Grassi Lakes is a very popular, easy hike above Canmore, Alberta, Canada.
Grassi Lakes offer easy, family hiking near Canmore, Alberta, Canada to incredibly beautiful Grassi Lakes nestled beneath Ha Ling Peak and Mount Lawrence Grassi. The hike is very popular and will likely be very busy on fair weather days year round. Avoiding mid-day and hiking in the cooler temperatures of morning and evening may help with parking and improve ability to increase the enjoy of this beautiful place.
Grassi Lakes are two, small, shallow, pristine, aquamarine lakes accessed by the Smith-Dorrien Trail just south of Canmore, and wedged between Ha Ling Peak and the east end of Mount Rundle (EEOR) which stretches between Canmore and the Town of Banff.
Drive up the hill on the Smith-Dorrien Trail southwest of Canmore and drive a gentle left past the Canmore Nordic Centre to the sign for Grassi Lakes. The left turn to Grassi Lakes is near the end of paved road. When driving on gravel road, you have gone too far. From the little parking area, hike past the residential buildings to the trail-head. There are two options.
The 4.2 KM (2⅝ mile) trail can be done back and forth along the easier elevation, interpretive trail or as a loop in either direction which will employ the steeper trail option. The loop taking the wide easy interpretive trail down and the steeper trail up the 245 meters (803 feet) of elevation will be a full experience that is easier on the knees.
This wonderful hike can be very busy on weekends but it is a memorable treasure. The smorgasbord of visual feasts includes water falls, a bolted and anchored short rock climbing wall which is usually busy, shallow caves to explore, ancient rock paintings and a plethora of birds, chipmunks and squirrels.
The flat trail at the bottom does a figure eight loop around the two lakes and there are multiple side excursions to choose. For children, the hike can be a full day of exploration and education. For photographers, Grassi Lakes offer a goldmine of opportunity for creativity with color and reflection.
The lakes are named for miner Lawrence Grassi who constructed marvelous trails and there is a prominent memorial plaque mounted on a rock at Grassi Lakes. He is also the namesake for Mount Lawrence Grassi, adjacent and east of Ha Ling Peak. The Grassi Lakes location is also the home of the Spray Power Plant however the overwhelming beauty of the surroundings render that tucked-away infrastructure virtually inconsequential.