Helen Lake Trail to Cirque Peak is a 16.1 kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Columbia-Shuswap A, British Columbia, Canada that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
16.1 km
ELEVATION GAIN
1,129 m
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wildlife

snow

hiking
1 month ago

The hike to Helen Lake is relatively easy/moderate for an experience hiker and offers beautiful views of Bow lake along the first 1.5 miles and then beautiful views of the adjacent mountains the rest of the hike. The lake was very pretty with beautiful mountain backdrops. The hike to the ridge line form the lake isn’t too bad, just steep and also offers very nice views. From there we turned right and submitted an easier “peak” to have a view out over what we just hiked. We then turned around and started the trek to Cirque Peak. I wouldn’t recommend doing that portion of the hike if you are scared of heights. I am a little bit and was able to manage the scary sections slowly and staying as far from the edge as possible. But there are a few sections that are more of a scramble then a hike. We also were climbing this while it was snowing so everything was a bit slick. Unfortunately we had to turn back 600m from the peak because the snow got to be too much, but during one break through of sunshine we could see the valley and the view was worth the effort! I will say the trail is difficult to see so follow the cairns people have built and when the “trail” splits stay to the right to keep going up.

hiking
1 month ago

Best super view in this area.
But it’s not a moderate trail for sure.
Don’t forget your stick.

hiking
1 month ago

Let me preface this review by saying this trail, in my opinion, should NOT be rated moderate. The hike to Helen Lake is moderate for sure, but to summit Cirque Peak is certainly difficult/ hard. I have read other websites that state the same, and an experienced hiker from the area coming down the mountain said so too.
Also, the trail is not on any hiking map that we saw including books and the map from the start of the hike, and no signage. We could see tracks up the mountain but no idea how to get there. We went to the right of the lake, up to where you climb Dolomite Pass and then turned left turned Cirque peak and followed what looked like a foot path.
That being said, we didn't actually make it to the 'top', we got to about 3/4 of the way up and being pretty novice hikers without poles decided it just wasn't safe to go to the top and have to come back down. But my god the views were incredible. If you have the strength and endurance to get up there, you need to. Unbeatable. You can see for miles around, so many lakes, mountains of all sizes shapes and color; just amazing! Best hike we did in Banff by far.
The hike up to the peak is extremely steep, and make sure whatever way you come up, go down it! We tried to find an 'easier' path down but ended up basically just going to a cliff edge, then having to reroute.
Bring bear spray as it is bear country and make lots of noise. Lots of chipmunks and marmots as well.

2 months ago

This is the best hike i have ever done... views are just unreal!

2 months ago

I went to the top back in 05.
It was a clear day in July or August.

Be sure to bring a sweater or a jacket though if you plan to summit. It was shorts and t-shirts at the bottom, but long sleeves all around at the top.

Trail is long. Dedicate the day to it and bring lunch and lots of water. I had 2 liters and it was only just enough.

Trail is suitable for sneakers if dry.

My group was mostly people who were fit, but had never hiked up a mountain before. This trail requires no special skills, but is going to put fitness to the test.

Views were spectacular.

I hope to go back.

hiking
2 months ago

Just did this today and WOW! So amazing. You walk through 2 miles of what I called “enchanted forest” then a ridge of meadows with wildflowers all around and then you cross a meadow and a water falls that look like the song of music. The switch backs to the ridge for the view are tough but not unbearable and the view is worth it! We did not do cirque peak and we consider ourselves pretty decent hikers. It was straight up about another 1700 feet.. we were content where we stopped. We left at 8am and only ran into 3 couples up the mountain then a bunch on the way back! I would go as early as possible. We didn’t see a bear but thought we heard one so bring bear spray! Lots of marmots too! Enjoy!

hiking
2 months ago

This was a great hike with a wonderful view at the peak. The last section (the actual climb up the peak) is rather strenuous and a bit of a scramble. Should probably be in decent condition to do that part.

