HIKING IN THE MAGNIFICENT CANADIAN ROCKIES

- 2010 - 

JULY 5-9
WATERTON, AB
We stayed at: Dungarvan Creek B&B (Cottage)
* Lodgings in Waterton Lakes National Park

Description

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).

CARRY ON

Trails we Hiked While in Waterton

July 5-9
  • TIME: 1 hr 30' return.
  • DISTANCE: 2.4 Km return.
  • ELEVATION: +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.
  • TIME: 1 hr 15' return.
  • DISTANCE: 1.6 Km return (from Akamina Parkway).
  • ELEVATION: +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.
  • TIME: 1 hr 45' return.
  • DISTANCE: 2 Km to falls (+8 Km) return.
  • ELEVATION: 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.
  • TIME: 3 hrs 15' return.
  • DISTANCE: 8.4 Km return.
  • ELEVATION: +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.
  • TIME: 7 hrs one way (usually 3:30' hrs).
  • DISTANCE: 13 Km one way.
  • ELEVATION: +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 boat back to Waterton.
Opabin Plateau

July 10-15

Description

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.

:::... A TRAVEL GUIDE TO FIELD

:::... Reservation Day Bus Only to Lake O'Hara (as of 2020)

Trails we Hiked While in Field

July 10-15
  • TIME: 1 hr 45' circuit (1 hr to Mc Arthur Lake).
  • DISTANCE: 7 Km circuit.
  • ELEVATION: +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 (spent almost 1 hr at McArthur Lake; lunch etc.), 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.
  • TIME: 4 hrs round trip.
  • DISTANCE: 7.3 km round trip (via Opabin Prospect).
  • ELEVATION: +250 m.
  • MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,285 m.
NOTES:
This is a beautiful hike.
We did the hike counter clockwise, 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 tackling upward the snow-covered 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.
  • TIME: 5 hrs return.
  • DISTANCE: 11 Km return.
  • ELEVATION: +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 back to the parking lot.
  • TIME: 7 hrs loop.
  • DISTANCE: 21 Km loop.
  • ELEVATION: +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 hikers complete 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 with its many 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.
Opabin Plateau

July 16-20

JASPER, BC

We stayed at: Beckers Chalet
:::.. Where to stay in Jasper

Description

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.

:::... Jasper National Park

Trails we hiked While in Jasper

July 16-20
  • TIME: 3 hrs 30' return.
  • DISTANCE: 10 Km return.
  • ELEVATION: +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-degrees panorama from the top.
  • TIME: 1 hr 30' loop.
  • DISTANCE: 3.8 Km loop
    From trail junction to Forum lake 2.2 Km..
  • ELEVATION: +135 m.
  • MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 1,165 m.
NOTES:
Great 360-degree view from the Old Fort Point, which has nothing to do with any fort, past or present.
  • TIME: 1 hr 15' loop.
  • DISTANCE: 3.2 km loop.
  • ELEVATION: negligible.
  • MAXIMUM ELEVATION: n/a
NOTES:
:::... Mary Shãffer Loop
  • TIME: 1 hr 30' return.
  • DISTANCE: 1.1 km (one way from upper tram terminal).
  • ELEVATION: 200 m.
  • MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,470 m.
NOTES:
Very popular excursion! Plan for up to 1 hour or more (it depends at what time of the day) to board the gondola after buying the tickets.

Grand 360-degree panorama at the top.

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 - 2010
New graphic April 2020
Giorgio Zanetti