Grassi Lakes Hike

I have been anxious to get out into the mountains this spring but didn’t want to tackle anything to strenuous. I also wanted to hike/walk something that we haven’t done before and would be suitable for the dog. Grassi Lakes isn’t in our guide books but I’d heard about it before and knew that it was something that would meet all my qualifications.

The hike is actually more of a moderate walk – one of the trails is a wide, groomed path – but was an enjoyable outing for people and dogs in mid-May. Located just outside of Canmore, a little bit past the Nordic Center, it is easy to get to and means that we didn’t need to spend a whole day. We left Calgary a little after 8 am, which got us to the trail head and hiking between 9:30 and 9:45 (including a stop for coffee on the way). We drove past the trail head the first time, even though it is signed for Grassi Lakes, but soon figured it out. There is a large parking lot, and at the time we arrived there were only a few other cars.

The trail is clearly marked and there are two options to get to the lakes, the “more difficult” trail and the “easy” trail. The easy trail is slightly longer but either trail is less than 2 km to the lakes. The easy trail looks like this:

We chose to take the more difficult trail up because it offers views into the valley. There are a few rock stairs to climb, some rocks to scramble around and some wet sections but really not “difficult”. Patches didn’t like some of stair sections but had no trouble getting up.

We stopped to take a few photos and let the dogs drink out of the creeks that cross the trail as we went. The views weren’t spectacular but are pretty nice for the amount of effort required.

We were at the lakes within 45 minutes of leaving our car and decided to hike further into the gully to see the pictographs. From there we clambered higher, past the climbers, to get a view down towards town.

Ha Ling Peak, a hike we’ve down a few times, is right above the lakes and if you hike far enough up you come to the Spray Lakes Road.

We turned around before we’d scrambled to the road and headed back down to check out the lakes. You can get a nice view of them from above, which I think really shows off how green they look.

They are also quite pretty from close up.

We chose to take the “easy” trail on the way home so that the dogs didn’t have to navigate the stairs on the way down. It was an easy walk on a level path and we were back at the cars by 11:30. It was much busier than when we left and we were glad that we’d got an early start and had the trail to ourselves on the way up. I’d recommend being there early on a nice day! It was a dog friendly hike to the lakes themselves and there was plenty of water along the way for the mutts. The (optional) section past the lakes required some careful footing because there was still some snow but the rest of the trip was a nice walk. It was great to be out in the mountains on a sunny day and I’m looking forward to trying something else soon.

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