hiking
2 months ago

Simply, read again David Kleinkopf review; same for me. It is definitly a hard hike because of the steepness of last portion. After second junction to lake Katherine, trail on your left is not well marked and cairns are not very helpfull, because you’ll find them everywhere... use downloaded map for this portion. Once on the ridge, path is quite clear: go to the top!

hiking
2 months ago

We’ve hiked all over the world and this hike definitely ranks as one of our top five! It has everything-beautiful vistas on the way up and on the way back, a waterfall, gorgeous lakes, phenomenal meadows full of wildflowers, playful marmots, a ptarmigan family and best of all the views from the top of the ridge are nothing short of jaw dropping. We were truly sorry we had to start down. The day was perfect, cool but almost no wind at the top. Great place for lunch. This is our fourth day hiking out of Banff and Lake Louise and have five days left. It will be hard to top today!!!’

hiking
3 months ago

Did this last August and planning to do it again this summer. I wish I had brought a quality wind breaker rather than a ‘light jacket’ for the trek to the peak. This wind picked up, there was still some snow and I don’t know how anyone wearing shorts survived. I also did not have poles and I plan to use poles next time. The views are incredible, well worth the challenge. Getting to the peak is significantly more difficult than the ridge, but if you think you can do it just do it!!

3 months ago

This is a truly beautiful trail, well worth the effort to get to the peak. Took two friends who are not from here and are not hikers and they struggled but one made it to the peak, the other one made it to the ridge, which also has stunning views. Would definitely recommend

hiking
3 months ago

This is an awesome trail. We didn’t go all the way up Cirque Peak due to the weather, but the trail to the ridge of Helen lake offers world class views and a wide variety of terrain along the way.

3 months ago

Amazing

This is my second favorite hike. Its a bit of a grind to get to 9500ft but the views alone are well worth it. You hike for some time threw meadows and trees . Then into the open Alpine were you follow the valley before heading right up to the top. The views alone are breathtaking.
PS I didn't start All Trails until I was at the top oppssss

hiking
Sunday, October 01, 2017

Sep 30, 2017 - Medium challenging hike rewarded by amazing views

hiking
Friday, September 08, 2017

We tried to do this hike last week. I don't understand how some of the activities associated here day 3.5 hours moving time and 7.5 total time... This will probably take you 6 hours moving time. It's a long hike. That being said, we went only out to the ridge above Helen Lake and it was so very worth it. Amazing views even from there! Next time I'll be in the area I'll plan better for the whole hike, the views from the top must be stunning.

hiking
Friday, September 01, 2017

Absolutely stunning! Ran into our first grizzly on this trail. The hike to Helen lake was filled with wildflowers, (mid August) and the scramble to the summit was so rewarding. Don't forget to look back on your way up!

hiking
Sunday, August 27, 2017

I hiked in the Alps, North Cascades, Hawaii, Yosemite, Patagonia and bunch of other places. This is the best hike I have done in my life considering the effort.

Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

It is not easy but incredibly rewarding - 360 views of bow lake, mount hector, waputik range and bunch of other mountains I cannot name. I am not super fit and it took me three hours and forty five minutes to go up (with a lot of breaks to take photos). You must definitely bring polls, it just makes everything easier.

Unlike most hikes, the way down is also incredible as you get to enjoy the views for two thirds of your way down. Unexpectedly, it is also easy on the knees as you can slide down the scree without any impact on your knees.

Pick a clear day to go there. STOP READING THIS REVIEW AND JUST GO THERE!!!

hiking
Monday, August 21, 2017

Difficult but well worth it.

hiking
Thursday, August 17, 2017

One of my favourite hikes this year! You get a bit of everything - elevation, views, lakes, wildflowers!! Very easy start and moderate steep scramble for the last 1km. Look for the inukshuks to help guide you on the remaining 2km before reaching the summit. Bring some extra layers for the wind at the top!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Amazing Views.

hiking
Monday, July 24, 2017

Great hike, plenty of variation.

hiking
Sunday, July 16, 2017

Easy scramble, lots of lakes.

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