Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Alberta with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Hiked to all 4 lakes this morning, great views. 3rd lake is definitely the best but all four are worth the effort- they’re all fairly close, we were reading reviews before about how some people weren’t making it to the last lake(s), but compared to the rest of the hike they’re just around the corner from each other - the fourth is deceiving but it’s very close to the third.

BUT the bugs were disgusting and aggressive. We got bit by horseflies multiple times, there were thick clouds of flies and mosquitos and it seemed like they were EVERYWHERE. We couldn’t stop for very long on the way up even though it’s much needed on the steep climb in the heat. Constantly swatting away bugs for the whole hike, less at lake #3.

Many great little campsites around the third lake with make-shift fire pits, would consider going back to camp with more bug spray.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a gorgeous hike and should be done by anyone coming to this area. I give it 3/5 rating because I felt it was falsely rated in difficulty. It is said this is supposed to be a thrill seekers delight, but I found this untrue. It was a relatively easy hike, with little to no worry for any issues along the way. I was expecting a more challenging hike with difficult traversing and a few holy s**t moments but I was left disappointed.

Solid hike with beautiful views at the top of Mount Assiniboine and Kananaskis. Took us 5 hours with a solid lunch break at the top. Trail was well marked and easy to follow. Didn’t need poles or flip flops at all, but bug spray was super necessary.

backpacking
3 days ago

One of my favourite places to go! Brought up a group of people on Friday night and stayed until Sunday. Lots of fish caught and released as there is now a 0 limit harvest, whereas it used to be a limit of 2 cutthroat trout.

The hike up is pretty steep, lots of up hill but as long as you take your time it is a decent hike. Lots of people on the trail early morning and midday.

We camped between two of the lakes, and despite it raining lightly one of the nights we stayed, the weather was warm and sunny with a little bit of cloud later in the day.

Highly recommend spending a night or two and adventuring around or fishing to spend time in the great outdoors!

One of my favourite hikes. Not at all difficult and BEAUTIFUL views!

hiking
3 days ago

Was good hike we took the dogs up and had lunch at the first lake got some fish all fingerlings then hiked the up to the rest of the lake all and all loved it was about 20km there and back with the bit of wandering around the lakes and definitely don’t skip the last lake you’ll beat yourself up about it later

hiking
3 days ago

Excellent views ... follow the hiking trail signs, NOT the fire road ... bring water shoes & bug spray (I’ve never seen bugs like this in AB) ... views are incredible & worth it at the top!

hiking
4 days ago

Beautiful hike. Some steep sections. Some later sections through loose boulders. A nice mix of open and covered areas.

Hiked this trail with my dogs on-leash July 13th. The trail is great for dogs because there is opportunities to stop and allow them to drink.
We hiked all the way to the lake, it was beautiful and hot. Due to the fire there is no foliage to shade from the sun, so keep that in mind. Additionally, the trail can get dusty from the wind because of the lack of foliage.
Classic trail, busy and well maintained.

hiking
5 days ago

Great hike / scramble. One lake followed by another. Best to camp at Aster Lake & do over 2 days, or use the camp site as a jumping off point for one of the surrounding peaks. Lots of ice, snow & scree, so can be challenging.

hiking
6 days ago

We did 2 nights, 3 days. The hike to Lower Fryatt has a few views, but is the least interesting part of the hike. Beyond Lower Fryatt was a steady climb in the trees until just before Brussels, after which you hike in the open Fryatt Valley. You'll have to pass two landslides (or remains of avalanches?), the second of which is on top of Headwall campground. The next day we went all the way to the alpine hut above Hellwall - err, Headwall. There are truly breathtaking views from up there, seeing all the way down Fryatt Valley and beyond, plus the snow caps all around the hut.

Great trail with amazing views. I highly recommend bringing 3L of water per person AND a filter of some source for stream water. We ran out but were lucky a friend had a filter. The forest hike is lovely with dense foliage. The switchbacks are when I felt the trail began to get truly tough, but keep going and it will be worth it. The tunnel is on a left slant and you will have to duck as it is short, so be aware of that if you are unable to squat down to walk awkwardly. The cable walk is not terrible but be sure footed. I strongly advise to wear ankle supporting boots as the shale on the switchbacks down can be hard on the body.

hiking
8 days ago

boat rides, lush forests, water falls, cliffs, tunnels, lakes! This hike has everything you could ever ask for. It is a challenging hike but well worth it! The cliff sections were not as scary as I originally thought they would be but I would not recommend this hike for small kids or dogs. The tunnel is alot more narrow than I imagined and would not recommend for people over 300 pounds or if you have trouble bending your knees. Bring bear spray as there have been recent sitings and we saw fresh bear scat. We usually bring about 2 litres of water on day hikes but this hike required much more due to the intensity and how hot it was that day. i would recommend 4 litres (minimum 3) and or bring a water filter/purification system there are many streams along the way to fill up. DO NOT drink the water from the lake unless you have a purification system. Drinking still water is never a good idea without a filtration system. We saw a guy drink right from the lake and when we scooped up a bottle full there were worms in the water. HIKE SMART!

