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hiking
11 days ago

Parker Ridge is a moderately challenging 5 km trail along the Icefields Parkway, located about 1.5 hours south of Jasper and north of the Saskatchewan Crossing. I hiked here in August 2017 along the drive from Jasper to Banff.

The trail was uphill the entire way, so be prepared for a climb. The first portion of the trail climbed through the forest along moderately steep switchbacks. It gradually became steeper as you hiked on and once you got above the tree line, where the landscape was wide open and barren. The trail continued to climb along switchbacks until it reached the top of the ridge. I definitely found it to be challenging and strenuous. Even in the middle of summer, there was still some thick snow patches near the top of the ridge.

At the top of the ridge, it was quite chilly and windy so make sure to pack a windbreaker and warm sweater. There were beautiful views of the Saskatchewan Glacier and surrounding mountain peaks which made for great photo opportunities. It was spacious at the top of the ridge and there were lots of other great viewpoints too if you explore a little bit.

There was parking in a small lot off the highway or along the shoulder of the Icefields Parkway. I would recommend the hike but be prepared for the weather and landscape. This is a challenging hike but there are rewarding views at the top of the ridge!

The Consolation Lakes Trail is a beautiful and scenic hike that begins from the parking lot at Moraine Lake.

The trail stemmed off from the Rockpile Trail to the left, just before the climb to the top of the rock pile. This 6 km round-trip hike started off by passing through a very rocky section where there was even some avalanche debris and snow piles along the path! The trail then entered into the forest and continued there for the remainder of the hike on a fairly flat path with some short uphill sections but then very little elevation gain after that.

At the end of the hike, the path emerged from the forest and opened up to a stunning rocky landscape with Consolation Lakes in the distance beyond the large rocks, a peaceful river flowing from the lake, and gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains, sheer vertical cliffs, and tall jagged peaks. There was also an amazing view of the Fay Glacier at the far end of the lake. I felt so close to the mountains and even heard an avalanche. It was a fun challenge to climb over the large rocks in order to get closer to the lake. I enjoyed a snack while sitting on the rocks and enjoyed appreciating the incredible views all around me.

This hike was very rewarding for such a short and easy trail. Parking is limited at Moraine Lake, so I recommend arriving early (7 am or so) to ensure you get a spot.

Wear good hiking shoes and bring poles if you're planning on going up on the ridge. I hiked this back in September when it was raining/snowing. I tried to make it up on the ridge, but it was way too slippery and dangerous without poles. Rawson Lake is beautiful though so it was still worth the hike.

Bring your bear spray. Proper hiking boots and attire make the hike nice. It could be done in regular runners. (I saw a lady hiking in flat shoes - she was not pleased with her shoe choice. The view at Rawson Lake was worth it from what she said!) Lot's of snow.

Took the tram up then hiked to the top. Nice hike but it is steep.

snowshoeing
2 months ago

Lots of snow, snowshoes are a must. Had to break trail most of the way, would strongly suggest having a good GPS app, saved us past the first valley in order to find the best route to the ridge. Larches were beautiful, the views made this 6.5 hour hike worth it, full 360 view of mountains.

This trail is nice all throughout all the seasons, it’s a bit strenuous once you start going up but the switchbacks offer some relief. I hiked this trail last week and it had quite a bit of snow so make sure you bring some clamp-ons if you have them.

Beautiful Hike. The scramble up to Sarrail Ridge can be a bit of a grind but not too difficult. Be sure to wear the proper footwear. The views from the ridge are incredibly stunning, you won't be dissapointed.

Didn’t get all the way to the top because it started pouring rain on us but it was definitely beautiful!

25 October. Good summit. Plenty of snow but with cleats/poles it’s all good. The trail gets a little lost above the tree line, but some switchbacking and imagination it’s all good.

hiking
2 months ago

This is not an easy hike .. moderate at least .. especially at the moment since you spent the entire time trudging through snow and ice .. must have cleats or poles to get to the top .. well marked but thanks to AllTrails map for helping us though this route .. the view? Stunning. The experience? Absolutely worth it!

