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happymz Aug 4th, 2004 08:30 AM

Your favorite hike in Jasper/ Banff/ Yoho National Parks....
Hi - planning a trip for September - have limited time, and am looking to focus on a few good hikes. If you had to pick one, what is your absolute favorite hike, that can be completed in between 1-8 hours, in these parks? Thanks!

bob_brown Aug 4th, 2004 10:18 AM

Of the doable ones in terms of a day, the Iceline Trail in Yoho is a good one.

The top one, however, is the Whaleback Trail, but doing it in one day is a stretch unless you are in really good shape.

The top combination would be the Whaleback to the Iceline and back.

The Whaleback alone is about a 12 t0 13 mile excursion. If you combine the two, it is more like 17 miles.

For the Whaleback, one starts at the Takkakaw Campground (walk in) and goes north up the Yoho Valley to Twin Falls, then up up and away over the Whaleback, then down about 1,000 feet very steeply to the Yoho Valley and back to your car.

There are all kinds of deviations from this route.

If you want to combine the two, I suggest starting by going to Twin Falls, traversing the Whaleback, descending the 1,000 feet to the Little Yoho (rather than ascending it) and taking the Celeste Lake Cutoff Trail to the Iceline Trail near its highest point. From there you follow south to where the trail descends to the valley near the Whiskey Jack Hostel close to Takkakaw Falls.

Let me suggest you acquire a copy of The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide by Brian Patton and Bart Robinson.
It is available from Canadian sources on the web. I bought a copy last month at the bookstore in Lake Louise village.

I posted sources for the book earlier in the year. You can find the book and order it from:

Also, a good combo hike is Lake Louise to the end of the trail and return via the Beehive.

But if you get the hiker guide, you will see dozens of opportunities.

Barblab Aug 4th, 2004 01:06 PM

In Jasper don't miss doing the Maligne Canyon trail starting at the Sixth Bridge parking lot and hiking up the canyon. It is 5 miles round trip and really beautiful.

ShutRbug Aug 4th, 2004 10:41 PM

My favorite "long" hike was the Sulphur Skyline trail (9.6 km return)at Miette Hotsprings in Jasper Nat'l Park. It's about 42 km east of the town of Jasper. It was near the end of September - I really enjoyed soaking in the hotsprings pools afterwards! My favorite short walks were the trails around Moraine Lake. I went back to look at this beautiful sight three times. I was fortunate to have 13 days in the parks.

R Aug 5th, 2004 02:33 AM

Highlights from our two trips there were the teahouse hikes at Lake Louise. You can combine them for a challenging hike, or just hit one of them. It's a uniquely Canadian (or at least, not American) hiking experience...with a delightful, rustic teahouse w/delicious bread & desserts waiting for you, at the midway point.
Both the Plain of Six Glaciers & Agnes Teahouse hikes are a blast!

We also enjoyed the Larch Valley hike at Moraine Lake & Consolation Lakes (I think that's what it was called). Last year, there was more grizzly activity here, so we went w/guides from Moraine Lake Lodge. If that's still the case, you might want to inquire before planning on decent hikes they had a min group size limit at the time.

Whatever the case, it's just gorgeous too to stroll to the end of both of these lakes, too.

mms Aug 5th, 2004 05:22 AM

I have to agree on the tea house hikes! We did it last summer, going from the Chateau to the Lake Agnes Tea House, up to the Big Beehive, then over to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House on down to the path along the lake which heads back to the Chateau. It gets busy, but just go early. It takes most of the day, but is definitely worth it.

The other hike we did was starting at Johnston Canyon. The lower and upper falls are very pretty, and the walk to both is very short and easy...but continue on to a trail that leads up to the ink pots.

We did both with our children, who were ages 9 and 12 and they were fine. They are experienced hikers/backpackers though.

cmcfong Aug 5th, 2004 04:40 PM

Lake MacArthur trail in Lake O'Hara

hibiscushouse Aug 6th, 2004 03:22 AM

Our family hiked Consolation lake and really enjoyed it. We ended up in this area the day after Canada Day, which was a Friday. Not the best choice of days to visit 8-|, but that's just the way the schedule ended up. Moraine Lake and Lake Louise were packed with people, but after we left the masses to start our Consolation Lake hike, we nearly had the entire hike to ourselves...only coming across two other couples along the way.

bob_brown Aug 6th, 2004 10:10 AM

Particularly the Highline Trail to McArthur. Or, if you have the energy,
Opabin to Oesa via the Yukness Ledge.
I could go on a bit with this.
Get the hiking guide and spend a few hours picking a hike.