Nice easy hike to a beautiful lake.
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backpacking
9 days ago

I have completed this loop twice (once in Washington direction). I prefer going to Three Isle Lake first. We got a bit lost when we went Aster Lake way first. I preferred the descent going to Aster Lake from the ridge as opposed to descending to Three Isle Lake. I recommend hiking it during the week if you can - less people on the ridge!

hiking
9 days ago

July 8 2018, we tried to hike today, but after 25 min walking the river stopped us. The river was to high to cross it, so we turned back. We didn't see any other hikers. If you go, be prepared to get wet. We'll try the hike again in the future.

Spent a night in Bow Hut. Very beautiful trail. Some parts can be confusing without clearly marked trails, otherwise was a very rewarding hike and a great stay in the hut. I would recommend it to anyone!

hiking
10 days ago

Very hard hike. Lots of scrambling to get to the top. Fantastic views from the top We looped over to the ridge and found it a quite hard scramble to get down as well. Definitely not for a beginner.

backpacking
10 days ago

This was my first back country camping trip of the year and the views along the way are gorgeous! steep and difficult, I found the river crossing challenging it's in the last 3-5 km before you reach lake of the falls. Bring Keens

This a MUST DO for any hiking fan! The views are incredible and just enough of a challenge to get in a good workout. A beautiful forest at the start to a canyon, mountain tunnel, waterfalls and a gorgeous lake at the top. Not only is the hike itself amazing but the ferry ride and tour of Waterton is equally rewarding. If you’re considering this hike DO IT!

this has been a fav of mine since I was a kid. and yesterday I took my 10 year old daughter on the first back packing trip there. trail was great. straight up the whole way. but totally worth it. We camped between the 3rd and 4th lakes. extremely windy last night. hiked out today. there was a ton of people hiking up today. She did fantastic.

11 days ago

Great trail. On the hard side. If you submit remember you can walk the ridge peek to peek and get the rest of Vimy in one shot.

I absolutely loved this hike, very nice inclined up with a few sections that were steeper, you cross several bridges and have the creek by your side. Very nice trail in really good shape, good for families and dogs.
It was very scenic, we went to all three lakes and it was totally worth it. Took us about 2 hours to get to the first lake, from there another 45 minutes to the second lake you have to cross a morraine to get there it is a bit steep but nothing you can’t do, after we rested for a bit we hiked to the third lake and it took us about about 30 minutes.
If you have the time don’t hesitate to go all the way to the end, my favourite lake was the third one.
I recommend walking poles and hiking boots, it got a bit windy and rainy at the top but not for too long so bring a jacket.
It was busy but not terrible.

We tried to follow the track shown on the All Trails site but quickly lost it. There is no marked or even well used track to follow. We followed deer trails and instinct to loop through the fields around the back of the mesa and then climbed up the mesa from the north. Took some real route finding skills to figure out a way around the ravines and gullies to the top. Beautiful up there. Tough again on the way down. Still no trail and some treacherous footing but we made it. Overall a great place and we had a real adventure (take lots of water and then add one more).

Great bucket list hike. Not for the faint hearted nor people scared of heights. You access the hike via a paid boat shuttle service that departs from the Waterton Lakes Marina and takes you to the Crypt Trail landing. From there you gain 725m t in elevation to Crypt lake in 8km or so and the last 2km of it are very steep and include a ladder climb, a 20m crawl through a natural narrow tunnel, and a climb on narrow ledges with steel cables to ease the ascent and for safety. The trail is quite busy and we had the misfortune to do it on a wet and cold day. Still a great hike, but be aware that you are time limited and this can become an issue if you are late on your way back as the boat won't wait for you. A word of caution, if you have bad knees (as I do), the descent and uneven parts of this hike was definitely not pleasant from a pain point of view. We had a friendly encounter with what i would call the friendly resident marmot on the trail too (both ways at the same spot)

backpacking
12 days ago

Will be back to camp overnight.

Excellent hike, with views most of the way. The lake is anticlimactic; I went back a bit to have my lunch where I could see down the valley. 3 hours up and 2.5 back. Would not recommend for anyone afraid of exposure - coming down the chains is like rappelling without a harness!

hiking
12 days ago

Hiked this trail June 30,2018. Initial ascent is is a bit steep to Elbow lake then the rest of the hike is on a flat wide trail with nice views along the way there was a few wet spots but otherwise trail is in great shape. When we needed to branch off and ascend the trudge up Rae mountain we needed to do a bit of route finding since it's early season and the trail we were on was almost non-existent and there are no signs. We finally found the trail up to Rae Lake which is really pretty.

Made it up the Harvey’s pass and back in about 7.5 hours, with a lunch break at the lake and on top of the mountain. Well worth the effort to go to the top! The treed area is very dull but things get more scenic after you hit the waterfall! We also saw sheep and tons of marmots!

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