This hike is incredible. My boyfriend and I did it yesterday with perfect weather. We started around 1pm and got back just as it was getting too dark to be hiking (7pm). We are inexperienced in the ice and snow (we are an Australian-Croatian pair) but persistent. We had no gear to speak of but we went steadily and were totally ok. I wouldn't recommend doing it with out tractioned footwear if you're not prepared to feel a bit uncomfortable. His shoes were pretty grippy but I felt like I was on ice skates for the lower part of the hike. I would have had to go on my bottom for parts of it if not for him. Once we got half way up to Rawson Lake it was snowy rather than icy and then heading up the ridge the snow turned to mud. Its a tough slog to get up the ridge but well well worth it!

2 months ago

Great hike! Snow is packed down for most of it. And you start the ascent up to the ridge line the snow is minimal and it is muddy conditions. Yak tracks or spikes recommended for the lower portions in the trees as it is quite slippery. We proceeded as far as we felt comfortable on the ridge. Not much for tracks after the first summit. Wouldn’t recommend the full traverse right now, better as an out and back. The larches are still holding on! May be able to enjoy them for one more weekend.

hiking
3 months ago

Just finished this hike (Oct 16th) hiking to Rawson lake is fine and packed down easy trail to the lake and around it. When you start to go to the ridge you need spikes and hiking gear - right now there is lots of snow but the beautiful weather is making it super slick in some areas. It was a steady incline I did it with my dog and completed the whole thing within 3.5 hours (I do stop and take lots of photos) coming down was awesome - I slid on my butt it was great! The views are just beautiful and well worth the incline trail. Highly recommend this! However I would do it during the week like I did - barley anyone it was really nice and only saw myself and two other small groups go to the ridge.

Hiked to to the ridge on October 12, 2018. If you are just going to Rawson Lake, regular hiking boots will be fine and you don’t need winter pants and the trail is packed down. Beyond that I’d recommend boots, pants and maybe spikes and snowshoes (I didn’t have the latter two). The trail around the lake and beyond gets filled in with snow from the wind. There are sections going up the ridge that we’re extremely icy or completely filled in with snow. At the top of the ridge, the snow was drifting so I was waste deep in it trying to get a photo or the other side. Very happy I had ski goggles as it was windy and the blowing snow was strong. Took 4 hours roundtrip - my moving time was 3:30 as I stopped to chat with a few people along the way AND you need to take a breather every 15-40 steps going up the ridge in winter gear.

3 months ago

Rewarding hike. Hard to keep on the correct trail at the start so I recommend a map.

One of my personal favourite spots! Nature at its best! Hike was easy and rock climb was a fun challenge. We started this trail early evening and basically had it all to ourselves. Love. Love. Love. Would 100% recommend.

This was one of the most difficult hikes I’ve been on, but one of the more memorable as well. To begin with, we were forced off the trail within the first ten minutes by a large grizzly, so BRING YOUR BEAR SPRAY! It doesn’t take long before the the trail starts to incline, and it only gets harder the further you go. We had to take several rests just on the leg up to Rawson Lake. Apart from a small waterfall, there isn’t much to see until you actually get to the lake. But then things change dramatically.

It was early June and there was quite a bit of snow yet, though a lot of the slope heading up to Mt Sarrail was free of snow. The aforementioned climb, however, is a killer. I think we must have stopped every 15 meters for breath. At least we had much to look at, and some curious ground hogs to keep us company. But the truly spectacular view at the top made it in every way worthwhile. Pictures cannot do it justice. Be mindful of the extremely bold chipmunks up there. They will not hesitate to make contact, nor get into your pack for a snack.

