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Crowded but safe. easier trail for friends

22 hours ago

A good winter hike. only small patches of snow on the flat valley bottom portion of the trail. lots of hikers. Moderate hike easy walking but a good distance 17km from parking lot.

Great hike! Went on Saturday. Snow is pretty deep when you get close to Lilian lake. Make sure to bank on an extra 45 minutes compared to what you would normally hike it in. Great weather though - all in all a solid 4 hours in total. We used winter hiking boots and that’s it - no poles and no snowshoes

Did this hike last weekend and we were the first ones to hike all the way to the top in the new snow fall. Really soft and deep snow from second lake

on Chester Lake Trail

4 days ago

Hiked on Saturday was a beautiful sunny day, no need for snowshoes as it was packed snow. It was not icy at all, but spikes or poles would be helpful for the upward and downward climbs and descents. I did it with just hiking boots and poles and was just fine. For those that have not done this trail it is easy going for about a km then it’s a steady climb for approximately 2km, then it levels off. Bring something to sit on ( small tarp will do) to have your lunch or snack when you get to the top!

Did it clockwise today. Very windy once on the ridge. Good views.

Best views of Moraine Lake....if you can actually get there. And I mean to the parking lot. Best idea, if you’re just there to see the lake, is to take the bus from the lake Louise overflow lot. It’s free.

snowshoeing
4 days ago

Excellent hike. Beautiful winter views. You would be fine to hike it with ice spikes if it has not snowed in a while.

Great hike. Path is snow packed with very little ice right now, so could probably do it easily enough without spikes, but certainly easier with them. Get up there early to avoid the crowds, and you're in for a treat! Some amazing views on the way up, and the crowds really thin out once you get past the Upper Falls and head to the Inkpots. When we got to the Inkpots there was only one other couple there, so very peaceful! I just started hiking this past year, so certainly not a strong hiker, and this trail took us about 3 hours, including stops for photos and lunch.

Hear about Chester Lake all the time and been wanting to try it since we moved here four years ago. Beautiful blue sky day. Fair number of cars in the lot (20 or so) when we started but when we left at 4:30 we were the only ones there. We used ice trackers. It's possible to go with just boots (trail is hard packed) but later in the day the sun warmed the snow and some of the downhill sections (it's all downhill on the way back) were really slippery. I must admit the long uphill was a little more than I expected but I made it.

on Chester Lake Trail

5 days ago

Gorgeous hike. We didn’t need our snowshoes because the snow was so packed down. But, spikes were helpful. We’ll be doing this hike again soon.

So I stopped my phone at door jam for a quick break and forgot to start it again lol.... the pics show us at the summit of Loder! Great quick hike very little snow just a bit in the trees, it is def moderate as easy scramble with great holds required. There is a bit of exposure today sucked due to high winds but nothing crazy. The summit push is actually pretty mild just walking up a bit of scree.....
if you are expecting a nice hike it will be hard expect nice scramble and follow the spine of the ridge up.

Stayed overnight at the end of the trail before turning around and coming back back in May. Watched the sunset over the mountains, it was a fantastic view, would definitely recommend it to anyone including beginner hikers. Trail is well kept and there is flowing water sources all along so it made it easier not having to carry multiple litres on my back.

My favorite hike! Push yourself to get to the top! I was nervous about doing the switchback at the end because it looked steep with loose stones but I went up anyway and the views were incredible, so happy I did.

did this trail on one of my last days in Banff and it was really beautiful!

on Rummel Lake Trail

hiking
9 days ago

Went earlier in January, with quite a bit of snowfall. Tracks were packed, but would recommend snowshoes. Tried part of the trail without, and sank pretty deep. Visibility was poor due to snowfall, so by the lake wasn't great. I would definitely try this trail again in the summer.

Took us about 3.5 hours, with water/ snack breaks and a short stop on the top.

hiking
10 days ago

Has anybody hiked up any of the mountains surrounding Widgeon Lake?

We tried this trail in early May. Pros: we had the whole thing to ourselves. Cons: we didn't make it very far! Saw and heard a bunch of avalanches, so be smart(er than we were). Loved the parts of the hike that we were able to do and can't wait to return someday and finish it!

hiking
10 days ago

Wow... We had a pretty unforgettable experience on this trail! We did it during May--it was hot and sweaty at the bottom, and we were literally waist deep in snow about two hours later. Then on the way down it rained for an hour. So I guess pack some layers! We didn't have crampons or poles or anything, so we had to turn back unfortunately. Loved the trail, highly recommend it, definitely challenging and for experienced hikers. I can't wait to come back and do it right someday!

snowshoeing
10 days ago

We visited Chester Lake yesterday and it was beautiful! Fresh snow and lovely scenery. We used snowshoes, but could’ve gotten away with just spikes because the snow wasn’t too high. The trails are well-marked and not too busy. We also brought our dog (on-leash) and he had the time of his life :) Will definitely be back!

snowshoeing
11 days ago

Great, pretty easy hike. Well-marked and packed down (we snowshoed but they are not really required) and protected from the elements. Did it Jan 6th so visibility wasn’t good but lots of great snow and still a pretty good view of the lake and mountains at the end. Around 3.5 hours as we took our time. Would also recommend for kids and dogs.

