Grotto Mountain Trail

HARD 60 reviews
#2 of 5 trails in

Grotto Mountain Trail is a 8.9 kilometer loop trail located near Canmore, Alberta, Canada that offers scenic views. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking and trail running. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
8.9 km
ELEVATION GAIN
1,352 m
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

trail running

views

2 days ago

Did it clockwise. Big mistake! Beautiful up to the top and along the ridge is pretty remarkable. It was the loose rocks and lack of trail on the way down that ruined it for us.

7 days ago

long but wonderful hike.

hiking
23 days ago

I absolutely fell in love with Grotto! My favourite hike to date. We didn’t do the loop but rather walked up Grotto Ridge Trail, then walked along the ridge at the top to the peak. We made it a loop by descending the opposite side and following a ‘trail’ marked as Grotto Hard Way. I wouldn’t recommend doing the loop, it’s shorter (and safer) as an out and back, and you get beautiful views much longer.

We took our dog (very good hiker) and she did great! If you are bringing a pet, be aware of the sharp rocks on the descent and bring lots of water. Gets very hot in the summer up there. I wouldn’t recommend doing the loop with a dog, the scramble on the descent is extremely steep and bigger/less experienced dog hikers (lol) would have a hard time.

24 days ago

Very steep the whole way up. Definitely bring poles!

Some good views but wouldn’t do it again.

hiking
27 days ago

Did the loop counterclockwise (taking the direct route up and ACC trail down). At the summit it was quite windy and cold, so be prepared with jackets! Amazing view at the top- you can see a sea of mountain peaks that just stretch out beneath you. There is also a small “window” to the left of the summit which was also pretty cool. Taking the ACC route down, we walked along the ridge before dipping into the trees once more.

hiking
27 days ago

Amazing views on an extremely strenuous hike.

When they rated this hike hard they meant it - over 4000 feet of elevation in about two miles beat us up (we’re practiced hikers and climbers). If you do the loop, definitely go counter clockwise as is mapped here. The upper half of the climb is essentially all extremely steep scrambling, quite a bit of loose rock, not for the faint of heart.

We did take our dog on this hike (solid hiker) and we would not recommend to others taking their dogs in future. The loose rock at the top is a bit scary and there were sections where I had to assist him up or down vertical spots (under ten feet)

That all said, unreal hike. The traverse on the ridge was extremely fun with 360 degree views. If you’re feeling perky, do this hike.

hiking
1 month ago

A beautiful and varied hike that had a lot of nice elements to it. What better way to experience Canada Day than to see all 4 seasons in one day and take in the glorious vistas throughout.

Started in the valley bottom and did the loop starting from the eastern side. It appeared to be steeper and more scramble-y on the way up to the tree line than the west side seems to have been and think that may have been a good choice to make the descent more manageable. Went from sun and sweat at the bottom to rain and wind and even snow near the summit - had to take refuge under one of the small east-facing cliffs by the approach to the ridgeline. It all cleared up as quickly as it blew in and we were rewarded with stunning views at the top. The descent was nice and it was a real treat to transition back down to valley bottom and see the changing flora and observe the douglas firs, indian paintbrush and wild rose among others all while being serenaded by the swainson's thrush. Highly recommend - don't forget to stretch though or your quads and calves will be talking to ya the next day!

