Sunday, June 27, 2010

Grassi Lakes

I think it is so funny that I have lived here all these years and am just now hiking trails that I've heard about from so many people... and when I get there all I can think is "what the heck took me so long?"

Today it was the Grassi Lakes trail with two of my friends and my amazing son, Dorian.

To get to the trailhead you go past the Canmore Nordic Centre on the Smith-Dorrien/Spray Lakes Road until the pavement turns to gravel, the parking is just to the left. There are washrooms in the parking lot (like most trailheads in Kananaskis and other parks).
The hike starts off with an easy climb up an old logging road and then you get to choose the Easy route or the Difficult route... I highly recommend the difficult one. The terrain could be challenging for some, but the views are amazing. The easy route follows the logging road right up to the lakes.These are just some of the rock stairs built in to the trail (my friend purposely posed behind the tree).

The hike on the difficult route is 1.4 km (the easy route 1.6km). The lakes at the top are amazing... I can't say anything more than that. The colours really took my breath away and my son was pretty impressed (it takes a lot to impress a 13 year old).

The first lake.

The second lake.
The colours really are this bright and vibrant, due to algae growth in the lake, and the water is crystal clear. It is also very cold as we found out when we stopped to soak our feet for a bit while eating lunch.

From the end of the trail you can travel up into a crag that is very popular with rockclimbers, it was very busy there today. There are stairs built through much of the area, but they are very steep so make sure your knees are in good shape. About halfway up the climb there are pictographs on one wall that are estimated to be from c. 1000 AD.Very cool.

I have also been to see the pictographs in Grotto Canyon, but these ones are better preserved and, this one in particular, much larger.

We climbed all the way up to the top for an amazing view of Canmore and then gave our knees a good workout going back down all those stairs. I'm tall (5'9") and some of those steps were a struggle for me.

On the way back down we took the easy path just to see what it was like. While it's a great path for young kids, I think if we head up here again we'll stick with the Difficult route just for the scenery.

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