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Cute cave to enjoy a drink.

Pretty steep and lots of scree but what an amazing view from the ridge line!! Now that it's more winter recommend bringing spikes, making sure to stay on trail and walking poles for sure!

December 10, 2018.

Rating: I find All Trails is often rating hikes more difficult than they actually are. This is not the case. This is a hard, steep hike, with a lot of elevation gain. There are some switch backs, but a lot is just straight up on bare or loose rock. (Currently dashed in snow)

Route: We took the Grotto Trail Hard Route up, as suggested by research; but then back down that route as well, as it was too windy to feel comfortable on the traverse. However, we got lost on our way up...and our way down. There are so many trails that branch out, you actually need to be constantly checking. And trust me, when I say don’t “bushwhack”, just go back and find the proper trail. I did find the trials hard to follow, probably due to snow coverage and no human tracks. There is flagging tape, which did help tremendously. Thanks to whoever placed those! But overall, hard to follow. And yes. There are times that you are walking alongside the cliffs, but not to the point that I personally find frightful. You can chose to stay further off the cliff side.

Conditions: Being a south facing hike with constant sunshine, there was minimal snow. But, it is still mid December on a mountain...There were sections that there was deep pockets of snow, (like knee height) but for the most part, easy to avoid. Today it was mostly cloudy with no issues in visibility, however it was insanely windy, to the point we just weren’t comfortable doing to loop.

Gear: Poles and spikes were more hindrance than help today. We did initially have our spikes on, but elected to take them off pretty quick. Poles were mostly just being dragged as it was steep and bare rock for the second 2/3 of the hike up.

Time: Reviews are saying 6-7 hours. I mean, yah, I’m sure that’s doable. However, our slow asses too 6 hours up, 5 hours down. Total of approximately 14km and 20,000 steps as per our Fitbit/Apple watch. Keeping in mind we do some adventuring. We did go off the trail and did go down the wrong trails several times. We did also take several breaks to just enjoy where we were. Hiked from before sunrise to after sunset. But the stars were beautiful.

***All and all, beautiful hike. Definitely would recommend. I will absolutely do it again in hopes to find a day with less wind.***

hiking
3 days ago

Decent hike once you get past the factories.

hiking
3 days ago

Beautiful the whole way up. Not too hard. Took me an hour and a half to get to the top.

Amazing!!! Great place to train! Took us approximately 1-1:10hr fairly easy pace. Amazing in winter!

It’s steep as you hike up on a used trail along the side of the mountain and then you come to a clearing of large rocks and boulders. The trail seems to disappear. However it is clear which way to go. You get out of breath as the incline increases but at the top where the “Tea House” is the views of Canmore and the Mountains are spectacular! There is no real Tea House that you can dine at. This is a difficult slow climb and recommend for the seasoned hiker.

I did this hike July 8, 2018. It’s not difficult, other then waking on small to big rocks the whole time, you just want to be careful so you don’t twist your ankle. It was a busy trail the day we went, but not crowded. Many people were rock climbing too. Once you pass the waterfall it gets quieter, most people turn around and head back there. We continued on and passed inukshuks people had made. The trail opens up into a big valley. We kept on hiking until we got tired, but we wanted to see if we could reach an end to the river valley, but there was none in sight.

This is an amazing hike in Banff , just by the Gondola and Hot Springs facilities.
It is a easy-moderate hike (a bit long and steep for beginners, but still easily doable).
1,5 - 2 hours hike with beautiful sightseeing and amazing views from the top.
In the winter, they have free Gondola trip (only the coming down trip) if you get there before it closes.
I think it is also free in summer after 7.00 pm
Parking facilities are good either in the Gondola parking lot or Hot Springs one. Very rewarding if you end up your experience in a relaxing bath at the Hot Springs next door.

Very challenging and rewarding hike. We wore micro spikes and used poles for the snow and ice- very glad we did!
Pretty cold and windy at the top for this time of year , we only made it to the helicopter pad and back. Took almost 4.5 hours.
Legs are sore today !
Will definitely do this trail again - hoping to reach the summit in the spring/summer.

I spent a perfect morning hiking this awesome mountain! The weather is stunning for November. It took me around 2.5 hours to get to the teahouse.

Amazing in the winter, especially when the gondola is under maintenance. I did it last year my team and I were the ONLY ONES on top. Amazing!

hiking
26 days ago

Nice views around the middle and a little waterfall at the end. Not a long trail.

Little slippery at the beginning of winter. well trafficked. Free gondola down in winter

Excellent day with dry conditions! We clocked 11 km and 912 metre gain to helipad! 4 hours 10 minutes with lots of breaks! Amazing hike and views! Can’t wait to come back and go up ridge !