hiking
1 month ago

Packed this mountain yesterday through the direct route. Although it was very close to Canmore, it wasn’t a popular object as I was the only person hiking on the mountain in that particular day. The trail was easy to follow until the echo canyon crossing. Around ten to fifteen minutes up from the crossing, the trail fainted and I reached the first mini rock band where I had to walk to a rock corner beside the canyon cliff to pass through it. But fortunately, I didn’t feel that exposed at this place. There were several other mini rock bands above the first one. The trail was not super easy to follow between each of them, so need to pay attention to foot prints on soil and pole scratches on rocks. One difficulty I met below tree line was a short but steep scree gully at around the half way point. The ascent was slow so patience was required. But the good news was that the top of the gully was only two mini rock bands away from tree line where you could observe the false summit. Few cairns and a trail marker were spotted between them. The scree slope above tree line was more nasty than many other easy scrambles. Above a clear grass band, even many huge blocks of rock were not stable so cautions were required especially on the way down. Because there were many screes and mini rock bands on this very faint trail below tree line, it won’t be wise to do it in wet condition. Moreover, if you climb up through the ACC route, I would not suggest you to take this direct route down unless someone in your group has ascended this route before.

1 month ago

Great for working on your endurance. I took the ACC route up. Not technical, but as I said above, be prepared for a constant never ending up hill slog. (You are hiking up a mountain afterall).
I would rate this as an intermediate hike as I found it wasn't technical, just long and WELL worth it.

hiking
2 months ago

Good scramble, nothing too difficult. The ridge walk along the top is a highlight so we recommend doing the whole loop rather than up + down. Gets cold and windy at the top even on nice days so bring gloves if you’re using poles. All in all good day hike

3 months ago

This hike had it all today. Intense elevation gain going up. Waist deep snow mixed in with the scree that had us falling through non stop. Melting snow on the way down turned the decent into a sketchy mud filled mess. This was one ass kicking hike today but the views throughout are amazing especially at the top. Definitely one to do again this year.

3 months ago

Did the loop today in clockwise direction. Definitely snow on the exposed shoulders. We were early enough to be able to stay on the surface of the snow but not the case going down on the other side. Postholing and a sketchy decent with massive rocks under deep snow. Amazing view!

hiking
3 months ago

Waist deep snow on shoulder and we didn’t bring snowshoes...

If anyone lost sunglasses on the upper trail today I left them hanging on a tree at the trail head just to the left of the garbage bins.

hiking
3 months ago

We tried to ascend from the scramblers route on April 21st. It required good traction. It is ok until you get to the exposed areas above the treeline. The snow is thick and soft, the part long and strenuous. We eventually made the call to turn around just before the summit due to very strong winds hurling frozen rain at us. I'd recommend giving this hike a few weeks to melt off before trying.

5 months ago

beautiful beginning to a relentless climb! understatement, I plan on making this my first hike of the next season.
you climb and climb and climb stop take a break.... Those last few hours of going up and you still have few more hours of going up! wonderful hike

hiking
6 months ago

pardon my language but this mountain was an absolute b**** to climb. really steep and challenging, but the view at the top is worth while.

9 months ago

Very tough trail but beautiful, little bit of snow at the top yesterday. Recommend to take the left path to go up and down. The path to go down using the loop is too sketchy. Also, try to go down fast (baby steps type of running) it is easier that way, and use the rocky areas instead of the trail at the summit, since at the top,it is snowy and very slippery.

hiking
10 months ago

Absolutely freezing. Took the course clockwise, quite a bit of snow on the ridge to the summit. Had to do a bit of dangerous climbing (everything covered in snow). Couldn't complete the loop (once we got to the summit, the downhill was completely covered in snow). We returned down the way we came!

The climb was awesome (one of the steepest ascents I've done). Be careful with the snow... Wind gusts in the negative temps...

hiking
11 months ago

I always considered myself as a season hiker for the past several years. I typically hiked about 2 to 3 times a year. By far, this is the most difficult hike I've had to deal with. It's very much a scramble every step of the way 15, 20 mins from the trail head.and the direction is very difficult to follow. I think this had to be with scrambles path people had to deal with. So, it appear hikers made their own trails to avoid scrambles. I would have to say this hike is more for extreme hiker. I would not recommend average hiker for this mountain. If you are. Be prepare to bring a lot of water, proper hiking boot. Preferable with ankle support. A hiking sticks is also a very good option.

