Helen Lake Trail

MODERATE 62 reviews
#22 of 130 trails in

Helen Lake Trail is a 11.4 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Improvement District No. 9, Alberta, Canada that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

11.4 km
535 m
Out & Back

dogs on leash




horseback riding

rock climbing


trail running







wild flowers







On the Icefields parkway, park in the Helen lake parking across from crowfoot glacier parking overview. Nice trail into the meadows, little bit of fishing in the lake for small brook trout 6 inches.

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

5 days ago

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.

6 days 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.

8 days ago

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.

8 days 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!!

9 days 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.

10 days ago

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!

1 month ago

What an amazing trail with rewarding beautiful views after only a short period of hiking! The trail is muddy and snowy and slippery in a few sections still, and the last kilometre is all snow covered, at times knee deep. The lake remains frozen, but it was all still breathtaking!

1 month ago

Went yesterday and almost got to the lake. Last mile was waist deep snow—we followed someone’s snow steps until they stopped! Might be melted next week! Otherwise gorgeous lookouts on the way up and fairly easy ascents.

9 months ago

Great to take someone who aren't entirely sure of their fitness, with a good mix of steeper ascensions with a short flater spots so we can keep going for longer periods.

9 months ago

Gorgeous trail. I could hike this trail all the time and not get tired of it. It was a bit icy and snowy when we did it (late Sept) but still fine with good hiking boots. We were going to go beyond the lake to Cirque Peak but the weather shifted when we got to the lake and started to snow so we headed back down. Still entirely worthwhile to just go to the lake. Beautiful scenery the whole way. Normally I prefer loop trails but this was so pretty I don't mind the out and back route. Easy amount of effort for the views on this trail. It's a new favourite.

9 months ago

One of the most beautiful hikes on the Ice-fields parkway. Easy hike to Helen Lake then a moderate hike to the above ridge. Incredible views. We went a step further today and did Cirque Peak, in 2 feet of snow. What an I incredible experience. Harder yes, but definitely worth it.

10 months ago

Beautiful day, top of cirque the Hoary Marmot was chirping us non stop! Next time up the Dolomite ridge.

10 months ago

Very nice trail with some quite steep climbs.

11 months ago

This is my favorite hike in the Rockies! It only takes about an hour before you reach the meadow and the spectacular views. There's some steep sections but nothing too difficult. Once you reach the lake you're going to want to climb the headwall. It only takes about half hour or so and the panoramic views are simply amazing! It took me about 4 hours return which made for a great day hike. I'd definitely recommend this hike.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Was tying for Dolomite Pass and Cirque peak but a thunder storm rolled in, so only made it to Helen Lake. Small section of Avalanche debris on the way up, otherwise trail is in great condition

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Great trail although there an avalanche went across one portion leaving some snow and fallen trees that partially block the trail. Cirque peak is well worth the additional effort from the lake but it is steep and very loose rock.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

This is an amazing hike. Did it last weekend. Helen lake itself is still frozen. The final 1 km trail to the lake is through sugary snow, as expected from Spring weather in the mountain. The view from the meadows are very rewarding. As people said, there are lots of wildflower already. But be prepared for some muddy hike followed by melting icy conditions. Definitely one of the best hike from Icefield Parkway

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Great hike, snow for the final 1.5km through the meadow. Lots of wildflowers already.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Hiked this on Thursday June 8 2017. Got to the alpine level but was a foot deep of snow. Turned back as could not make out the trail. Also, there was an avalanche in the winter which will require you to navigate through tress at the 2.5 km mark. Was ok due to lots of packed snow allowing you to walk on. Suspect it will be a bit more tricky when the snow melts as well as a bit more movement from all the broken trees. For sure made it an unique trail to tackle

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

highly recommend continuing up summit for spectacular views.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Very nice hike. Starts with an uphill slog thru the forest with views of crows foot glacier to your right. Then thru meadows full of wild flowers until you get to the lake.

Of course the downhill home is nice

Start early to avoid crowds

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Good views on the lake and on the top of the ridge. We can see also Bow Lake in the middle of the trail. Easy hike with rewarding views.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

My first hike out in the parks. Loved the views of the mountains once you get near Lake Helen - which itself was lackluster. Despite that the views throughout were breathtaking. Oh, watch out for the grizzly around the hike up, I had to scare it off a few times before it left me alone. Bring the bear spray 110%

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

One of the best hikes of the year ! Do not limit yourself to Helen Lake. Move onwards and upwards to Dolomite Pass where the real views are beyond words. We actually hiked 35 k this day and it was worth ever step.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Helen Lake itself is a bit of a disappointment, though the path up is beautiful once you emerge from the woods. The highlight for us was continuing on past the lake to Dolomite Pass where you get an amazing view of the valley you just traversed, including Helen Lake below. The other option as you pass Helen is Cirque Peak (for Cirque you bear left at a split past the lake while for Dolomite Pass you bear right) which looks intense (steep scramble) but spectacular.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Wild flowers! Keep going and challenge Cirque Peak if you can. Really great views. Could be amongst the best in the world.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Great views, nice gradual elevation gain, got real chilly at the top though!

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