Alberta, in case you didn’t know, is a hiker’s paradise. While there are tons of amazing hikes around the mountainous province, many are suited to intermediate and hard-core hikers. But don’t despair! There are lots of easy hikes, ones that are suitable for beginners or families…or even for experienced hikers who just want to relax. One such hike is near Canmore, just over 80km west of Calgary.
If you’re hiking this trail in the summer or fall, you’ll likely have to get an early start in order to get a good parking spot. Or a late start, when the likelihood that people have already gone for the day increases.
The trail to Grassi Lakes splits into two routes almost right from the start. There is the “easy” trail which is a gradual uphill along an old gravel road. This trail passes through a pretty forest and has no views. The “difficult” trail also passes through a forest in the beginning but it eventually gets pretty steep, meaning you climb out of the trees. This trail has some beautiful views of a waterfall and surrounding mountains. You may be lucky and see some rock climbers out doing their thing!
If you’re up for it, I strongly recommend going up the “difficult” trail and returning to the parking lot by the “easy” trail. If you’re taking your time, enjoying the views or chatting with friends, this loop will take up to two hours to complete (about 4.2km total). If the trail is wet, pay attention as you hike the harder trail as there is potential for slippage and injury.
Even though it was cloudy when I went, the waterfall and aquamarine lake were beautiful. While there are two lakes in the area, access to the higher lake was closed when I went. But it was hard to be totally disappointed as the lower lake was still amazing! I loved the greens and aquamarine colours which apparently are caused by sunlight reflecting off of finely grounded rock that is suspended in the lake water. So sunny or cloudy, snowy or clear, I definitely recommend checking out the Grassi Lakes hike!