emerlad lake
Emerald Lake - Yoho National Park
Giorgio Zanetti
Ottawa-Canada


starstar starstarstarstarstar
Hiking
in the
 Magnificent 
Canadian Rockies


*** Summer 2012 ***

HOME PAGE

*** INTRODUCTION ***

The following is a description of a self-organized 14 days hiking tour in the Canadian Rockies in the summer of 2012.

TOWNS WHERE WE STAYED AT
BANFF   FIELD

SUMMER 2012 - PHOTO ALBUMS


DRUMHELLER'S BADLANDS   YOHO NATIONAL PARK   BANFF 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 - 2010

TRIP DESCRIPTION AND PHOTO ALBUMS - 2011  |||  TRIP DESCRIPTION AND PHOTO ALBUMS - 2013


USEFUL LINKS


*** ITINERARY ***

  • 10 nights in Banff
  • 3 nights in Field
  • 1 night in Calgary

*** DISTANCES ***
  • 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 hiked 9 out of the 14 days, for a total of 87 Km.
  * Total elevation gained was equal to 3,390 m.
  * Total hiking time was 29 hours.


TRAILS WE HIKED
  • BOW FALLS
  • PARKER RIDGE
  • C LEVEL CIRQUE
  • SUNSHINE MEADOWS
  • TUNNEL MOUNTAIN
  • LAKE McARTHUR
  • SADDLEBACK PASS
  • ICELINE (SUMMIT OF)
  • TAYLOR LAKE/O'BRIAN LAKE
  • WHERE

    DESCRIPTION

    JULY 21-30, 2012

    BANFF, AB (elevation 1,384 m. asl)

    BANFF NATIONAL PARK

    BANFF PARK's MAPS

    We stayed at: Arkle House in Banff
    (Judi MacDonald & Grafton Cole) Phone: c: 403-815-6633
    Fax: 403-278-6892

    LODGING

    B&B

    B&B   (BB Canada)

    This year, this part of the Rockies had a late spring, followed by a wet season; consequently most of the alpine flora was still in bloom and the fire hazard was kept to a low or moderate level.

    On Friday July 20, a day before our arrival, the Trans-Canada Highway was closed in both direction due to a mudslide just west of Banff. It was eventually cleared by 1:30 Saturday morning.
    The local newspaper [Banff Crag & Canyon; Wednesday, July 25, 2012] reported that traffic was backed up for hours. Nobody could get through the park gates unless you were a resident or had "confirmed hotel or campsite reservations".

    . TRAILS WE HIKED

    NAME: LEVEL-C CIRQUE
    TIME: hr 1:45' one way LENGTH: 3.9 Km. one way
    ELEVATION GAIN: 455 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 1,920 m.

    NOTES: The bug spray is a must for this trail. We encountered some hikers - with children! - without it and they were struggling.
    The climb is all through the forest; along the way there are old mine buildings and old fenced in shaft-vent holes.
    Not the most breathtaking cirque, but still a very interesting geological feature carved by an acient and - alas - vanished glacier.




    NAME: PARKER RIDGE
    TIME: hr 2 return LENGTH: 5.4 Km. return
    ELEVATION GAIN: 250 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,250 m.

    NOTES: We hiked this classic trail with our 3 grandchildren and their parents. We had lunch at the top overlooking the Saskatchewan Glacier. Great time was had by all.

    Temperatures:   a.m. 15 0C




    NAME: TUNNELL MOUNTAIN
    TIME: hr 55' one way LENGTH: 2.3 Km. one way
    ELEVATION GAIN: 300 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 1,690 m.

    NOTES: Again, hiked this trail with the grandchildren and family (-1). Great views of Banff, the western Bow valley and the Massive Range peaks.



    NAME: SADLLEBACK SUMMIT
    TIME: hr 2 one way LENGTH: 3.7 Km one way
    ELEVATION GAIN: 600 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,330 m.

    NOTES: This is a very steep trail. In my opinion, unless you intend to push up and go to the top of Fairview Mountain (add another 1.3 km on a faint trail; from here you will have a grand view of Mt Victoria, Mt. Temple and Lake Louise) the effort to reach the Saddleback summit is not very rewarding. The view from the "pass" is very limited in all directions.



    NAME: SUNSHINE MEADOWS
    TIME: hr 6:30' one way LENGTH: 16 km total
    ELEVATION GAIN: 105 m. / loss 80 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,330 m.

    NOTES: It was a great sunny day. We caught the first bus up @ 8 a.m. First we hiked the Twin Cairns/Meadows Park trail, including the Standish Viewpoint balcony, continuing to just passed the Monarch Viewpoint. This trail is very easy and practically level [excluding the climb to the Standish Viewpoint], with lots of wild flowers. We backtrack on the same trail to continue the exploration fo Grizzly Lake, Larix Lake returning via the Rock Isle Lake and down to the village to catch the first bus down [the bus ride takes about 30 minutes].
    Well worth a visit.

