The Canadian Rocky Mountains are home to multiple pristine National Parks each boasting their own collection of picturesque mountain towns and bucket list worthy hikes. Many head to Banff or Yoho while overlooking the best hikes in Glacier National Park. With mountain themed social media pages exploding in popularity we’ve seen tourists flock to the Banff and Yoho National Parks for classic peak views like Moraine and Emerald Lake. However, just across the border in beautiful British Columbia there exists a lesser known national park practically untouched by the modern hiker offering ascents and loops of every difficulty level imaginable. It’s time to let the cat out of the bag and showcase some of Canada’s most incredible hikes located in British Columbia’s Glacier National Park.
This one requires some cardio, only 5.8km there and back but with 816m of elevation gain this route makes for a steep and challenging but incredibly breathtaking hike. The trail is very well maintained with convenient stone slab steps on some of the steeper pitches.
After starting out from the trail head you’ll come upon multiple creeks flowing through an old growth forest, before the trees give way to spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. The summit comes equipped with four tent pads for back country camping and an outdoor toilet. Don’t be discouraged by the incline of this hike, the views make any sore muscles well worth the effort! For a beautifully maintained hike showcasing some of the greatest views in British Columbia’s Glacier National Park look no further than Hermit Trail.
Abbott Ridge Trail
Abbott Ridge offers a wide variety of terrain and panoramic views not available from many other Glacier National Park hikes, landing it high up on our list! The trail head begins in a subalpine forest where you’ll quickly ascend through rocky trail sections until you reach a gorgeous alpine meadow. From there a clear cut switch back meanders up the remaining hike until you reach the summit. A lengthy 16km out and back trail with a tick over 1,400m elevation plan to make this a full day hike, however you’ll be stopping so often to marvel at the views you probably won’t find the trail as tiring or challenging as other steep hikes in the area. For the ultimate muscle recovery, book a room at Heather Mountain Lodge and hop in their huge barrel sauna located a stone’s throw from Glacier National Park.
This valley trail offers scenery that’s constantly changing so you’ll want to remember to bring your camera! Another there and back hike lasting 13.4km with 966m of elevation, you’ll be exposed to a plethora of moving water from creeks, streams, rivers, ponds and waterfalls! This hike can be broken down into two sections, the first 4km is rather mellow and follows a winding creek through an enchanting forest, while the last 3km becomes quite steep and rocky until the final destination of Asulkan Cabin. The last leg has you walking across a glacial moraine, a unique and fascinating geological phenomenon unlike any other hikes in the area. For a satisfying day hike of varying difficulty Asulkan Valley is a must in BC’s Glacier National Park.
For a challenging route that gets you up close and personal with the ice behemoths of Glacier National Park check out the Glacier Crest Trail. A 12.6km out and back with an unforgiving 1,114m elevation gain you’ll conquer this steep pitch early before coming up a ridge trail that offers awe inspiring 360 views of glacial and rock formations. It’s not uncommon to find deep snow near the top late into the summer months so proceed to the summit with caution taking extra care on wet days. For a unique crest hike with stunning glacier waterfall views head to the Glacier Crest trail head in Glacier National Park.
Another challenging out and back day hike that rewards anyone willing to reach the final destination is the Perley Rock Trail. 11.7km round trip and 1,254m elevation through forrest gleaming with waterfalls and wildlife leads you to a stunning turquoise lake surrounded by sloping rock and blankets of ice. After passing the fork for Mount Sir Donald the top half of the trail becomes steep switchbacks which are manageable on ascent but can be tricky to navigate while descending, hiking poles are definitely your friend on this section.
Glacier National Park is home to some of the most rugged terrain and untouched wilderness available in Canada today. Hikers of all skill levels have access to everything from moderate valley walks to punishing summits. Don’t get caught up in the hype of Alberta’s popular tourist stops, when real unadulterated nature is waiting just across the British Columbia border. For those who don’t want to camp in the ever changing weather of the Canadian Rockies there are the rustic-chic cabins and lodge at Heather Mountain Lodge. New this year, the Heather Mountain Lodge staff have been hard at work clearing a gorgeous walking trail on the resort property so you don’t have to drive to trailheads for breathtaking alpine views. Check out one or all of these beautiful hikes this summer and discover why the trails of Glacier National Park are Canada’s best kept secret.