Level: Mod to Diff
3 to 4 hours / 12K return
Park at the Helen Lake
trailhead parking lot 1km south of Bow Lake. Across from the Crowfoot Glacier
viewpoint approximately 38kms north of Lake Louise
on the Icefields Parkway. Banff National Park.
This is one of the finest hikes you'll find in
Banff National Park. The first section of the
trail is well worn with never ending
tree roots to stub your toes on. Over the years
foot traffic has eroded the earth around the
roots exposing them to the air. The
trail slowly climbs in a
straight direction for approximately 2.2kms
then works it's way up a few short
switch backs before arriving at the
meadows. This meadow is over 2kms
long and 1km
and one of the nicest you'll see in
the Canadian Rockies. As you continue on views of the Bow Valley behind you get
better and better. Helen Creek
glistens in the sun as it flows down
the middle of the meadow towards the valley
bottom. In late June and the month
are blooming everywhere.
Stay on the trail so not to disturb
their fragile growth. Keep hiking up
through the meadows until you reach
Helen Lake. Once you arrive at Helen
Lake take the extra effort to
continue up the headwall which is another 280ms
or so. Views from the headwall
towards Dolomite Peak,
Mount Hector, Wapta Icefields, Bow
Valley and Helen Lake are stunning.
This is an excellent spot to have
your lunch before turning back.
Expect to see very large
Marmots on the top of the headwall.
These Marmots have certainly seen
thousands of hikers and I'm always
surprised at how they
make you feel like you're the first.
If you still have more energy you
can scramble to the top of nearby Cirque Peak or explore the flats
towards Dolomite Pass and Lake
Cirque Peak looming
behind you is another
600ms in elevation, allow 2 more
hours return to the summit.
Near Here: Local campgrounds include
Waterfowl Lake and
Louise. Trailheads to
Bow Lake Lookout
Cirque Lake Hikes,
Alpine Climb are all
located near here.
You are in bear country.