEVATION GAIN: 240 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 1,520 m.

    NOTES: At the time of our visit this trail had a bear warning.

    This popular trail includes 18 switchbacks and it is described as one of the "... steepest short trail in the Rockies" [Canadian Rockies Trail Guide; Brian Patton & Bart Robinson; 8th ed.]
    The view from the unobstructed rocky top is spectacular.

    NAME: CRANDELL LAKE
    TIME: hr 1:15' return LENGTH: 1.6 Km. return (from Akamina Parkway)
    ELEVATION GAIN: 75 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: n/a

    NOTES: The trail from the Akamina Parkway is shorter and less steep than the approach from Red Rock Canyon.

    NAME: BLAKISTON FALLS
    TIME: hr 1:45' return (total) LENGTH: 2 Km. to falls (+8 Km.) return
    ELEVATION GAIN: 15 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: n/a

    NOTES: It takes about 20 minutes to the falls. At the time of our visit the wild flowers were in full display along the trail, so after visiting the falls, we decided to continue along the easy Blakiston Creek Trail for about 4 more kilometers [hiked 10 Km. total, return].
    On our drive back to town, we saw two grizzlies not too far from the road: one sow with two cubs and further on another grizzly.
    NAME: LINEHAM CREEK/FALLS
    TIME: hr 3:15' return LENGTH: 8.4 Km. return
    ELEVATION GAIN: 350 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 1,950 m.

    NOTES: The 100-meter falls originate from the Lineham lakes situated above the sheer cliff. The Lineham Creek trail ends at about 400 to 500 meters before reaching the base of the falls.

    NAME: WATERTON LAKESHORE (TO GOAT HAUNT - USA)
    TIME: hr 7 one way (usually 3.30' hrs) LENGTH: 13 Km. one way
    ELEVATION GAIN: 100 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: n/a

    NOTES: We enlisted to join the International Peace Park Hike co-guided by an American Park Ranger and a Canadian Park Warden. Due to several stops, during which the guides touched on various subjects - both historical and natural history of the area, it took about 7 hrs. to reach the end of the trail: Goat Haunt (since it is situated in the USA a passport is needed - some nationality restrictions apply). The group then took the pre-paid ferry back to Waterton.

    TOWN LIST
    JULY 10-15 FIELD (elevation 1,243 m. asl)

    situated in YOHO NATIONAL PARK

    We stayed at: YOHO GUESTHOUSE

    A TRAVEL GUIDE TO FIELD

    FIELD ACCOMMODATION GUIDE

    BURGESS SHALE FOUNDATION

    MAP OF PARK

    We drove to Field via the Crowsnest Pass and via Golden where you will find a large grocery store to stock up (now there is a Walmart in Pincher Creek). There is a small convenience store with very limited supplies in Field and a larger one in Lake Louise Village, but prices are quite high.

    The village of Field dates from 1884 when the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway reached this point. 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.

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

    I had phoned to book 2 daily passes 3 months to the day prior to our intended visit to Lake O'Hara. In our case I had to call back twice: one for the Sunday trip (I had to reserve 3 months to the Monday; my call on the Friday prior was too early...!) and then again on Wednesday.

    You can reserve as early as 3 months to the day you plan to visit, or later, but not before; expect to redail the number several times.

    Sometimes peoples get lucky by showing up at the bus terminal fairly early in the morning (7 a.m.?) and hope for a no show and take their place (first bus leaves at 8:30 in the mornig).

    LAKE O'HARA'S RESERVATIONS INFORMATION

    . TRAILS WE HIKED

    NAME: LAKE McARTHUR/MARY LAKE
    TIME: hr 1:45' return LENGTH: 7 Km. circuit
    ELEVATION GAIN: 310 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,345 m.

    NOTES: On the trail to Lake McArthur by 9:10.

    At Schaffer Lake we took the High Level Cutoff.

    The lake was still frozen, with very tiny sections of open water mainly near the shores.

    On our way back, always via the High Level Cutoff, we heard a loud noise accross the valley just before McArthur Pass, and observed dust flying and a large boulder rolling down the slopes of Walter Feuz Peak.

    At Schaffer Lake we took the Big Larches trail (excellent panorama of Lake O'Hara at the Devils Rock Pile) via Mary Lake and were back at the Relais by 13:45, in time for the 14:30 bus.
    The temperature at Lake O'Hara rose from 60 C in the morning to a high of 150 C for the day.

    NAME: OPABIN PLATEAU CIRCUIT
    TIME: hr 4 round trip LENGTH: 7.3 km. round trip (via Opabin Prospect)
    ELEVATION GAIN: 250 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,285 m.