Excellent day with dry conditions! We clocked 11 km and 912 metre gain to helipad! 4 hours 10 minutes with lots of breaks! Amazing hike and views! Can’t wait to come back and go up ridge !

Loved this hike. I am out of shape so had to stop quite a few times but I plan to do it again. The view at the end was beyond worth it! We did have snow and ice after the first 30 mins so used our crampons for the rest!

My first hike and I love it. Easier than we thought :) It took us 1,5 hours to get to the top.

Thigh burner for sure! Some snow and packed ice present, spikes and poles recommended. Got lucky and had a glorious sunshine lunch on the helipad - very little wind.

hiking
1 month ago

went on Nov 11th. Temp -5. Sunny. warms us up fast.
nice little loop around the Quarry lake.
very relaxing walk. nice view of mount lady mcdoanld. also good off leach dog park area. lake was slightly frozen. lots of cute dogs. took us 30 - 45 min with broken legs. not really broken but worn out after mt lady McDonald trail.
peeing in the lake is not at all recommended as it is a very popular community trail.

went on Nov 10th. Temperature 2 degrees. Sunny and chilly when windy around ridge. Slippery in shade and not slippery when sunny. we saw 10 mountain goats eating and sunning tanning. Poles are a must especially when going down. Took us 6 hours to finish the whole thing. Trail is unmarked. Use your own discretion where is the trail. Pack lots of water and food. Peeing off the cliff is not recommended as it is a popular trail unless you have someone guarding for you. Great views of other mountains - it is worth the climb and scrambling. lots of Scrambling. no bears or mountain lions sighted.

Nov 10, 2018: super awesome!

Did this hike yesterday with my dog, it was absolutely amazing , it was both of our first time ever really hiking in the Canadian Rockies. Amazing views on the way up and absolutely breath taking on the way down, times this one out perfectly to watch the sun setting behind the mountains. 5 hours total and that’s with stopping for multiple water and food breaks for myself and my dog.

A beautiful location for an off leash dog park! A short walk to the lake and a small loop around it.

Trail was ok. Very rocky. Starts out near the lefarge plant.. kinda interferes with the nice scenery part. Waterfall is small. Nothing in the cave. Meh

hiking
1 month ago

Great walk with stunning views! Icy a bit but it was fine! Weather was foggy a bit but we all enjoyed it!

Easier than we expected. Beautiful view!

Great walk, icy from the about half way up, would recommend using cleats from there on up even if you have good hiking boots, great views from the top.

Holy Smokes!!! If you’re trying to decide whether or not this trail qualifies as “HARD”, I’ll go ahead and confirm your questions! So we went up to Grotto (Oct 6th) right after Canmore saw it’s first snow which made for the poorest visibility when it came to trail markings or any sign of life, human or animal. The ascent was grueling to say the least and there are many questionable areas where following the orange flags (which are few and far between) puts you on the far left side of the cliff, dangerously close to the edge many times. There were a lot of times when we had to cut through the trees and continue on our own path to avoid certain death over the edge. Also prepare to do some scrambling A LOT, there are plenty of steep slopes that contain fine gravel which makes it difficult to find hand grips and proper footing. Once you clear the trees, get ready for a whole new type of climbing. The open wide space is visually rewarding but don’t get too ahead of yourself, there is still a long way to go to reach the summit. As everyone else reviewing has said, there’s only one way and that is up. We made sure to keep our eye on the large radio tower as a landmark with the traverse on our left. We made the mistake of starting this trail too late in the day (10:30 AM) and by the time we got to the top, the sun was beginning to descend behind the mountains and we had to make a big decision. Continue to the peak and take the traverse counterclockwise or turn around and go right back the way we came. Being that we had no proper lighting with us and had already begun to feel the effects of hypothermia, we sadly turned back. Let me add that my fiancé and I are AVID well seasoned hikers and have hiked all over, from Canada to New Zealand and this is the first time that we have ever been beaten by a mountain. The fresh powder snow, no visual trail, and icy conditions had gotten the best of us. It was a very discouraging moment for us but looking back now, I know we made the wisest decision. After the sun had set, we were barely to the tree line at this point. We continued the descent with only the flashlight from our cellphone and ended up finding the dry creek from the beginning of our hike almost 5 hours later. Thoroughly frozen, disheartened and bloody, we arrived back at our car at 11 o’clock at night. All this being said, we will be back to conquer the Grotto again in better conditions. Put this hike on your list for sure, it’s an indescribable sense of accomplishment.

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