Did this hike in August - super smokey due to the BC fires at the time but was still stunning. Recommend proper hiking gear/hiking boots for this hike. Definitely a nice scramble a bit before the summit. I would of rated it as Hard but I could just be out of shape haha! Incredible view! 11/10.

hiking
11 days ago

Beautiful view. Love it!

on Rummel Lake Trail

snowshoeing
11 days ago

My girlfriend and I went out and did this hike in January 2019. Unfortunately we had a very snowy day which meant we didn’t get much in terms of views. However, the hike itself is pretty great. It’s a fairly gradual uphill grind on the way there, which means it’s smooth sailing on the way back down. I had snowshoes but attached them to the pack and just hiked in without any difficulty - as long as I stayed on the path. It took us 3.5 hours round trip, with a small lunch break at the top. Plenty of parking on the East side of Smith Dorrien Trail. I’d like to do this hike again in summer.

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.

The Lakeshore Trail at Moraine Lake is short, easy and scenic trail (3 km round trip) that starts from the Moraine Lake Lodge and follows along the shoreline of the lake along one side and leading to a boardwalk area at the end of the trail with a small waterfall coming down from the mountain. I visited here in July 2017.

The trail passes through a beautiful pine tree forest and there are openings in the trees along the way offering great views of the lake. It was interesting how it instantly felt 10 degrees cooler when I stood at the end of the boardwalk. There were amazing views of the glaciers and snowy mountain peaks!

Moraine Lake is so absolutely breathtaking and gorgeous and it’s hard to believe that such a beautiful place exists and that you are in the presence of this awe-inspiring natural wonder. Words can’t even describe how awesome and perfect it really is. It’s definitely a must-visit in the Rockies. I visited here in July 2017.

I visited Moraine Lake twice during my solo road trip in the Rockies – arriving at sunrise to spend the day there and at sunset on a different day.

There are plenty of things to see and do at the lake and you could spend an entire day or more exploring the area. I spent about half a day there doing a couple of hikes stemming off from the lake.

The Rockpile Trail is a short uphill hike that literally winds its way up to the top of a large pile of rocks. At the top, you can find the most spectacular views of the lake from, the surrounding mountains and the densely forested valley opposite of the lake from several perspectives. The photo opportunities from here were incredible and there were a few benches where you can just sit and enjoy the spectacular views. The vibrant turquoise colour of the water is just outstanding to see and the entire lake and mountain backdrop is so picturesque. This area can get quite busy and crowded with people as the day goes on, but there were few people there in the early morning hours and it was nice to experience more solitude. In the evening before sunset, you can see gorgeous reflections of the snowy mountain peaks on the calm and intense blue water of the lake.

Would highly recommend this short and easy hike to get amazing views overlooking Moraine Lake.

The hike to the Ink Pots starts along Johnston Canyon and is around 10 km round-trip. I arrived to the Johnston Canyon parking lot early in the morning (around 7 am) and was one of the first people there. I hiked here in July 2017.

Hiking Johnston Canyon was gorgeous in the morning and it was so peaceful being almost completely alone with nature on the trail. It was a challenging but rewarding hike to natural bubbling pools of water and amazing views.

After the Upper Falls, the trail began to climb out of the canyon. It was a pretty steep incline for most of the way to the Ink Pots and since this was my first major day hike upon arriving in Banff from the Canadian Prairies, I found it to be quite challenging and exhausting. The trail continued to gain elevation as it passed through the dense and lush forest which was beautiful and so peaceful. I was alone on the trail for most of the hike which was amazing. There was an opening in the trees at one spot along the trail which provided incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

From this point to the Ink Pots (about 1.4 km), the trail leveled out and then descended to the final destination which my legs were very thankful for!

The trail then opened up to a beautiful meadow surrounded by mountains with a river flowing through it and a collection of natural pools of turquoise coloured water, which bubbled up from deep inside the Earth’s core called the Ink Pots (you will see circles in the sand at the bottom of the pools which look like blots of ink and this is where the water bubbles up from). There were some wooden boardwalks and trails through the area leading to each pool, where you could get a variety of amazing views and great photo opportunities. The scenery was breathtaking!

I found this hike pretty challenging and strenuous, as it was mostly a steep and gruelling uphill climb after the Upper Falls to the Ink Pots, but definitely worth it. Hiking downhill most of the way back to the trailhead felt AMAZING.

