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Helen Lake111

Helen Lake

Banff National Park’s Helen Lake Hiking Trail is one of the most popular day hikes from the Icefield Parkway. It is also a favourite summer feeding ground for grizzly bears, particularly sow bears with cubs. Sometimes hikers and bears have coexisted peacefully. But a number of aggressive encounters with a mother grizzly and her two cubs during the past month (August 2013) prompted Parks Canada to close the Helen Creek drainage on August 24. Visitors should expect the trail to remain closed as long as the grizzly family is feeding in the valley.


An aggressive young grizzly mother known as “Blondie,” who was no stranger to Helen Creek and Icefields Parkway during the early 1990s.

 Photos © Brian Patton