Wednesday, May 7, 2014

10 Hikes to do this Summer

May is here and summer is officially on its way!  Despite the crazy weather that's been going on, it will be time for flip flops and suntans soon enough, and with that comes my favourite activity of all time - hiking.  I absolutely love getting outdoors and breathing the fresh mountain air, taking in breathtaking views, taking a dip in a glacier lake, and snacking on my Eatmore and squished sandwich.  And today I thought I'd share some of my favourite hikes from Waterton Lakes National Park and the surrounding area.
(disclaimer: the difficulty and estimated times are from my personal experience as someone who does a lot of hiking, so judge your ability accordingly before taking on anything too strenuous)

1.  Bears Hump
Distance: 1.4 km one way
Difficulty: moderate
Estimated Time: 1 hour return

Anyone who's spent any amount of time in Waterton knows that this one is a no brainer.  Its steep with a lot of stairs, but the short trip up gives an amazing view for just a short amount of effort.  If you're really ambitious you can time yourself while you run up it.  I think the shortest I've ever heard of is 10 minutes?
2.  Akamina Ridge
Distance: 20 km
Difficulty: moderate-difficult
Estimated Time: 8 hours

This hike's got it all.  Starting from the Cameron Lake road, you follow the trail to Forum falls, then a steep climb up to Forum lake and a scramble up to the top of the ridge.  There's the option of going to Forum Peak before following an amazing ridge line with incredible views.
3.  Carthew-Alderson
Distance: 18 km
Difficulty: moderate
Estimated Time: 6 hours

Probably my favourite of all time.  Beware if you have sore knees though - over half of this one is downhill.  And don't forget your garbage bags to slide down the glaciers on!
4. Mount Blakiston
Distance: 20 km
Difficulty: moderate-difficult
Estimated Time: 11 hours

The tallest peak on the Canadian side of the park.  Check Mount Hawkins off your list as well as you'll hit it on the way up.  Its a bit of a scramble but worth the view at the top!
5. Crypt Lake
Distance: 17.2 km
Difficulty: moderate
Estimated Time: 6 hours

A Waterton classic.  It starts across the lake at Crypt landing and is a gentle climb through the trees until you come to some rocky switchbacks.  A climb through the tunnel later you come to a gorgeous glacier lake.  This one can also be accessed by ridge walking down from Vimy Peak.
6. Vimy
Distance:10.2 km one way (from Chief Mountain Highway)
Difficulty: moderate
Estimated Time: 7 hours

Take the trail less travelled on this one!  You can either ride bikes part way in from the Chief Mountain Highway, or wade across Marquis Hole and follow the shoreline until you hit the trail.  The end is a little bit of a scramble and opens up to views of the prairies, townsite, and down into Crypt lake.
7. Mount Cleveland
Distance: 30ish km (via Stony Indian Pass)
Difficulty: difficult
Estimated Time: 3 days (can be done in a day if done from Goat Haunt)

Hardest hike I've ever done.  At an elevation of over 10,000, this one is not for the faint of heart.  We took the long, scenic way in from Stony Indian Pass, which I'll be honest, is some pretty technical scrambling.  The view is spectacular from this peak, which is the highest on the American side of the park.
8. Crandell Mountain
Distance: 12 km
Difficulty: moderate-difficult
Estimated Time: 7 hours

Funny story - I've never actually finished this one.  It can be done fairly easily from the back side of the mountain, or quite a bit more technical from Bear's Hump.  Know your skill level and give yourself enough time if you choose the technical route, which requires some scrambling across narrow ridges.

9.  Stony Indian Pass
Distance: 43 km
Difficulty: moderate
Estimated Time: 2 days

If you do any backpacking this summer - do this one!  The most gorgeous pass I've ever hiked!  With amazing lakes, waterfalls, and views from ridge lines you CANNOT go wrong!  Its especially amazing in the fall too, when the leaves have started to change colour.
10.  Chief Mountain
Distance: 16 km
Difficulty: moderate-difficult
Estimated Time: 7 hours

With such an iconic mountain, how can you not hike it at least once in your lifetime?  The road getting there can be a bit unclear, so make sure you take someone who knows where they're going.  Then a steep climb up the back on shale and you're ontop of a very narrow mountain!
 So there you go!  A few more things to add to your hiking list this summer!  Did I miss any other hikes that should make the list?

7 comments:

  1. This makes my heart ache for Waterton. When I did the Triple Crown with Scott and Shawn we toyed with the idea of doing the Fantastic Four in 24 hours. Would you be down for an adventure like that this summer?

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    1. I am always down for an adventure! I can't promise I'm a fast hiker, but I'm up for a challenge!

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  2. So so pretty and what cool hikes you've been on! I want that picture if Stony Pass. Gorgeous.

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  3. This is Great! Beautiful pictures (as always).

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  4. hey i spy clark haha! are you related?

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    1. nope! Just good friends! I met Clark when I went to BYU-Hawaii and his family moved to Alberta shortly after so we always get some good hiking time in during the summer!

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