    *** For more information on how to visit the area go here >>>



    NAME: BOW FALLS
    TIME: hr 1.30' one way LENGTH: 3.6 one way [glacier viewpoint] or 4.7 to botttom of falls one way
    ELEVATION GAIN: 95 m. [stairs at the end of the trail; 200 m.] MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,055 m.

    NOTES: The trails follows the north shores of the lake and the gravelly flats of the tributary creek of Bow Lake. At times the trail was muddy.



    NAME: TAYLOR LAKE & O'BRIAN LAKE
    TIME: hr 2:15' one way tp Taylor lake
    from Taylor lake add 1 hr to O'Brian lake.
    LENGTH: 6.3 km one way to Taylor lake
    ELEVATION GAIN: 585 m. to Taylor lake MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,065 m.

    NOTES: This is a vert scenic lake, notwithstanding the rather uninspiring trail.

    Equally attractive is O'Brian Lake. The junction to O'Brian lake, just a few meters before reaching Taylor Lake, is not maintained by Parks Canada (a sign says as much at the beginning of the trail) and in fact we had to pass over 3 trees that had fallen accross the trail (for one of them, was easier to go around it due to its many branches impeding the way).
    After crossing the estuary of the lake, the trail gets rather muddy and soggy; actually there is no trail per se. For the next .5 km we followed what looked like a path here and there (someone had passed before us) in the direction of the lake (keeping the creek well to our right) and eventually arrived at the lake.



    TOWN LIST
    JULY 31 - August 3, 2012

    FIELD, BC (elevation 1,243 m. asl)

    situated in YOHO NATIONAL PARK

    We stayed at: BEAR'S DEN GUESTHOUSE

    A TRAVEL GUIDE TO FIELD

    FIELD ACCOMMODATION GUIDE

    BURGESS SHALE FOUNDATION

    MAP OF PARK

    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 National 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.

    You can reserve as early as exactly 3 months to the day you plan to visit, or later, but not before; expect to redial the number several times, for a long time. If you don't get through within the first hour or so, might as well hang up.

    The office is open from Monday to Friday. Consequentely, for weekend visits, I was told to phone on the following Monday.

    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). Often, but not always, 2 to 3 people get lucky.

    Visit the following link for details about bookings:
    LAKE O'HARA'S RESERVATIONS INFORMATION


    . TRAILS WE HIKED

    NAME: LAKE McARTHUR/MARY LAKE
    TIME: hr 2:30' return LENGTH: 7 Km. return
    ELEVATION GAIN: 310 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,345 m.

    NOTES: When we visited this lake for the last couple of years, we found it always frozen.
    This year it was completely free of ice and the water displayed its beautiful colours (when the sun was not hiding behind the clouds).

    The wheater forcast was not the best. Cloudy with a 60% of rain.

    Went up on the the @ 8:30 bus.

    At Schäffer Lake we took the preferred High Level Cutoff.

    At the lake, just the 2 of us (10:30 a.m.), which was great. As we were leaving 4 more people were arriving.
    Later, along the narrow upper trail, many more groups of hikers were going up.

    When we arrived at the Relais, it started to drizzle; eventually it turned into steady rain.

    This called for a hot choclate and the excellent carrot cake, sold at the Relais. The temperature at 2 p.m. was 7o C

    We took the 2:30 p.m. bus down.



    . TRAILS WE HIKED

    NAME: ICELINE SUMMIT
    TIME: hr 2:45' one way LENGTH: 6.4 Km. one way
    ELEVATION GAIN: 690 m. MAXIMUM ELEVATION: 2,210 m.

    NOTES: The forecast was predicting a sunny day with cloudy periods, with chance of showers in the afternoon.

    Started the ascent by 8:30 a.m.

    The temperature was 6o C.

    It became a rather busy trail.

    Great view over the Yoho Valley, Takakkaw Falls, etc.
    With due precaution, one can get very close to the toe of the glaciers.

    We had done the Iceline loop once before; this time we decided to go as far as the summit and backtrack the same way down. This section is the more interesting one.

    Just before the summit there is a huge boulder, in the form of a ship, where one can get rest in
    its shade. Nearby, a babbling stream cascading from the above fast shrinking glaciers.
    By the afternoon, on our way down, dark clouds moved in, but no precipitation.

    Today was the day that a bus got stuck on the second hairpin turn on the way to Takkaw Falls.
    It got stuck just after midday. After variou attempts by emergency personnell, a second much larger tow truck+crane was summoned and it was finally removed and the road was cleared at 7:30 p.m.

    Apparently it is not the first time that such accident has occurred here.

    TOWN LIST
    TOWNS WHERE WE STAYED AT
    BANFF FIELD

    SUMMER 2012 - PHOTO ALBUMS


    DRUMHELLER'S BADLANDS   YOHO NATIONAL PARK   BANFF 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. , Vancouver - 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 © 15 - August - 2011 Giorgio Zanetti

    LINKS CHECKED SEPTEMBER 2012