10 Sensational Hikes from hikingwithbarry - Volume 1


These ten hikes are extraordinary experiences in unique places for those who seek  indelible memories and believe lifespan is better spent collecting memories than  things.


Emerald pond at Illecillewaet Icefield from Perley Rock in Glacier National Park, Canada


Following are a few hikes considered to be among the very best in North America.  Each is a uniquely spectacular experience likely to create an indelible life-long memory. 

All are reasonably aggressive and none would be recommended as season openers or for inexperienced hikers.  Due diligence and planning is important.

All selections are from posts within this blog.  Enjoy!


Click on the red links below to discover more detail about each hike.


1.   Twin Falls in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada


Ten Sensational Hikes

Twin Falls in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada


This incredible day hike can become a long day hike but you may choose to enjoy Takakkaw Falls, Angel's Staircase, Point Lace FallsLaughing Falls and Duchesnay Lake along the way.  An extraordinary experience.

Additional world-class hikes worthy of investigation in Yoho National Park are Niles Peak, the Iceline and Lake Oesa.  Check out this park.  Yoho National Park is a small but incredibly spectacular Canadian National Park in British Columbia, Canada.



2.   Fairy Falls and Imperial Geyser - Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming


Fairy Falls and Imperial Geyser -Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Imperial Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA


This day hike in the thermal quadrant of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA is one of many multi-sense treasures.  Colors are vibrant and the intermittent sound of boiling gushers is divided by a short distance on boardwalk through wetlands to a long, beautiful waterfall feeding cool water for wading in refreshing ponds.



3.   Mount Allan - Centennial Ridge - Wind Valley, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada


Mount Allan - South Route - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Pinnacles in the Rock Garden on the hike to the summit of Mount Allan in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada


The infamous Centennial Trail provides lofty mountain views to special places between Deadman's Flats and Ribbon Creek in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.  The summit of Mount Allan via Olympic Summit is the south approach from Ribbon Creek.  There are two additional blog posts for the Centennial Ridge hike. One is for the North Route and the other is for the entire traverse from Deadman's Flats to Ribbon Creek.



4.   Perley Rock - Rogers Pass - Canada's Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada


Perley Rock - Rogers Pass - Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada

Emerald pond at Illecillewaet Icefield from Perley Rock in Glacier National Park, Canada


This aggressive climb to the edge of the Illecillewaet Icefield in Glacier National Park, British ColumbiaCanada, travels through a wide variety of spectacular terrain with commanding long range vistas complementing tiny detail.  The hike to Perley Rock and beyond is a sensory extravaganza best achieved in fair weather.



5.   Asulkan Valley - Rogers Pass - Canada's Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada


Asulkan Valley - Rogers Pass - Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada

View from Asulkan Hut into the Asulkan Valley at Glacier National Park in British Columbia, Canada


The hike from Glacier House Monument, near the Illecillewaet Campground in Canada's Glacier National Park, British Columbia, to Asulkan Hut provides an incredible assortment of breathtaking terrain on a wide variety of hiking trail.  From the top there are a number of additional hiking alternatives and excellent views to other hikes in the area.  The final approach to Asulkan Hut is up along the long, narrow top of a lateral moraine.  The hike is through forest and sub-alpine terrain into rugged alpine opportunities adjacent to glaciers accented with pink algae.  An opportunity of a lifetime.



6.   Swiftcurrent Pass - Glacier National Park, Montana, USA


Swiftcurrent Pass - Glacier National Park, Montana

An isolated water fall along the route to Swiftcurrent Pass in the Many Glacier section of Glacier National Park, Montana, USA 


This hike to Swiftcurrent Pass, and potentially beyond, begins on excellent trail in the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park in Montana, USA.  The trail passes a chain of beautiful lakes before crossing a creek and climbing steeply past a glacier to incredible vistas through the valley before curling up to the large cairn at the pass.  A summit is within reasonable reach in fair weather.



7.   Grinnell Glacier - Many Glaciers - Glacier National Park, Montana, USA


Grinnell Glacier - Many Glaciers - Glacier National Park, Montana

Grinnell Falls along the hike to Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park, Montana, USA


The hike to Grinnell Glacier is arguably the most popular in the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park, Montana, USA.  The trail hosts spectacular features and vistas across Grinnell Valley with it's pristine lakes and waterfalls.  Although the glaciers are nearly gone, the terrain and aura of the place is mesmerizing and the hike is more than worthy of the effort.



8.   Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada


Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

The iconic view back to Valley of the Ten Peaks from Sentinel Pass in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada


Larch Valley is an iconic and world-famous hike from Moraine Lake west and above Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.  The view into Paradise Valley from Sentinel Pass wedged between Pinnacle Mountain and Mount Temple is amazing and forever memorable.  This popular hike is commonly busy and very crowded in late September when the larch trees in Larch Valley turn from green to gold.



9.   Eiffel Lakes and Wenkchemna Pass - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada


Eiffel Lakes and Wenkchemna Pass - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Eiffel Lakes in the Valley of Ten Peaks in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada 


An alternative above Moraine Lake along the route to Sentinel Pass is a trail branch into Eiffel Lakes and beyond to Wenkchemna Pass.  This experience is different but equally spectacular to Larch Valley with a different assortment of incredible features in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.  The golden Larch trees tend to hang on a bit longer here in September than it's Larch Valley counterpart at slightly higher altitude and less protected environment.



