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

hiking
24 days ago

This was a pleasant short hike off the beaten path. The trail head was correctly marked on AllTrails but not easy to see from the road. We walked through thick, dark forest for about a mile and then followed the river to the lakeshore. We looked for a river crossing that wouldn’t leave us soaked, but couldn’t find one. The trail was muddy, wet and sometimes frozen in early November. We didn’t see another person or animal round-trip. The shoreline is gorgeous with a stunning view of the lakes and surrounding peaks.

An easier hike with nice views. not many ups and Downs. the trail gets repetitive. Hiking the trail for a couple KM after Stewart Canyon has the satisfying views

One of the most beautiful hikes we've done to date. A long day but worth it. the terrain is so varied you can't help but stop every few feet to just take it all in. The giant steps are pretty fantastic and a great place to stop for lunch and cool off the feet on a hot day. Don't forget the camera. We parked a car at Paradise Creek and drove the other one to Moraine Lake. Leave early as it does get full fast

The view of the lake is spectacular...I was lucky to take some nice photos in a sunny-cloudy day. Make sure to stop after the bridge to view the lake kind of from the top (good for photo shooting). You will feel the spirits of Minnewanka! :)

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome hike!

hiking
3 months ago

Didn't end up doing the entire trail. We only got to the bridge (Steward Canyon). I'd reckon it about a 2 km in (at most) to the wooden bridge and then back. I went with older parents with bad knees and they were able to do it. Pretty easy up to that point. Nice views of the lake. We ran into about 10 people (one couple hiking with 2 young children and 2 mountain bikers) on the trail on a Friday morning around 8 am.

I would definitely do this again, but there’s a rushing waterfall you have to pass so I’d go next time even earlier in the morning (~8am) to avoid jumping across wet rocks. Also bring gaters depending on the weather! Helen lake is pretty, but make the extra trek up to Cirque peak and have lunch up there if you can. Although it’s usually snowy up there.

Awesome hike. A nice gradual incline with incredible views once you get through the forest. Did it in early October and it was quite snowy where snowshoes were needed for the last quarter of the hike.

The beautiful colors of the lake really look gorgeous

4 months ago

Hiked to dolomite pass above Helen Lake.

Nice hike. 2 mile uphill to start, then easy fast long terrain to Lake Helen. Easy up to the pass and Cirque Peak above. Went up a little way but didn’t attempt to summit because of snow and the fact we really didn’t know the route

hiking
4 months ago

Easy to follow trail, not too steep. Great wildflowers and lots of marmots. Can be a lot if people on the trail. First half of the hike is in the forest (with a number of good view points across the valley), second half of the trail is wide open.

hiking
4 months ago

Really beautiful hike even with the smoke! This trail is moderately trafficked enough to have some trail to yourself but not too sparse that you'd have to worry about wildlife. We brought out two small dogs (15lbs each) and they had a blast. The hike up to Helen lake it picturesque (especially when it opens up into the "sound of music" fields) and the small ascent to dolomite ridge opens into an old ice field that is absolutely stunning. From here you can summit to Cirque peak but due to the smokiness it wasn't worth it for us and most of the other hikers on the trail. Overall it was a great half a day and would do it again. 2h up, 1h 45min down.
PS: if you hear a small child screaming, it's most likely a marmot, but double check.

hiking
5 months ago

This is nice because it's a little removed from the hustle and bustle of the other high tourist sites. we crossed the Bow River and kept hiking to the lake. the river was about waste deep, but so worth it! Hector lake is so beautiful! We met a small group of people who camped there over night. they told us stories about swimming in the lake by moon light. I wish I had time and the gear to do it. make time for this hike, so awesome!! I have tons of photos from my trip to Canada on my Instagram @mhysom come check it out and give it a follow. Cheers and happy exploring!

So here’s the deal. I’m 230lbs...my wife’s much heavier. We both did this hike no problem. We crossed the river. I took off my shoes off to do so. The current was strong. If you manage to make it, there’s a few canoes to traverse the lake with down at the camp site. Strongly recommend for an out and back trip.

hiking
5 months ago

Hiked on July 28, 2018

Tips
• Washrooms and gravel parking at the trail head.
• Parking may be limited so you might have to park across the highway at the Bow Lake lookout.
• Do not leave the trail as the surrounding area is extremely sensitive and potentially dangerous.
• Mosquitos are very active compared to other trails in the area so bring repellant.
• Bring bear spray and make sure it is easily accessible for the entirety of the hike.

