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best hikes in western canada

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hi everyone,

i'm from australia and travelling to western canada for 10 days before moving on to the rest of north america. not long i know - and i want to make the most of it. probably flying into vancouver in mid august (but can also fly into calgary) - what's the best hike/combination of hikes in a 10-day stretch? i'm a keen bushwalker, and the photos i've seen just blow me away. and i don't know anyone else travelling, so i want to join a group...but not a lodge guided tour if you know what i mean. any suggestions?

thanks guys

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    I have not been to Vancouver(it is on my list) but you could easily spend 10 days hiking in the Banff and Jasper areas. It is a hikers paradise. Our last visit in 2008 was 10 days and we could have stayed longer. I do have a trip report here from that visit.

    You might be able to find some hiking partners by contacting the Alpine Club of Canada. Their clubs are listed on One club's website:

    There is also a hostel in Lake Louise where I imagine you would be able to join some hikers. I have not stayed there but it gets good reviews for travellers who stay there in the summer.

    We have only day hiked in the area but do stay in Lake Louise because it is closer to the hikes we enjoy. There are 2 hikes that start at Lake Louise that you could do alone because they are very busy: The Plain of Six Glaciers and Lake Agnes Teahouse. We actually combined the two trails one visit, for a long day hike.

    There are several hikes by Moraine Lake, which is close to Lake Louise, but both times we have been there, you were required to hike in groups of 6 because of bear activity. They have a chalkboard at the trailhead where you can post your name and meet up with a group.

    I also suggest you try to hike at Lake O'Hara. You have to call at 8AM three months to the day before your trip to get a reservation on the bus that takes hikers to Lake O'Hara. That may be difficult from Australia. Since you are alone, you should probably be able to go standby and get on the bus. I would think you would be able to find hiking partners on the bus. Those with reservations to stay at the lodge/cabins are guaranteed a spot on the bus. It is very expensive to stay there---one of my dream trips.

    The drive on the Icefields Parkway to Jasper is spectacular and there are a lot of stops, overlooks, waterfalls and trails. We try to do one trail on our drive to Jasper and one trail when we return. I love the Parker Ridge trail. You could also do this trail alone.

    Jasper is also wonderful. It will be less crowded than Banff/Lake Louise. We lvoe walking Maligne Canyon and driving our to Maligne Lake. There is a wonderful drive up to Angel Glacier with it's short trail and a trail through the meadow.

    The hikes in this entire area are amazing. The bible for hikers is the Brian Patton Canadian Rockies Trail Guide.

    Have a wonderful visit. Where else are you travelling. I would sure love to travel to Australia and New Zealand. My husband won't even fly to Hawaii because of the length of the flight. Bummer.

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    As the previous post mentions, there are many, many hiking options available in Western Canada. If you fly into Vancouver, consider joining up with the Vancouver, Vancouver Island or Whistler sections of the Alpine Club of Canada. If you fly into Calgary, there are 5 sections of the ACC in Alberta, including Calgary and Rocky Mountain sections. All of our sections offer weekend trips and outings for climbers and hikers of all abilities.

    We also operate 22 backcountry huts, including ones at Lake O'Hara and in the Jasper area mentioned in the previous post and two front country Hostels in Canmore and Lake Louise. Our website ( has information regarding membership, hiking guides and maps and facility bookings which you may find helpful for planning your trip.

    Have a great adventure and we hope to see you.

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