The trail along Johnston Canyon to the Upper Falls gets quite crowded and busy around late morning during the summer season but very few people continue on to the Ink Pots, so hiking this trail will likely be a peaceful experience. I would still recommend starting early though in order to get a parking spot at the Johnston Canyon trailhead (be there for around 7 am or 7:30 am), as it took me a good 4 to 4.5 hours to complete the hike including the MANY stops that I made along the way to catch my breath, take photos and enjoy the scenery.

Make sure to bring a snack to enjoy at the Ink Pots and lots of water!

The Plain of Six Glaciers is an incredible day hike from Lake Louise with spectacular scenery. I have hiked the trail twice, in August 2016 and July 2017. This remains one of my favourite hikes in Banff.

This hike climbs high into the mountains through forests, a rocky avalanche path and along the ledge of a cliff and has some of the most beautiful views of glaciers, mountains, valleys and Lake Louise and eventually leads to a charming and rustic teahouse with delicious home-cooked food and beverages.

The trail began from the shoreline of Lake Louise in front of the Fairmont Chateau Hotel along the paved and flat Lakeshore Trail which followed alongside this beautiful turquoise glacial lake for the first 2 km. The trail then reached the far end of Lake Louise and a wooden boardwalk crossed over a portion of the lake and then started the ascent into the mountains.

There were vertical cliffs on the side of the path where you will probably spot some rock climbers. The well-graded trail then entered into a beautiful and peaceful forest where I saw some adorable hoary marmots on the rocks beside a small river. The path continued on a moderate incline for the remainder of the way as it gained a total of 365 metres of elevation with some steeper and more challenging switchbacks in the last section of the trail leading to the teahouse. It wasn’t too gruelling but it wasn’t simple either and there were some areas where the trail levelled out to give your legs a rest too. The hike was moderately challenging but I took my time and stopped for frequent breaks along the way which helped me.

The forest opened up to a wide open area with stunning landscapes and incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, the Victoria Glacier, a large rocky avalanche path, and Lake Louise in the distance behind you. The trail continued through this landscape for most of the hike and then followed along a narrow rocky ledge on the side of a cliff before switchbacking up to the teahouse on the last portion of the hike. I was surprised to see so much snow and avalanche debris on the hike as I got higher in elevation and closer to the teahouse! The scenery on this hike was breathtaking, impressive and just so beautiful with plenty of wonderful photo opportunities.

The final section of the hike consisted of a series of steeper switchbacks up the mountain leading through the forest to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House. The views of the Victoria Glacier were stunning and I felt so close to it! It was such a relief to reach the end of the hike after climbing the entire way there. The teahouse was a rustic and adorable two-storey log building with balconies all around it on both levels for seating. It was quite busy when I arrived there but managed to find a seat. I ordered the hand-ground hummus and salsa with tortilla chips and a hot chocolate and everything tasted incredible. The views from the teahouse were spectacular and it was so quiet and serene. There were outhouse washrooms here as well. From the teahouse, there is the option to continue hiking an additional 1.6 km to a closer viewpoint overlooking the six glaciers, however I was exhausted at this point and didn’t end up doing it, although I am sure it would have been amazing. If you’re lucky you may hear the rumbling of an avalanche in the distance here as well (I heard one last year but not this summer).

The trek down the mountain was such a welcome reward for my sore legs and the scenery was just as amazing coming down. I completed the entire 10.6 km round-trip hike in roughly 4 hours, including my stop at the teahouse.

Make sure to dress in layers and bring some warmer clothing on this hike, as the temperatures get quite a bit cooler as you gain elevation. Bring plenty of water and snacks and cash if you plan to eat or drink at the teahouse. Also be aware that this hike is mostly uphill on a moderate incline the entire way, with a steeper section shortly before reaching the teahouse. The air gets a lot thinner as you get higher in the mountains making it more difficult to catch your breath, so go slow and take breaks if you’re feeling exhausted. I found that my hiking poles really helped with the elevation and they took some of the pressure off my legs. This trail can get quite crowded during the day, so I suggest starting early in the morning in order to beat the crowds and secure yourself a good parking spot at Lake Louise.

The Plain of Six Glaciers is an incredible half-day hike from Lake Louise in Banff and I would highly recommend adding this one to your itinerary. This hike has some of the most amazing views and landscapes that I have experienced in the Rockies.

hiking
11 days ago

We went counterclockwise but didn’t make it quite to the top because it was Very windy as we went past the 1.5 km mark. Many trail options -steeper or less steep or climbing areas. Stayed to left for more trees and things to grab when scrambling up. No snow or ice so no crampons needed. Alright view but not nice to see the ex Shaw factory right there. Awesome terrain though.

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