The endless winter has finally loosened its grip in the Canadian Rockies, and high country trails are slowly opening up in all the Mountain Parks. Following are latest conditions from some of the most popular hiking destinations:
Sunshine Meadows. The shuttle bus to the meadows has been running for over a week, and the trail to Rock Isle Lake, Grizzly and Larix Lakes (25) is in good shape (some snow lingers, but well-designed trails keep you on track and off the alpine meadows). For a schedule and rates, contact Sunshine Meadows Shuttle.
Lake Louise-Moraine Lake. Trails to Lake Agnes (39) and Plain of the Six Glaciers (40) are slowly drying out and the teahouses at both locations are open for the season. Trails from Moraine Lake to Consolation Lakes (45), Larch Valley (43) and Eiffel Lake (44) are open, but group-of-4 restrictions went into effect on July 2.
Wilcox Pass (108). This popular 4.0-km hike still has some snowpatches near the top, but people are making the climb to one of Jasper National Park’s highest and most spectacular viewpoints without problems.
Yoho Valley. The Yoho Valley Road to Takakkaw Falls is open and the lower trail to Twin Falls (143) is clear and in good shape. The higher Iceline and Whaleback trails are still under snow.
Crypt Lake (186). Though Crypt Lake is still frozen and embraced by snowfields, the popular Waterton trail is dry all the way up the Hell Roaring Valley to the cirque. For information and schedules for the boat across Upper Waterton Lake to the trailhead, contact Waterton Shoreline Cruise.
Trail numbers in parenthesis are referenced to descriptions in the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide.
Photo by Brian Patton