10.   Turtle Mountain Summit Traverse - Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada


Turtle Mountain Summit Traverse - Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada

Turtle Mountain is a unique and historical hike at Frank Slide in the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada


The well-appointed Frank Slide Interpretive Centre in the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada is a good place to begin for current trail-head location.  If there is time at the end of the day, time spent at the Interpretive Centre is well-spent learning about the cataclysmic collapse of Turtle Mountain where the Frank Slide caused the destruction of most of the Town of Frank.  The stories are tragic, sobering and heart lifting.  The hike can be adjusted from moderate to the first summit, to aggressive for traversing the mountain top.  Scenery and features are unique and spectacular.  If there is time, Leitch Collieries and Lundbreck Falls are worth a look.


These day hikes in North America are among some of the best on the planet.  Collect memories, not things.

Remember to be prepared for fickle mountain weather and carry everything you may need for contingency.  Tell someone where you are going and let them know you have returned safely.   Have yourself a wonderful day!  Stay safe.








Would that be Table Mountain in Africa or Saskatchewan?

Yes, Barry, it does answer my question. Thank you so much. A colleague of mine enjoys all nature of outdoor activities, including running marathons. One Monday, being somewhat facetious, I asked, "So, how many marathons did you run on the weekend?" "None,' she said. "But I did climb a mountain. Table Mountain."

Thank you for your comment, June. I appreciate the compliment. Considering the places I get to, quite frankly, it is difficult to capture a bad image. "The mountain is in terrible shape". The front face of Turtle Mountain collapsed onto the small town of Frank in 1903. The cause of the Frank Slide is still a point of intense debate and speculation. One theory is that mining operations, at the base of the mountain (ruins are still evident, cross the Crowsnest River in late summer or fall, when water levels are low) weakened its structure and caused the collapse. I suspect a variety of conditions, including geological structure, worked together to cause the collapse. I do not know. If you are down that way I suggest you attend the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre and examine the exhibits thoroughly. There is a small movie theatre at the centre and one of the presentations provides several possible reasons for the 1903 Frank Slide. I have been to the north summit of Turtle Mountain many times. It is a great climb. On this particular occasion, I set aside the day to perform the traverse across the top of the mountain to the higher south summit and beyond. It was a great decision but the trip is not for the inexperienced. It is a scrambling and bouldering paradise and appropriate skill sets are required. It is not a place to learn unless in the company of an experienced person. Route finding can be challenging. The top of the mountain is full of deep, vertical fissures. They range from narrow cracks to huge crevasses. The surface is a jumble of boulders and smashed rock. As an aside, I am very proud of my picture of the Frank Slide looking straight down at it from the top of the mountain. The adrenenlin was rushing when I held my arms straight out to capture that photograph. Mountains are gradually broken apart by water seeping into cracks in the rock. Water expands when frozen and over time will widen the cracks and break up the rock. It is a common force of nature. Alternate freezing and thawing gradually tears the surface apart. In the case of Turtle Mountain, some of these cracks are huge and can hold tons of ice and snow which throughout each year will gradually weaken the top of the mountain. At the south summit of the mountain there is a lot of siesmic equipment and tension guages measuring and transmitting rock movement. If the degradation of the mountain is slow and linear, this process may help provide warnings for people below to evacuate in time. If the event is spontaneous, there will be a lot of sophisticated electronics coming down with the rock. Personally, I would be reluctant to take up permanent residence in new Frank or in Hillcrest. Perhaps I am overly conservative. Maybe, I have insufficient faith in the ability of technology to forecast fickle and unpredictable natural events. What I can say is this. I was alarmed at the state of the Turtle Mountain summits and connecting ridges. I had no idea the mountain was fractured so badly. I believe it will get worse. Another mountain collapse may occur. "The mountain is in terrible shape." I hope this answers your question, June.

Barry, in keeping with the normal calibre of your work, this post is full of sensational images that inspire the couch potato to lace up the hiking boots and get out there. "The mountain is in terrible shape." What does this mean? Why is this true? What is to be done about it?

Both of the Glacier National Parks are outstanding but quite different. There is not a lot of ice left in the U.S.A but the trails are well graded and maintained. The glaciers are forecast to be completely gone within 20 years, barring unforeseen weather circumstance. There is plenty of ice remaining in Canada's Glacier National Park. The trails are far more rugged and often very steep. The scenery and historical depth of both parks are breathtaking and fascinating. Turtle Mountain, in the Crowsnest Pass, is one of my personal favourites. The scramble across the top is very challenging but absolutely fun. The mountain is in terrible shape. There are crevasses large enough to fit a tractor trailer. One needs to wonder when another slide, like the Frank Slide in 1903, might occur.

Great list! Turtle Mountain is one of my favorites as well. I really need to spend more time in both of the Glacier National Parks.

Thank you for your comment, Caitlin. When you did Larch valley and Sentinel Pass, you picked a good one. The ideal time is the 3rd week in September when the Larch needles turn from green to orange/yellow. In early or late sun, the colour is magic and the photography is too easy. If you are out that way again, in the latter part of September, the Eiffel Lakes and Wenkchemna Pass hike shares the same trailhead at Moraine Lake and is an excellent alternative. The Larch colours tend to last a bit longer there. When you climb above Moraine Lake, at the top of the hill there is a bench at a Y junction. Right goes to Larch Valley, left goes to Eiffel Lakes on good and fairly flat trail. Plus you get to hike, up close and personal, the length of Valley of the Ten Peaks. Amazing! I have not done it but I am certain the hike could be done from the end of Moraine Lake, off trail through the bottom of the valley and one day I will make this attempt on a late summer day. There are features in the valley bottom I would like to experience at close range. I'll let you know how it turns out. Maybe it is not navigable. No guts: no glory!

What a fantastic post! Great photos, great recommendations...I can't wait to get on the trails. Sadly, I have only done the Larch Valley/Sentinel Pass. Guess I got my work cut out for me...thanks for this!