Consolation Lakes – Banff National Park – Hiking Alberta

Beginning at world renowned Moraine Lake, near Lake Louise in Banff National Park, the two small and pristine Consolation Lakes are accessed by a short, 2.9 KM (1.8 mile), one-way, easy hike past the Rockpile and along Babel Creek to boulder fields beneath Mount Babel, capped by the Fay Glacier.  This hike is my planned, early morning pause en route between Calgary, Alberta, Canada and the David Thompson Resort east of Saskatchewan Crossing in Banff National Park.  The winding road from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake consistently gains elevation before cresting into a short descent to the very busy and overflowing Moraine Lake parking area.  I luck into a parking spot near the picnic area and hike the short link to the Rockpile Trail.

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

The Tower of Babel past the picnic area at Moraine Lake parking to the trail to Consolation Lakes south of Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

One of many isolated picnic areas between parking and the Rockpile Trail at Moraine Lake outside Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

One of two closed and crumbling dining shelters on the picnic area link to Consolation Lakes near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

A left turn at the Rockpile trail crosses a short bridge over a beautiful babbling brook to stone steps ascending the Rockpile.  A trail junction to the left is clearly signed as restricted to hiking parties of four or more persons to combat potential wildlife encounters by the legitimate and simple principle of risk reduction by numbers.  The rocky trail curls in descent to a scree field beneath the Tower of Babel.  Next, the trail continues on a short section of large boulders over running water.  The path is well defined by legions of past hikers.

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Stone steps ascend the Rockpile to the trail junction for Consolation Lakes near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

The restricted trailhead for Consolation Lakes near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Rocky path at the beginning of the Consolation Lakes trail near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Scree slopes below Tower of Babel along the trail to Consolation Lakes near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Crossing the boulder field on the Consolation Lakes trail near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

The short boulder field passes crystal-clear ponds and transitions from rocky path to well-groomed trail for the excellent hike through old growth forest adjacent to Babel Creek.  A trail junction to Taylor Lake crosses a sawn-log bridge over Babel Creek.  This Taylor Lake access trail is poorly defined and best done by experienced hikers with well-developed route finding skills.  A formal, recently updated, and expanded Taylor Lake trail begins from the TransCanada Highway west of Banff.  On the trail to Consolation Lakes, short sections of trail are protected from wet hiking conditions.  Scenic, open areas announce the final approach to Consolation Lakes.

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Rocky sections follow the boulder field on the trail to Consolation Lakes near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Pristine, clear-water ponds on the trail to Consolation Lakes near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Hiking on grand trail through old growth forest on the way to Consolation Lakes near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Dense evergreen forest with moss borders along the trail to Consolation Lakes near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Platform path to provide protection in wet conditions on the hiking trail to Consolation Lakes near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Old growth forest along the hiking trail to Consolation Lakes near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Open landscape on the approach to Consolation Lakes near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

The Consolation Lakes trail passes through open water wetlands and expanding scenery until it exits forest directly into a massive boulder field beneath massive  Mount Babel capped by the blue, glacial ice of the spectacular Fay Glacier.

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Open, still-water wetlands on the approach to Consolation Lakes near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

The Fay Glacier on Mount Babel above Consolation Lakes near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

At the edge of the west shore of the first of two Consolation Lakes near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

The massive boulder field at Consolation Lakes near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

The route to the second Consolation Lake, at the far end, past a drainage through scree, is over the large boulders along the west shore or over more forgiving, but potentially wet terrain, via the wet route to the east shore.  My decision is to gather photos of this idyllic location from amongst the large boulders where I stand, and return to Moraine Lake with the intent to potentially create time for a second short hike.

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

The wet crossing to the east shore of the first Consolation Lake near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

A view of the first Consolation Lake from the massive boulder field beneath Mount Babel near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Looking up at mist enshrouded cliffs of Mount Babel from Consolation Lakes near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

A view of the first Consolation Lake from the massive boulder field beneath Mount Babel near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

It is predictably quite crowded here on an August weekend day and taking unencumbered photographs of the area’s natural beauty is challenging.

