by Matt Mosteller
Summertime is for looking beyond valley trails, stepping out into the alpine for adventure and discovering elevated views. The Canadian Rockies region is famous for big rocky spires and a bounty of ridgelines and dramatic views which welcome in those other needed inputs. The perfect place for calm and reflection. Day pack ready, let’s put our boots on and hit these trails in and around the Canadian Rockies to let nature massage our brains.
Golden, British Columbia
Let the Gondola do the heavy lifting, as it whisks you from valley bottom to mountaintop, at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, where you’ll find yourself high in the alpine with a variety of trails starting here. You’ll be greeted by panoramic views of mountain peaks in every direction. Starting out at 7,700 feet, try out Terminator Ridge hike. This 3km route, gently drops down to a saddle, before ascending up to the T2 Summit, an optimal place for your eyes to paint their own mountain mural. The end of the trail has views spanning across the big peaks of Glacier National Park and Banff National Park, as well as down to one of the largest wetlands in North America.
Add this: Take one of North America’s first destination Via Ferrata routes to experience hanging out on a rock wall – while fully secure, of course. This guided adventure at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort will certainly top your summer thrill list.
Kimberley, British Columbia
First steps of the morning are strolling through the vehicle-free plaza in search of craft coffee and baked goodness. Before heading out, make sure you have a vehicle that's up for a steep old mining road to the trailhead. Taking a short but steep trail to Lakit Lookout, this is a beautiful lunch spot with jaw-dropping views in all directions. For those more experienced in scrambling, the high ridgeline beckons from here. For many, the old fire lookout provides shelter from the elements and is a coveted destination. Pause and fill yourself with the alpine grandeur.
Fernie, British Columbia
Head to Fernie Alpine Resort, for a variety of trail options and alpine ridge rambles, from the top of the Timber Chair (note: this lift will be shut down for maintenance for the 2019 summer season) a short stroll to the saddle of Lost Boys Pass. From there, begin your rocky spine traverse along the ridge heading to your ultimate destination of Polar Peak. Before your return, make a loop by exiting to top of White Pass and back to the top of Timber Chair. In total about 5 km, mostly up high, providing spectacular views.
Heiko’s Trail (Mountain Lakes Trail)
Epic, long and be prepared for a full day traverse as the trail is 21 km one-way. Complete with the bucket list of alpine ridge hikes, big views, a massive cave, breathtaking waterfalls, and rambles through flower-filled alpine meadows. Can’t beat this one, a must-do long ridge that earns five stars in our books!
Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta
One of the best hikes in Canada, get steps in with this 17.4 km round-trip hike at Crypt Lake. Start early by taking the first boat to the trailhead where you start in the forest, climb past waterfalls to the alpine and explore an exciting, exposed ridge walk. It also involves a 12 metre-long tunnel, then stepping down to a ledge with a cable-assisted cliff trail taking you to a stunning lake. Rimmed in by massive rock walls, this is simply magic and fully deserving its top nod as a must-do hike.