Grassi Lakes in Canmore: Hiking Guide

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So if the weather is meh, half the trails are closed because of wildlife activity, and you’re solo for a day – what’s a gal to hike? Grassi Lakes it is for the win ladies and gentlemen! The weather has been all over the map lately. Everything from white out snowstorms to gloomy rain to sunshine and sandal weather. It’s reeking havoc on hiking plans, but when in the mountains staying adaptable is part of staying safe. So about Grassi Lakes…

The Low Down

  • Distance: An easy 5 km (5min) drive from downtown Canmore.
  • Directions: From Three Sisters parkway, turn west onto Spray Lakes Rd (towards Spray lakes and the Nordic Centre). Turn left towards the hydro station (also clearly marked as Grassi Lakes Recreational) before the road turned to gravel.
  • Cell Reception: Yes.
  • Trail Distance: 4km loop.
  • Elevation Gain: 230m.
  • Duration: 1-2hr.
  • Dogs: Permitted on leash.
  • Crowds: It is a popular hike that gets busier towards mid-morning/noon. Wide trail makes it easy to hike with crowds.
  • Washrooms: Onsite at the parking lot.
  • Entrance Fee: Free.
  • Season: Open year round.
  • More Information: Visit the AllTrails for info and trail map.

In Good Company

It’s been a day filled with writing really, and to make up for I’m pretty sure I chatted with every. single. person. on the trail. Don’t get me wrong, quiet time is great most days. Going on an easy and popular trail provided some socialization to balance that out. People, in general, are interesting. It was good to listen some stories and meet some happy hikers along the way! Oh, and I met my buddy Doug. Well, he doesn’t know we’re buddies really but I’ll just say we are anyways. A local gent that hikes grassi lakes often to stay in shape during retirement. #whichicouldretirehere Swapping trails and stories mostly, until he said he won’t hold being from Ottawa against me. Ha ha. #locals

What to bring

Besides the 10 essentials and what I would normally suggest for hikes, here are the highlights for this particular hike:

  • Bear spray: Pretty much a necessity in the Kananaskis area even though this is a popular hike.

Grassi Lakes Trail

This is a very accessible trail in that it is wide, mostly smooth, and a gentle abeit steady incline. In fact there were two strollers out today, easily making their way on the trail. Can’t say be much fun if the path were muddy or snow covered though.

There a few benches along the route, strategically placed so that you can have a rest and a view.

If you stay on the upper trail (marked ‘easy’) then it’s a steady gentle incline until you reach the lakes, and the great news is that if you take the same route back then it’s a easy decline all the way back to the parking lot.

There’s also the option to take the ‘difficult’ route, not that it’s incredibly difficult but there is some exposure so if you take that route it’d be best to be comfortable with heights. It the winter, this trail tends to be closed.

Grassi Lakes

The trail continues around the two lakes, the water clear as glass and emerald in colour. There are multiple view points of Ha Ling Peak and East End of Rundle as a background.

View Points

Before reaching the lakes there’s a viewpoint on Canmore and it’s surrounding mountains which is pretty to stop and look at but not so much pretty to take a picture of. The power lines run right in the middle of the view.

Past the lake, the trail continues upward. Past this point it’s up to your own discretion since there’s a risk of falling rocks. You can however hike up to another lookout area that gives full view of the lakes, Canmore, and surrounding mountains.

Nourish thy self

Post hike, I stopped in at oh-so-trendy Communitea for my favourite menu item; the mountain veggie wrap. It’s packed with veggies and yet delicious, a win win. Then there’s the side of popcorn, I have no idea what voodoo they make their popcorn with but I just-can’t-get-enough. Ugh, I’m getting hungry again just thinking about it…

If you happen to stop in while they still have it on the menu, the mountain maple chai tea latte won me over instantly. A good alternative to the dirty chai that keeps me going all the time.

Wrapping it up

Victoria xo