To maximize our time hiking we flew this year, instead of driving, to Calgary where we rented a car to take us to the parks. Stopping in Canmore and Banff to buy bear spray and fuel for our cook stoves, two things we could not bring with us on the plane, we drove the Trans-Canada Highway 1 to our first destination Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park.
Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park
The journey to Mount Assiniboine starts at the Sunshine Ski Village where a bus will take you the first few miles and up several thousand feet to the trailhead and Sunshine Meadows. The trek to Mt Assiniboine starts at 7518 feet then drops and gains 1900 feet over the course of 31 kilometers or a little over 19 miles to the Lake Magog camp site at the base of the mountain. From there we made a day hike to the summit of Nub Peak at 8994 feet for stunning views of Mt Assiniboine and the surrounding mountains. Trip total 72 kilometers or 44 miles round trip
From our base camp at Lake Magog
Mount Assiniboine has been called the Matterhorn of Canada and at 11,870 feet is a considerable mountaineering challenge for sure, during this storm the mountain shows it teeth, high winds and freezing temperatures can be deadly for climbers. Despite such dangers more than fifty people reached the summit this year.
Cerulean Lake and Sunburst Peak on the trail to Nub Peak
Brenda and I on the top of “The Nub”
The stunning panoramic view from the top, we really lucked out on the weather!
Yoho National Park
Our second trek was up the Yoho Valley and then up to the Iceline trail, several smaller trails that we strung together for a three day adventure. Shortly after leaving our first camp we came upon the Twin Falls Chalet and Tea House and stopped in for refreshments and to learn about the history of the chalet and the area. The chalet, originally built by the CPR in 1908, can only be accessed by trail with overnight reservations made by contacting Fran Drummond at (403) 228-7079. Yoho National Park and Trail Map
An exceptionally cool fall slowed melt from the surrounding glaciers and snow fields and reduced Twin Falls to just one when we were there. Our total for this trek was 26 kilometers or 16 miles.
Upper Columbia River
After Yoho we were feeling a bit foot sore and decided to take a river excursion by kayak down the Upper Columbia River through the Columbia Wetlands Wildlife Management Area from the town of Invermere BC to Edgewater BC a distance of about 20 miles.
The fall bird migration was underway and there were many species of birds passing through. We especially enjoyed watching the ospreys hunting fish in the river and wetlands.
Kootenay National Park
Our third and final trek was to Flow Lake and Numa Pass in Kootenay National Park. The fall colors were starting to show, in this photo Brenda stops to admire the scenery near Numa Pass. Our total for this trek was 17 kilometers or 10 miles. Kootenay National Park and Trail Map
As mountains go the Canadian Rockies are magnificent, the geological forces that shaped this range are truly unique in all the world and we are continuously dazzled by their distinct beauty. I would also like to also mention the fantastic job that Parks Canada and the BC Parks services do in managing and maintaining the trails and camp facilities in the parks. There are thousands of miles of trails in the range and we have only sampled a few, it would take a lifetime to do them all.
Canadian Rockies hiking Information
Canadian Rockies Trail Guide
For information on the hiking trails in the Canadian Rockies and trip planning we have found this book to be the best.
High quality topographic maps with up to date trail info of the parks region are available from Gem Trek Publishing
Fun in Calgary
While in Calgary we stayed in the Twin Gables B&B, an historic turn of the century home located near the downtown area. We paid a visit to the Glenbow Museum and spent the afternoon exploring their exhibits, the place was huge and we did not have enough time to see it all! In the evening we had dinner at the Calgary Tower it had great food with a fantastic view.
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” –Mae West