I could also throw in the Iceline Trail to Kwetinok Pass. But that is a bit much for one day. It would take you all of 8 hours to do it unless you are a marathon runner.
Those are not exactly city park strolls I am discussing.
The Plain of Six Glaciers is relatively easy, but it does have some uphill to it.
The Beehive can be a bit of a challenge.
My son, age 27 and a racquet ball and French horn player with great breath control, came back from that one red in the face and out of breath. Mom and dad elected not to do that one that day.

bob_brown Aug 7th, 2004 07:22 AM

I am talking about going to top of the Big Beehive, after hiking to the end of the Plain of 6 Glaciers trail. In all, it is a 15 K circuit with an elevation gain of 1,700 feet.
The elevation gain comes in spurts so to speak.

Engaged Aug 11th, 2004 09:27 PM

Johnson's canyon in Banff kicks butt. Uphill all the way, two gorgeous multicoloured waterfalls and "paint pots" at the top (pools of water each a different vivid colour from the minerals in the ground).

Lovejoy Aug 13th, 2004 10:10 AM

Engaged, I think you mean the Ink Pots at the top of Johnson's Canyon.I hiked there last week and I don't recall the different springs as "Multicolored."They were more all slightly different variations of torquorise in color.

laurafromtexas Aug 14th, 2004 07:28 AM

Our family enjoyed two shorter hikes near Jasper: Mt. Edith Cavell (mini icebergs floating in the lake beneath 3 glaciers) and Old Fort Point Lookout (where we were literally 15 yards from a huge bull elk on the trail and enjoyed an incredible lookout over Jasper). Each hike lasted less than 2 hours.

Molly2 Aug 15th, 2004 05:44 AM

I think that Bob is a fantastic resource for hiking tips. He has much experience in this area. I would concur that the Iceline Trail is magnificent. we wished that we had had time to do the Whaleback. Besides the medium-longer trails aforementioned, my husband and I also very much enjoyed Helen Lake on the Parkway for wildflowers and views.

Among the shorter trais, we loved the Mt. Edith Cavell Trail mentioned by laura, and Parker Ridge along the Parkwat {great glacial views}.

bob_brown Aug 15th, 2004 07:48 AM

Literally speaking the woods are full of memorable long and short hikes.
My very limited knowledge comes from some experience. But the best source of comprehensive information is The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide by Brian Patton and Bart Robinson. The book is now in its 7th edition. The latest edition is even more refined than the 6th, which was itself very good.

The book is available from Canadian sources. I got my last copy at the Mountain Lights Bookstore in Lake Louise Village. The email address is [email protected]

Or at

The last I looked Amazon did not have it. And the Adventureous Traveler store is now part of Amazon and has very little of international interest.

bob_brown Aug 15th, 2004 07:51 AM

OOPS make that
Only one rock, but many books.
It is set up for web business.

happymz Sep 8th, 2004 08:23 AM

Hi, thanks for all the tips! We are 28 & 31 respectively, work out (run) pretty regularly but are not marathon runners (or french horn players :-) ) We are spending four full days in the area, not counting our arrival & departure days, and we will be based at Lake Louise. We currently plan to spend the days as follows (weather permitting!):
Day 1 - AM, Johnston Canyon hike to Inkpots, PM in/near Banff townsite
Day 2 - full or half day hike LL area to Tea House (1 or both or maybe Plain of 6 glaciers + Beehive)
Day 3 - Icefields Parkway all day with hopefully short hike in middle, maybe Mt. Edith Cavell
Day 4 - full or half day hike - Larch Valley or Consolation Lakes.

Since we aren't staying in Jasper, we won't really be able to do any decent hikes in that area; though I realize Glacier and particularly Yoho is closer to LL, we will probably focus on the LL area, though we do plan stops in those parks on our departure day (day 5) to see at minimum the Natural Bridge & Takkakaw falls. Any particular short (3 mi max) hikes you would recommend in those parks?

We leave any last tips are appreciated before then...and we'll certainly let you know how it goes upon our return!

Molly2 Sep 8th, 2004 03:58 PM

I think you know that Mt. Edith Cavell is not near the center of the Icefield Parkway, but very close to Jasper. It is one of my two favorite short trails. You can elect to hike only to the lake {pond?} which is only an hour or less, if you're pressed for time. It is quite spectacular! If you can manage it, evening affords fewer people, and more opportunity to see wildlife enroute. We saw a bear with her cub, els and bighorn sheep. As I mentioned before,my other favorite shortish hike is Parker Ridge, but I don't think it's exactly in the center. Perhaps Bob or others have some good suggestions.

Birdie Sep 14th, 2004 01:55 PM

There is a short hike on the Western side of the parkway to a creek with rapids rushing through a canyon. Its not too far outside of LL. I can't remember the name (anyone?) but it is marked on the Parkway map and had very few people.

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