This Labour Day Weekend we took a trip to Canmore. While in the area, we had planned to hike Mist Mountain, but our plans got shut down after a trail closure due to a mama grizzly attacking a hiker (thankfully that person was uninjured). Instead, we spent the day with our friends and made up for the hike the following morning by tackling the Grassi Lakes Trail. Sometimes the unplanned adventures are the best ones.
Located near the town of Canmore, Grassi Lakes Trail has an easily accessible trailhead with plenty of parking. The total length is approximately 3.6 km and you have several options for routes. There is an easy path, a more difficult path, and a rock climber’s path. I’d suggest the following for an amateur hiker with no children:
- Hike up the more difficult path as it gives you a good cardio pump with steep stairways. This route also gives you the waterfall viewpoint.
- At the top, loop around the lakes and follow the rock climber’s path to the other side, where you’ll find a small cave to explore and catch a glimpse of some rad bouldering.
- Take the easy path down as it’s easier on the joints and much safer.
- This route gave us a total hike of 4 km and approximately 190 m of elevation.
The views of Canmore and its bright blue lakes throughout the hike are striking.
On your way up the more difficult path, you’ll come to a viewpoint of a steep, tall waterfall. You can also see a hydroelectric dam with some interesting interpretive boards explaining the specs of the dam and how it provides renewable energy to Canmore.
Most of the trail is very well maintained. There is some rougher terrain on the more difficult path, but the majority is smoothed over with crushed stone. I would rate the easy path a mild hike and the more difficult path mild-to-moderate. This is a heavily trafficked trail.
Grassi Lakes are of course the landmark feature of the hike. The small, shallow lakes have a variety of colours that shine through that reminded me of gemstones. They photograph beautifully and aside from the crowds, would make a prime location for a romantic picnic.
We really enjoyed this hike and I would recommend it to my readers without a doubt. The whole hike took us one hour, including time to stop and soak in the breathtaking scenery. The Rockies really don’t disappoint.