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rocky
11 hours ago

The trailhead to the canyon is bare, no crampons required until you get to the canyon creek. Slushy in some spots on the creek bed yet overall still frozen. 30 minutes from the start of the canyon to the cave. Great, easy hike on a windy day... don't forget those crampons though, others didn't have them and were slipping all over.

hiking
16 hours ago

Jan 20/19 - Always a fun little hike. Trail is in great shape. Spikes are recommended for the creek portion but we managed just fine without them today. Went all the way past (to the left) the frozen falls through the canyon to a little cave. Was fun to climb up to but watch the loose dirt.

Beautiful scenery

hiking
1 day ago

Great little hike but definitely wish it was longer. Crampons or Yak Tracks are definitely useful if you’re doing it in winter. Beautiful views at the top for a short hike, though!

snowshoeing
1 day ago

Great day at Chester Lake today! Definite incline at the beginning to get things going but levels out further into the trail. Has been snowing pretty good but the trail is relatively packed still. Definitely recommend either snowshoes or spikes and poles. Friend did manage the trail with just hikers and poles however it made for a couple of slippery descents in areas. Got on the trailhead at 9am so it was a nice and quiet hike on the way to Chester Lake. Trail was definitely getting busier on the way down. Would do this hike again!

rocky
snow
1 day ago

really nice but a little bit short.

hiking
2 days ago

Great hike. Lots of skiers coming down the northern side of the loop.

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

Breathtaking views from the top! Today was a beautiful day with no wind. Definitely would do again!

on Chester Lake Trail

7 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!

snowshoeing
7 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.

Had a great time exploring this hike! Fun to walk the frozen stream if you’ve got spikes on. Can’t wait to see it in the summer.

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

8 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.

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.

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!

snowshoeing
13 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!

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
14 days ago

This trail becomes a cross country skiing track in the winter. We tried this hike with the kids in Jan 2019 but all tracks around it was for skiing, no hiking was allowed. Before we left, I stopped in the visitor center and asked for guidance, how to make it to the lake. We will try to find it next weekend. I gave 4 starts because the trail looked really nice and I didn’t want to downgrade the trail just because it’s not available for hiking in the winter.

hiking
14 days ago

Mistaya Canyon is a beautiful area and lesser-visited gem along the Icefields Parkway in Banff. It is located about 5 km south of Saskatchewan Crossing. I visited in August 2017.

From the parking area, a short walk (~10 minutes, about 1 km each way) through the peaceful forest led to a wooden bridge crossing a river from where the deep canyon was visible. Mistaya Canyon was a beautiful natural wonder with rushing water, rock formations and multiple waterfalls to see! It was surrounded by such gorgeous scenery of mountains and forests and was very picturesque – perfect for plenty of photo opportunities. You can cross the bridge and walk a little ways along the river to admire some different views of the canyon.

The hike was downhill on the way to the bridge and uphill on the way back to the parking area, but it was totally manageable and not too strenuous at all. Mistaya Canyon is not as well known as other sights along the Icefields Parkway, so you will likely experience fewer people which adds to this area’s beauty. The atmosphere was peaceful and calm when I was there.

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
14 days ago

Maligne Canyon is a spectacularly beautiful place to go for a hike and marvel at this incredible natural wonder and there are plenty of photo opportunities along this scenic trail. I hiked here in August 2017.

The canyon is located only a ten minute drive from the town of Jasper and is easily accessible. It's a popular place for visitors to explore, but if you arrive early in the morning (7:30 or 8 am), you will beat most of the crowds.

You can start the hike from various points along the canyon. I started from the parking lot at the Fifth Bridge and hiked uphill along the canyon to the First Bridge and then downhill on the way back, which I preferred.

The trail follows alongside the canyon the entire hike and the scenery gets more and more beautiful the closer you get to the First Bridge. Although there was some elevation gain, the inclines were fairly gentle and nothing too difficult or steep at all.

The narrow canyon was so deep and beautiful and the surrounding scenery was gorgeous! It was incredible to imagine how the power of water had eroded and carved this gorge over many years. I actually preferred Maligne to Johnston Canyon in Banff and found it to be more breathtaking and less crowded and touristy.

There were incredible viewpoints of the canyon from the Fourth, Third, Second and First Bridges and at various points along the way too.

There were bathrooms at the trailhead of the Fifth and First Bridges in the parking area and a restaurant near the First Bridge as well.

The hike from the Fifth Bridge to the First and back took me around 2.5 hours including my many stops for taking photos and admiring the awe-inspiring natural beauty.

If you are staying in Jasper, Maligne Canyon is definitely worth exploring. It was one of the highlights from my trip to the area.

The Valley of Five Lakes is a 4.5 km moderately challenging circuit loop hike just 9 km south of the town of Jasper. I hiked here in August 2017.

The trail started off by passing through the forest and then crossing a wooden footbridge over a tall grassy and marshy area before gently climbing back into the forest. At the junction, you can either start the loop around the lakes clockwise or counter clockwise. I took the path to the right and went counter clockwise, starting at the fifth lake and going around the first.

The trail consisted of some steeper uphill and downhill sections along with some flatter areas in between but it wasn't too difficult although it was more strenuous that I was expecting it to be.

Upon reaching the fifth lake, the trail followed a narrow ridge along the side of a hill which provided amazing views of the lakes and gorgeous mountain landscape.

All five lakes were absolutely beautiful and awe-inspiring and I was amazed at the vibrant colour of the water in unique shades of blue and green and how crystal clear it was. There were beautiful reflections of the surrounding mountains and pine trees on the calm water's surface which made for some lovely photos. These lakes are among some of the most breathtaking ones that I have seen in the Rockies.

When you get to the first lake, continue along Trail 9B to loop back around to the trailhead unless you are looking for a longer hike around the first lake, then take Trail 9A.

It took me around 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete the hike including the many stops that I made to take photos and admire the natural beauty around me.

These stunning lakes are definitely a must-see and well worth a visit in Jasper.

hiking
17 days ago

Climbed to the elephant rocks today. Trail was in great shape with fresh snow. Highly recommended.

snowshoeing
18 days ago

Went up to Lillian Lake last weekend and trail was all good, didn't need snowshoes until maybe 3 minutes before we got to the lake, I'm sure with a little more time there will be enough snow to pull them out earlier. Didn't get to see too much, it got pretty white out but I'm sure its gorgeous! With a little more time we might have made it up to Galatea. Trip for another time but definitely worth it!

hiking
18 days ago

climbed from chester lake to summit,great time

snowshoeing
19 days ago

The views are totally worth it when you get to the top. We were snowshoeing, so the signs directed us to the Chester Lake Snowshoeing Trail, which is not the trail that is listed above. About 1/3 to 1/2 of the snowshoeing trail I would have rated as hard (very steep), but the rest of it was beautiful and relatively flat. I recommend starting earlier in the day (at least by 10 AM) so that you have good light when you get to the meadow. It took us about 4 hours to get up and back.

hiking
20 days ago

Trails are pretty packed down. Micro spikes are all that’s required.

Great hike we went on a very hot day so there was lots of run off on the hike out.

snowshoeing
21 days ago

Nice day but overcast. Busy but polite group. Easy level and up and down under 2 hrs. 7.7 km round trip with 351 meters in elevation. Trail well groomed by use. Up top views are stupendous!

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