    NOTES: This is a beautiful hike.
    We did the hike counterclockwise, following the west Opabin Plateau trail. It includes great vistas (spectacular from the Opabin Prospect). Running creeks and little lakes scattered everywhere. Before reaching Opabin Lake, a section of the trail was covered in deep but compacted snow. Once near the lake, the silhouettes of a couple of hikers could be seen against the sky at the Opabin Pass (just over the Opabin Glacier).

    Our intention was to reach All Souls' Prospect, but the trail leading up to it was deemed not safe due to numerous heavy snow patches still hanging above it, with possibilities of avalanches.

    NAME: HAMILTON LAKE
    TIME: hr 5 return LENGTH: 11 Km. return
    ELEVATION GAIN: 850 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,150 m.

    NOTES: The steep trail will rewards the hiker with a remarkable cirque where the lake is set.
    At the time of our visit, the already unsettled weather turned nasty with thunderstoms all around, cutting short our stay at the top and unleashing rainshowers and hail on our way down.

    NAME: EMERALD LAKE - YOHO PASS - BURGESS PASS TRIANGLE
    TIME: hr 7 LENGTH: 21 Km.
    ELEVATION GAIN: 880 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,190 m.

    NOTES: While driving to the trailhead, we saw a black bear crossing the road and stopping to forage nearby the road.
    Some do this circuit counter clockwise to get the steep-rooty 6 kilometers of switchbacks between Emerald Lake and Burgess Pass out of the way first thing in the morning (862 m. gain in 5.5 Km.)

    We followed it in the clockwise manner as described by the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide (... one of the best day hike loop in the Canadian Rockies). As you gain altitude, after the wide alluvial fan, you will be rewarded by a spectacular view of the President Range, Emerald Glacier and its stunning water falls.

    The trail passes adjacent to the famous and " ...CLOSED and RESTRICTED ..." areas of the Burgess Shale Fossils beds.

    We spotted a flock of mountain goats browsing high above the trail.

    TOWN LIST
    JULY 16 - 20

    JASPER (elevation 1,000 m. asl)
    JASPER NATIONAL PARK

    We stayed at: BECKERS CHALETS

    JASPER HOME ACCOMMODATION ASSOCIATION

    JASPER B&B

    MAP OF JASPER


    During our visit, the road to Edith Cavell was closed till July 29 for repair.

    While in Jasper we saw numerous wild animals: grizzly sow with two cubs, one of which had black fur; an elk with huge racks; mountain sheep; a dozen of elks with babies crossing the Miettes river near the bridge on 93A; a coyote; two foxes.

    . TRAILS WE HIKED

    NAME: SULPHUR SKYLINE
    TIME: hr 3:30' return LENGTH: 10 Km return
    ELEVATION GAIN: 700 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,070 m.

    NOTES: By the time we got back down, we counted well over 60 hikers using this trail.
    Amazing 360-degree panorama from the top.

    NAME: OLD FORT CIRCUIT
    TIME: hr 1:30' LENGTH: 3.8 Km.
    ELEVATION GAIN: 135 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 1,165 m.

    NOTES: Great 360-degree view from the Old Fort Point, which has nothing to do with a fort, past or present.

    NAME: MARY SHÄFFER LOOP
    TIME: hr 1:15' LENGTH: 3.2 km.
    ELEVATION GAIN: negligible MAXIMUM ELEVATION: n/a

    NOTES: n/a

    NAME: WHISTLERS SUMMIT
    TIME: hr 1:30' return LENGTH: 1.1 km. (one way from upper tram terminal)
    ELEVATION GAIN: 200 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,470 m.

    NOTES: Very popular excursion! Grand 360-degree panorama.

    TOWN LIST
    JULY 21-22

    CALGARY

    On the 21 we drove back to Calgary with numerous and some long stops along the way.

    At Morant's curve, we chatted with a few other people for just over 2 hours, wating for a train to go by; we were told that this was a very unusual long wait.

    Flew back home on the 22.

    TOWN LIST
    TOWNS WHERE WE STAYED AT
    WATERTON FIELD JASPER

    SUMMER 2010 - PHOTO ALBUMS


    WATERTON NATIONAL PARK YOHO NATIONAL PARK JASPER NATIONAL PARK



    Bibliography

    1) The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide; Brian Patton and Bart Robinson, Summerthought Publication, Banff, Canada - Eight edition, 2007
    2) Plants of the Rocky Mountains; L. Kershaw, A. Mac Kinnon, J. Pojar, Lone Pine Pub. Canada & USA - 1998
    3 4) Maps by Gem Trek Publishing; Cochrane, Alberta, Canada
    4 ) Classic Hikes in the Canadian Rockies; Graeme Pole, Altitude Publishing Canada Ltd. , Vanccouver - 1999
    5 ) 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.

    E-MAIL ADDRESS = giorgio [dash] lidia [dot] zanetti [at] sympatico [dot] ca
    Copyright © 27 - August - 2010 Giorgio Zanetti

    LINKS CHECKED SEPTEMBER 2012