Middle Sister Trail

HARD 18 reviews
#11 of 31 trails in

Middle Sister Trail is a 17.1 kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Canmore, Alberta, Canada that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

17.1 km
1,521 m
Out & Back

dog friendly



nature trips

rock climbing






wild flowers





washed out

The Middle Sister summit is a challenging and rewarding scramble nestled between Big Sister and Little Sister, overlooking Canmore to the North and the Bow Valley running East/West. As you enter the base of the Sister's Bowl you will see the Middle Sister faux summit. Don't be fooled. You've a long way to go. Stop for a bite a basecamp and keep going. The view is well worth the plod.

This trail is much better than the reviews give it credit for. You will have to climb through a destroyed river bed for the first portion because of the floods but, for me, that was super fun. you get to pick your own way and cross the stream a few times. If you want more of a path hug the left side going up. Views at the top were impeccable. The whole thing took me 8 hours. would gladly do again.

1 month ago

Quite challenging with no trail for a significant portion of the hike. The views from the top plus the alpine meadow made it worth it though.

1 month ago

This trail was a challenge from the beginning, as it is relatively unmarked and hard to know where to start. We turned off highway 1 at the 3 sisters parkway, took the first left to continue onto the 3 sisters parkway and followed that road (straight through the roundabout) until the road was blocked off for construction. The trail you are looking for on google maps will be called Stewart Creek Trail (this leads to Hope peak, or the middle sister). You can park on the residential streets around this area, and continue on foot past the construction blockage onto the dirt road. You will follow this for 1-2 km or so, going past part of the golf course. You will see a dirt road to the left that is the start of the trail. When we went it said do not cross across it with a chain, but I think this was to deter trucks and ATVs from going this way. This will lead you to the creekbed that you will follow for most of the hike (follow the river in the direction of the big sister). There are red tags that show you how where some of the washed out trail used to be, and you can go on them, but they should always be relatively parallel to the creek/creekbed. I only remember one instance where you had to go on the flagged trail to get past a waterfall. Inuksuks will be spaced out along the trail so you know you are going the right way. There will be some parts where the river splits, stay to the right in these cases. The creekbed will dry up, but keep following the rocks. When you reach the end of the river this is where the trail becomes a bit more confusing, some people crossed over the snow to get to the beginning of the scree climb, we climbed a rough trail that led us up a large hill on the left, and eventually to a meadow. From here, you do a scramble up the mountain to the false summit. The trail is easier to see once you get further up, but it is a long climb from here. You want to curve up to the right as you move up the mountain, we walked toward the huge snow patch on the right hand side, and you should see a small trail around here. The scree turns from grey to a burnt orange. We did the whole hike in about 11.5 hours, but the way up is by far the longest. The view is worth all the trouble though, you feel like you're on top of the world. Good luck!!

trail running
2 months ago

Did it today, conditions were great, quite easy one, there is only one section, which is a bit steeper, all the rest is not bad.. Beautiful views from the top, nicely spent day..

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Trail was easy to find we started down a "construction" road that led to an atv type trail that connected us with the creek bed that we followed alllllll the way to the end for about 7km. Then it was a couple km of scree to the top. The first 7k were gradual elevation gain then the last bit was steeper. Not bad for more experienced hikers but might feel long for beginners. Nice views from the top. I rated this as 3 stairs just because I found the creek bed 7k pretty boring after a while. Not sure I would rush to do this one again but was nice to check off the list.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Definitely easy for experienced hikers/walkers. But this must be rated from moderate to hard (summer or fall). Yesterday, Sunday 20 November 2016, couple of buddies went straight ahead to the summit, and I was so sore (my feet, legs, knees, shoulders, by just reaching as far as middle of the mountain trail to the summit. Didn't want to risk it, you know what will happen if you're going to be so sore up there { 8 to 12 below and windy (feels like 15 below)}. Don't skip your snack, my suggestion, take a bite every 1 to 1.5 hours and drink water (2 to 3 liters and/or bottle of energy drink), so when you hit the mountain trail head, you're full and hydrated still. We did it in about 8-9 hours. I'm sure you have good shoes still, trail crampons should work, but semi-rigid type is recommended (I have 12-point for general mountaineering) when there's snow, you may switch from using your boot/shoes to putting back your crampons on. Always bring your headlamps (with fresh or extra batteries) in the fall and winter, I did not bring mine, what was I was thinking, so I was walking down in between 2 buddies so I can see the trail in the creek bed. And I have some photos for you too. :-)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Since the flood in 2013 the trail is pretty well wiped out. Once you get to the base of the scramble the hike gets better. Once you reach the summit. The views are spectacular. About 1/2 to 3/4 of the trail is picking your way up the creek bed one boulder at a time.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The flood of 2013 has washed away the trail, so you now follow the creek bed up. Very rocky, be ready to pick your way up to the top.

16 days ago

16 days ago

3 months ago

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Monday, June 29, 2015

Saturday, August 10, 2013