We went on our Glacier National Park/Canadian Rockies in mid-August 2015. We had been planning on this trip for about a year and a half. There were so many premier hikes it was exciting to put the daily hiking itinerary together.
This whole trip was in serious doubt for the months leading up it due to my feet breaking down on me. Due to a foot doctor who was a real hero we devised a method of binding, packing and taping my feet so that we could pull it off. We weren’t able to do all of the hikes we planned due to partly to my feet and partly due to a wildfire that sprung up in Glacier NP while we were up there. The surgery to correct the bunions, clean out and reshape the joints on both big toes and remove the Taylor’s bunions on the little toes was successfully postponed until September.
We started this adventure by driving 628 miles to a nice little cabin near West Glacier that we got by trading our Jackson timeshare week. Our first six days were spent in Glacier NP, the following two days were in Waterton NP, the next week we stayed in Canmore, Alberta which is in Banff NP, three nights in Jasper NP, then we spent one day each in Canmore, Waterton and then Great Falls, MT on they way back south.
For days with major hikes you will find the links below to the related blogs. For smaller hike days you will find the details on this page.
Day 1 (7/18/15): The Highline Trail
Day 2 (7/19/15): The Swiftcurrent Trail and the St Mary’s/Virginia Falls Trails
This was supposed to be the day that we hiked to Iceberg Lake/Ptarmigan Tunnel trail but we left the parking lot on the wrong trail. We ended up hiking 3.7 miles up the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail where we had an embarrassing conversation with a small family at Bullhead Lake. On the way back out we did run into a big bull moose, two cows and a calf hanging out in a lake.
Since the the Iceberg/Ptarmigan hike was too big to do the same day we pushed that hike to a low miles day later in the week and pushed up the Mary’s/Virginia Falls trail which was about four miles. Later that day we went on a the Trail of the Cedars and Sandy continued up to Avalanche Lake which was about file more miles.
Day 3 (7/20/15): Pitamakan/Dawson Loop – Glacier National Park
Day 4 (7/21/15): Grinnell Glacier – Glacier National Park
Day 5 (7/22/15): Spent Day Off at Cabin – Glacier National Park
Day 6 (7/23/15): Iceberg Lake/Ptarmigan Tunnel – Glacier National Park
Drove to Waterton National Park just across the Canadian border after finishing the hike. We spent two nights there at the Waterton Glacier Suites.
Day 7 (7/24/15): Crypt Lake Hike – Waterton National Park
Day 8 (7/25/15): Travel Day
Before we left Waterton we drove up to Red Rock Canyon and took a short hike to Blakiston Falls.We then drove to 225 to Canmore in Alberta, Canada which is inside Banff National Park. We stayed at the Falcon Crest Lodge.
Day 10 (7/27/15): Johnson Canyon – Banff National Park
We had a light day. Johnson Canyon was only a couple of miles through a cool river gorge. It was a rainy day. After Johnson Canyon we drove around the area a lot and then took in the town of Banff.
Day 11 (7/28/15): O’Hara/Oesa Lake Loop – Yoho National Park
Day 12 (7/29/15): Twin Falls Hike – Yoho National Park
Day 13 (7/30/15): Moraine Lake to Wenkchemna Pass – Banff National Park
Day 14 (7/31/15): Emerald Lake Wapta Falls – Yoho National Park
On the way to Emerald Lake we stopped by and saw Natural Bridge Falls and then went on a short hike down Kicking Horse River.
We then went to Emerald Lake and were the first ones on the lake with a canoe.
After leaving Emerald Lake we drove down the road in Yoho NP to the west about 20 miles until we got to the Wapta Falls trailhead. The Wapta Falls trail was only about 1.5 miles each way. You really need to watch the following YouTube video until the end to see how much we enjoyed Wapta Falls.
Day 15 (8/1/15): Bow Lake Trail – Banff National Park
This was a travel day from Canmore to Jasper. After we hit the Bow Lake trail we headed up Peyto Lake which was up the road a few miles. It was about a half mile walk to the lookout point.
Then we headed up the Icefield Parkway to the Athabasca Glacier. This was where we hopped on some bigfoot type busses that drove us up onto the glacier so that we could spend about 20 minutes appreciating the wonders of walking on a glacier with about 300 over excited people all unavoidably getting in each others’ photos of the surrounding glacier.
We are glad we did it but after waiting for over two hours to get overpriced tickets I don’t see us doing it again.
We got the package deal that also included a ticket to go out on a skywalk that overlooked a canyon just north of the Athabasca Glacier area. Again, it was cool and we’re glad we did it once but the crowds are just not our scene.
Day 16 (8/2/15): Maligne Canyon/Edith Cavell Glacier – Jasper National Park
We knew we have a big hike the following day so we had a light day planned. We started by going to Maligne Canyon. It was a short hike along a river that cut deep into a gorge at times and had many nice water features.
After that we drove over to Edith Cavell Glacier. We saw our one and only bear for the whole trip. It looked to be a second year grizzly that is learning what is good and not good to eat because he looked like he got into some bad mushrooms or something because he was foaming at the mouth.
Day 17 (8/3/15): Berg Lake Trail – Mt Robson Provincial Park
Day 18 (8/4/15): Several Waterfalls in Jasper then Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park
This was a travel day from Jasper back down to Canmore. We first stopped by Sunwapta Falls and then Athabasca Falls.
We then went to a secret waterfall that was not on the map and didn’t have a sign at the trailhead called Panther Falls that we got to from a short hike in our flipflops.
Before we got back to Canmore we turned west into Kootenay National Park. Our first stop in Kootenay was Marble Canyon.
We then drove down to near the west end of the park and stopped by Numa Falls. The trail to Numa Falls was closed because the bridge was out but Sandy and I found a way down there anyway.
Day 19 (8/5/15): Rawson Lake Trail – Kananaskis Country Alberta
Day 20 (8/6/15): Cracker Lake Trail – Glacier National Park
This day started with us attempting to hike the Alderson Carthew trail but we were turned away after the first mile by lightning. Cameron Falls was at the trailhead of that hike.