Coming back down was still laborious, and a little tricky in the snow-covered areas. If you decide to go off the beaten path, take serious precautions. A man was fatally wounded after slipping on snow and falling from some height as we were descending. Without an emergency phone, it’s at best a 90-minute jog back to get help, and even longer for it to arrive. It took us 2.5 hours to walk back. Again, be mindful of bears, as much of the trail does not offer great line of sight either way. Altogether, though, this was an amazing, beautiful hike that I suspect a lot of people don’t know about...I didn’t until my fourth trip to the region. And even though it’s a challenging climb, it’s sooooo worth the effort.

Snowy, but packed-down trail. We used microspikes and so didn't have an issue going up or down steeper sections - which could be slippery had we not had them. Upper Kananaskis Lake was lovely in the sunny clear day we had and Rawson Lake was beautiful with the snow everywhere. The snow did mean that there was serious avalanche risk and a less defined trail from the end of the Rawson Lake trail. We decided the risk wasn't worth it and turned back without continuing to Sarrail Ridge.

Did this hike yesterday. Beautiful easy to follow trail. Some good inclines from kilometre 1 to 3 then it flattens out. Lots of snow once you get to the lake and quite slippery on the rocks walking around the lake. We didn’t attempt to go to the top of the ridge - it looked too icy to come back down but we will be back next summer to make it to the top!

just did this hike yesterday and it's was perfect! lots of steep inclines but the veiws are beautiful highly recommend this hike

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked Floe Lake today, Sept 29. Recorded 21km in about 5.5 hours, including short breaks. It snowed for some of the hike, but there was not much on the ground today. Right before the lake was a beautiful area with tons of larch trees, all bright yellow. Beautiful! Long hike, but worth the grind. We’ll be back next summer to spend the night.

hiking
3 months ago

Parker Ridge is a trail I found to be pretty challenging even though I’ve seen it shown as an easy trail. On my visit in late September, the bottom section of the trail was incredibly muddy. (If you don’t want your shoes to get dirty, you might want to check the trail conditions or go elsewhere.) The next section was snow covered which made it a bit slippery. At the top of the ridge was dirt covered trail which was by far the easiest part of the trail. It is a short, but at various points, steep hike. You are awarded with an incredible view of a valley and mountains on the other side of Parker Ridge. Keep walking to the left, and a lake will come into view on your right. It is an amazing sight. As you proceed to the left, the trail becomes rather narrow, so proceed carefully. Not for the faint-hearted. The descent was possibly just as challenging due to the slippery snow and mud.

3 months ago

Done when snowing and this makes the trail a lot more harder. but views at the end are just stunning. And even better with the snow

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful but busy hike! The larches are out and are stunning, they are so soft too I couldn’t stop touching them! A lot of people only went to the summit and turned back, however we went along the whole ridge which was pretty snowy after the peak but so much fun if not a little challenging.

We took two cars and started from Highwood Pass and hiked to Little Highwood, think it would have been tough hiking the opposite direction as I found it quite steep coming down.

Our GPS shows 11.20km and took us 4h 25min with 793m total elevation gain #HikingWithHarri

backpacking
3 months ago

Awesome hike, beautiful larch trees. Very slippery, muddy and snowy. Glad we had crampons.

Decently challenging hike. Beautiful views. Gets pretty steep and slick.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful! Larches were amazing.
I would consider this a hard hike, for the length and up and downs, some friends and I did the triple crown of Canmore this year and I thought this hike was more like those for difficulty.
This took our group 5 hours with lots of picture stops and lunch.
People said there was 4 peaks, but it felt more like 10!
Poles were nice and if you have spikes for your shoes it helps in several places.
Spectacular 360 view on the ridge!
We started on the south end and were glad we did. Definitely have your gps out and check it often.
Over all loved it!

3 months ago

Wonderful, easy hike up to the ridge and stunning views. Very windy, come prepared. Path is icy snow, hiking poles help. Please stay on trail.

One of my favourite views so far, easy hike until you get to the end. Bring poles, otherwise getting down ya a struggle!

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