11 months ago

Grotto Mountain was definitely one of the most difficult hikes we have done this summer. We descended the same way we went up which seemed to be the way everyone was doing it. Difficult steep descent. Stunning views from the top, lots of exposure so bring warm clothing!

11 months ago

Awesome hike to the top. difficult to come down. challenging but worth it!

hiking
Thursday, July 27, 2017

Went on a 30C day. By far the hardest hike this year. Do it!!

hiking
Sunday, July 23, 2017

A nice work out with great views as the rewards. We did this yesterday through the ACC route so we won't miss the after tree lines' views. The winds blew crazy. At some way this helped blowing the smokes (caused by Banff fires) however in the other hand, this made difficult to stand still when we were walking on the ridge to the true summit. After all, I really recommend this hike.

hiking
Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Amazing hike! Complete the loop solo starting from the right side. Not as much scrambling as I was thinking. Get views at summit and amazing ridge line to walk if you to the Loop.

hiking
Monday, May 22, 2017

Great Rocky Mountain hike. Steep gains on the way up will get your cardio up for sure. The direct summit routes can be hard to stay too as not a lot of traffic. I climbed it on a weekend and saw one other party on the summit ridge. Passed goats on the way up at close proximity. All and all a great hike. Choose your route on descent with care. I ran into two technical sections that i had bypassed on the ascent.

trail running
Wednesday, August 17, 2016

We hiked up the less busy climbers route which is a fancy way of saying "go straight up the mountain and enjoy it" and there are few people on the trail which is great! You arrive on the east summit ridge and can do a trail run along the ridge to the west which has great footing. A few ups for climbing but it's great. Did a slower round trip in 4:29 for 15.66kms starting at the ACC centre (parked by the firewood pile). We ascended into the clouds which was nice, easy trail to see at the top. The ACC route is a bit of a slog on the west side and up and down same route. Definitely run the ridge, so worth it!

It's the Rockies and this is an awesome hike!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

quite the scramble in the winter. crampons and ice axes needed. what a blast though

hiking
Thursday, July 24, 2014

You have four starting points which lead to two routes up to the summit ( NW summit, Centre real summit with ABS capsule to record your achievement, SE summit.) Cougar creek past the debris fence is one and Horseshoe loop as the second start you out on the NW route. The Alpine Club HQ trail as the third will start out kind of central and join the Cougar creek trail 3/4 of the way up to the NW summit and then moderate incline traverse to centre summit. From the SE you can #4 access from the Rat's Nest Cave parking lot. Cave trail and SE summit trail separate at the power line. Cave trail is well use and dog legs down power line and then left back up hill. Summit trail directly crosses power line and continues uphill and in comparison to the cave trail looks unused. Towards the top you will either angle right to SE summit or angel left toward the centre. This mnt. can be done in a circuit if you have two modes of transportation waiting for you at either end. The trail has few switchbacks as it likes to head straight up. Elevation gain of 1365m in 5.7klm (rating 4.2) but most of the gain is in about 3.3klm with an average incline rating of 2.4 now that is a leg burner. Trail in the summer is hard pack with little lose surface pebbles acting as roller bearings make the descent slippery. Hiking poles come in handy. You're not likely to be alone yet it is not a very busy trail - ((Dah it is 2.4 rated for a stretch. A 45* angle is rated at 2)) Good workout, take lots of breaks the views are terrific. Geology is amazing. On the SE route watch for sea shells and petrified barnacles in the rock bands at, can you believe, 2400m (8000ft.)

hiking
Saturday, May 25, 2013

There's two ways of doing this mountain take the second trail up and stay to the left or go the far right I went up to the left and came down the far right. I was told this was Farley easy but became aware that this is fairly step and just pick a slow pace and take breaks the first hour and a half is the hardest and then it becomes easier make sure you bring lots of water and your bear mace and a snack. I enjoyed every minute of this climb up and till I noticed I had two ticks stuck on me.

hiking
2 days ago

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