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Turning about from Consolation Lakes on the return to Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Babel Creek adjacent to the Consolation Lakes trail near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

The Valley of the Ten Peaks shrouded in mist past the rockpile above Moraine Lake from the Consolation Lakes Trail in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

The Valley of the Ten Peaks shrouded in mist past the rockpile above Moraine Lake from the Consolation Lakes Trail in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

I would be remiss if I did not take the crowded trail to the top of the rockpile for traditional photographs of Moraine Lake from long-established viewpoints.  The color of the lake is surreal and compositions of water, mountains, glaciers, forest and sky are naturally profound and moving.  WOW!

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

The traditional view of Moraine Lake from the Rockpile in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Consolation Lakes, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

The traditional view of Moraine Lake from the Rockpile in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

My quick hike back has given me the time to hike the Moraine Lakeshore trail along the east shoreline of this incredible, world-famous landmark from Moraine Lake Lodge to the far end of the lake to see cascading white water emanating from Eiffel Lakes beneath Wenkchemna Pass. Photos for this hike to Consolation Lakes near Moraine Lake east of Lake Louise are taken on August 17, 2014.

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Forget-Me-Not Pond – Kananaskis – Hiking Alberta

Forget-Me-Not Pond is a popular recreation place for a stroll or a picnic in Kananaskis Country.  The pristine, emerald pond is nestled beneath Forget-Me-Not Ridge within close proximity to the Elbow River west of Bragg Creek near the end of Elbow Falls Trail (Hwy 66).   Grandchildren Michael and Katherine accompany me for the short hike around the scenic, mountain surrounded pond.  From the trailhead kiosk, at the far end of the large parking area, we cross the first wooden bridge and hike clockwise around the pond.

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Katherine at one of the entrances to Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Michael and Katherine on the wooden bridge over the outflow from Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Pond miraculously remained relatively unscathed in the major June 2013 flood event.  There were minor breaches from the adjacent Elbow River but the pretty little pond managed to avoid the total devastation experienced at nearby Allen Bill Pond.  Some wildflowers have gone to seed as others bloom through late summer.

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Wildflowers in seed at Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Leafy Asters are late bloomers at Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

The wide rocky shore of the Elbow River is littered with flood debris near Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Surrounding mountains at the end of Elbow Falls Trail (Hwy 66), west of Bragg Creek, host a wide variety of hiking experiences.  A few of the more popular are Ford Knolls, Powderface Ridge, Forget-Me-Not Mountain and Nihahi Ridge.

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Nahahi Ridge towering over the Elbow River near Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Mountains to the west include, Glasgow, Romulus and Remus near Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

The late season Elbow River near Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

The broad, rocky shoreline provides opportunities for rock tossing and skipping stones into still portions of the Elbow River.  There are shallow sections suitable for wading in the frigid, fast-running water.  Katherine is very brave.

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Fast-running water in the Elbow River near Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Katherine wading in the cold, fast-running water of the Elbow River near Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Katherine wading in the cold, fast-running water of the Elbow River near Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Katherine wading in the cold, fast-running water of the Elbow River near Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Cascading white water of the Elbow River near Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

We return to Forget-Me-Not Pond to complete our walk around its circumference.  The still, emerald water catches reflections of surrounding mountains and the crystal clear water’s clarity reveals bottom features near shoreline.

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Nihahi Ridge past Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Nihahi Ridge past Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Nihahi Ridge past Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Powderface Ridge past Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

The pond is busy with people walking, picnicking or fishing around the edge.  Water trickles in over round boulder channels from drainages on the other side of Elbow Valley.

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Ridge past Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Closing in on completion of the loop around Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

From the final bridge we return to the car and enjoy lunch at a nearby picnic table, surrounded by lush forest, beside a babbling brook.

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Michael and Katherine on the second bridge at Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Our lunch location view of the creek at Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Our lunch location view of the creek at Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

On the return drive to south Calgary, Michael, Katherine and I make a brief detour into Cobble Flat.  Last summer’s flood has devastated the camping area and large parts of the interpretive trail are gone.

Forget-Me-Not Pond, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

A view from the Cobble Flat access road to the 2013 flood devastation in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Our final stop will be for customary ice cream cones in Bragg Creek from the copious selection at Frontier Candy and Ice Cream.  It is a long held tradition.

Photographs for this day at Forget-Me-Not Pond in Kananaskis Country west of Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada were taken on August 12, 2014.

