For every hike I complete here in the Canadian Rockies I add another two to my list. Either thanks to other avid hikers whom I meet on the trails, through guide books recommendations or photos I come across online.
The hiking season in the Rockies lasts only 3-4 months, so prioritizing and picking a backcountry trip suitable to your abilities and time restrictions is important.
The backcountry trails and campsites in Canada’s national and provincial parks are well looked after and contain everything you need to ensure an enjoyable and safe trip.Heading into the backcountry will allow you to experience the mountains in a more intimate way. Bare in mind though, that backpacking experiences are well sought after and you may have to spend a few hours on the phone or online trying to reserve the campsites.Some book out more than 6 months in advance so planning ahead is not only recommended but necessary!If you are coming to Canada with an intention to road trip around the Rockies and want to include a multiday backpacking trip in your itinerary, make sure to book the latter first and plan the rest of your holidays around it.
1. Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park
If I was playing word association with someone and they said “Canadian Rockies” then “Mount Assiniboine” would be my reply. Mount Assiniboine owes its popularity not only to its beauty, but also to its accessibility. You can reach it by foot, by helicopter, on horseback or skis in the Winter.
It has 3 different accommodation options ranging from over 500$ per person per night at the Assiniboine lodge to 10$ per person per night at the campsite.
September is popular time to visit, particularly amongst photography enthusiasts, when the larch trees turn yellow and the peaks are covered by fresh snow.
Location: 45km south of Banff
Distance: 3 different hiking options between 25km and 30km one-way
Days recommended: 3 – 5
2. Berg Lake Trail
When the Berg Glacier calves into Berg Lake during the night, you sit alert up right, in your tent wondering what on Earth is going on. An experience most people have never had in their lifetime.
This hike is amazing for several other reasons though. The path follows the aptly named Valley of a Thousand Falls eventually ending at Berg Lake where a myriad of extension hikes can be completed, including one to the summit of Mount Robson – the highest peak of the Canadian Rockies!
Ticking off this peak however is a whole other ball park involving 3000m of pure ascent. Hikers like me should stick to easier trails including Mumm Basin and Snowbird Pass to name a few.
Location: Mount Robson Provincial Park, 60km west of Jasper
Distance: 42km return to Berg Lake + extensions
Days recommended: 3 – 5