The trail hosts stunning views for the latter 2/3 of the hike, whereas the first part of the hike runs through the woods. There are some steep sections as well as a few breathtaking lookout points on the way to the lake. Depending on the season, you’ll likely encounter some wildflowers and a stream crossing. Helen Lake can be quite cool compared to the rest of the hike so dress/pack accordingly. Overall, Helen Lake Trail offers beautiful views and is moderately difficult—suitable for experienced beginners.

on Helen Lake Trail

hiking
5 months ago

Spectacular hike. Gradual ascent so not difficult at all. Trail was busy on Saturday. Weather was perfect.

hiking
5 months ago

Loved this hike! I enjoyed the wooded portion at the beginning as much as the amazing vistas once we emerged above the tree line. Spectacular!

hiking
6 months ago

I went with my 14 year old son and 10 year old daughter. It was a very nice hike with lots of changing scenery. My daughter loved the streams we passed and the flowers and mushrooms. We started the hike at 3:45pm and finished it at 7:45. It was really nice. Wish we could have gone on a little bit it was too late. We saw the grizzly bear just off the path and made sure I made lots of noise on our way back. We also saw some other wildlife and was very nice weather for the day (Saturday). The incline at the start was a good incline for my daughter but she did good. She liked the hike more than moose mountain the week before. But my son liked both hikes a lot and wouldn’t say one was better over the other. Make sure you bring bear spray as I have heard this area is frequent with grizzly bears (heard this after the hike from a fellow experienced hiker).

on Helen Lake Trail

hiking
6 months ago

The trail head was very easy to find, there was signage and parking (overflow parking across the HWY). The trail starts off with a good incline, definitely enough to warm you up, but nothing too crazy. You then head out to a nice meadow, one of the most scenic trails I have been on. Took around an hour to reach Helen Lake. Take the time to do the Dolomite Trail, well worth the view!

hiking
6 months ago

Very nice hike that gets the heart rate going with a solid (not not unreasonable) incline for the first section before opening up in a beautiful valley leading to the lake. Of note are a few very small stream crossings that have good rock placements to help you out and lots of roots that require some attention at the start/end. Trail was quite busy when we visited (Saturday, 11am start) and the parking area was already full but we parked at the viewing spot for Bow Lake right near the entrance to the trailhead. Highly recommend tacking on at least part of the Dolomite Trail that takes you up to a fantastic viewing area above Lake Katherine!

hiking
6 months ago

One of the most beautiful scenic hikes! Alpine meadows, wild flowers, waterfalls, burnt forests. Good incline with a fair number of short but steep ascents so definitely not an “easy” hike for those of sedentary or average fitness level - if Johnston Canyon or Grassi Lakes Trail is your baseline for easy, Helen Lake would be moderate to tough. Several groups of hikers we passed to and from the lake warned us of grizzly sightings within 50 feet of the trail in the open meadow portion of the trail so we had to make a lot of noise for the last part of the trail. Bear spray is a must! Also it snowed lightly at the lake so bring warm wind proof layers.

Fabulous hike! Good incline for the first couple of kilometres but nothing too strenuous.

Beautiful hike. One of my top five, I loved every second. Gorgeous views all the way up. Meadows full of wildflowers and beautiful waterfalls. I was nervous about bears but there was enough people that it eased my mind- bear spray is a must.

hiking
6 months ago

Great Hike albeit fairly steep in some parts. Lots of wildlife on a trail and especially in the tundra where friendly hoary marmots come to greet you and lick your shoes to say hello ;) . Great panorama of the Bow valley and lake and crowfoot glacier along the way. There is also tons of wild flowers in the various meadows you pass during the hike during the June/July months.

Amazing hike! The snow has melted on the main trail but if you go on the upper lookout peak past the lake then beware that there still is some snow if you want the full experience. It is shallow and easy to traverse.

hiking
6 months ago

This is the most scenic hike I have ever been on out of the 30 or so ive done in the last decade. It is my second time hiking into helen lake and I could do it 100 more times and it would still be just as amazing. The hike itself is not too challenging. We hiked crypt lake 2 days before so we were still a bit sore from that. The beggining of the hike is the most challenging, but I believe this /to be manageable for most able bodied people. The trail continues to the right of helen lake to the southwest ridge of cirque peak. You need to do this portion of the hike! The views become tremendously more brilliant and you will have a view of a dolomite pass, watermelon peak and you can see the trail you walked in on and we managed to get a cell signal up top! All in all this hike is one of the best ive ever done and it is truly a treasure of the canadian rockies!!

hiking
6 months ago

Fantastic hike to Helen Lake and then to the ridge to the east. The snow has melted from the trail. The trail is wet with runoff but no problems hiking. The views are amazing, a very worthwhile hike. Lots of marmots to entertain the visitors. This is a busy trail.

e' un bel trail...pare davvero di essere sulle nostre Dolomiti...e' una gigantografia delle Dolomiti. Paesaggi e panorami molto belli e suggestivi. il Canada e' davvero immenso!

mountain biking
7 months ago

Fun trail to bike. Only went 13km total out and back. Amazing views of the lake and mountains

About half of the section down to the Bow River has turned into a creek, making it tough to navigate around in some parts. There’s a river crossing as well but it’s not really feasable till maybe much later in the year when water levels are low. I followed the Bow River downstream to get close to the lake (as seen on the map as another trail) but this “trail” kind of faded in and out throughout the hike. Ran into a lot of spider webs across the trail, ticks, and water. Probably won’t do this hike again.

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