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Quarry Lake – Canmore – Hiking Alberta

Quarry Lake is a popular recreational oasis above Canmore, Alberta, Canada.  The small lake is commonly accessed on the hike from Mineside parking, near the Bow River in town, on an uphill route past historic Coal Mine # 1, or directly into the unsigned parking area from Spray Lakes Road.  Following my hikes at the dam along Rundle Canal, and the Riders of Rohan Trail with a return via Grassi Lakes, I am content to use easy access from Spray Lakes Road.  On this hot and humid August weekend day, the parking lot is jammed with many vehicles parked in overflow along the access spur off Spray Lakes Road above Canmore.  I luck into a recently-vacated, ideal parking space beside the trail access for Quarry Lake Park and the Highline Trail.

Quarry Lake, Bow Valley, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

The entrance sign at Quarry Lake in the Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Quarry Lake, Bow Valley, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

The view of the East End of Mount Rundle (EEOR) past Quarry Lake in the Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Quarry Lake, Bow Valley, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Ha ling Peak and part of Mount Lawrence Grassi past and above Quarry Lake in the Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada

My strategy, to avoid the throngs of people, is to hike above Quarry Lake, on the grassy trail border for dogs on leashes, to the far end of the small lake where crowds will be thinner, then back along the far side while gathering a few representative photos of this idyllic and popular recreational gem.

Quarry Lake, Bow Valley, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Grotto Mountain from the dog walk path at Quarry Lake in the Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Quarry Lake, Bow Valley, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Mount Lady MacDonald from the dog walk path at Quarry Lake in the Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Quarry Lake, Bow Valley, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

A glimpse of Three Sisters Mountain past concealed development from the dog walk path at Quarry Lake in the Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Quarry Lake, Bow Valley, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Sensible zoning for dog access areas at Quarry Lake in the Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada. No dogs are allowed within the red zone along the lakes perimeter for sanitary and potential conflict reasons.

The Quarry Lake perimeter is very busy with lots of happy people enjoying barbeques, picnics, games, sunbathing and water recreation.  Paddle boarding is becoming increasingly popular.  The tiny lake, with groomed aprons, is an outstanding recreational facility.  There are a lot of dogs within the restricted area.  On quieter days, people come here to fish in the stocked pond.

Quarry Lake, Bow Valley, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Quarry Lake from the far end in the Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Quarry Lake, Bow Valley, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Quarry Lake from the far end in the Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Quarry Lake, Bow Valley, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Quarry Lake rounding the far end in the Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Quarry Lake, Bow Valley, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

A paddle boarder on Quarry Lake in the Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Quarry Lake, Bow Valley, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Surrounding mountains on the far side of Bow Valley from Quarry Lake above Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Quarry Lake, Bow Valley, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

The view across Quarry Lake in the Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Quarry Lake, Bow Valley, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Approaching the main beach area at Quarry Lake in the Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada

The focal point of Quarry Lake Park is the sandy beach close to the entrance.  It is busy on this hot, sunny day with swimmers of all ages and y0ung children playing in the sand with their beach toys.

Quarry Lake, Bow Valley, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

The main swimming beach and washrooms at Quarry Lake Park in the Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Quarry Lake, Bow Valley, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

The main beach at Quarry Lake Park in the Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada

The path from Quarry Lake Park to the parking area provides outstanding vistas to surrounding mountains as well as access to the off-leash dog park.

Quarry Lake, Bow Valley, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Access path from the parking area to Quarry Lake Park in the Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Quarry Lake, Bow Valley, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Late afternoon view to the East End of Mount Rundle across the off-leash dog park from the Quarry Lake access path in Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada

From ‘Kananaskis Country Trail Guide, 4th Edition, Volume 3′: Quarry Lake began it’s existence as a strip mine for coal above Canmore Mine # 1 near Canmore Creek and Canmore Falls.  When the quarry was reclaimed it was reduced from a depth of 120 feet to 80 feet and plugged with clay to create a fishing pond.  From these humble beginnings Quarry Lake Park continues to be developed for residents of, and visitors to, the Canmore area.

Photos for this stroll around Quarry Lake in Bow Valley above Canmore, Alberta, Canada were taken on August 10, 2014.

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