Marion Lake - Glacier National Park - Hiking BC

 

Marion Lake is a pristine oasis along the route to Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Marion Lake is a pristine, sub-alpine gem perched beneath Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.  An early start heading west on the TransCanada Highway from Palliser Lodge at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort above Golden, BC leads to the drive uphill through large, long avalanche sheds into the chilly mist at Rogers Pass.  

Glacier Park Lodge, a long-standing rest stop and source of accommodation, is permanently closed and boarded up.  Parks Canada's Rogers Pass Discovery Centre is closed in early morning, but we stop to wander and observe recent renovations.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The permanently closed Glacier Park Lodge at Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada A memorial exhibit at Parks Canada Rogers Pass Discovery Centre in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Rogers Pass has a fascinating history of discovery, adventure and the establishment of the transcontinental railway.  Recent renovation and new exhibits at the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre document the power and circumstance of a corridor through avalanche terrain.  Trail links here include Balu Pass and the Abandoned Rails Trail.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Artillery weapons are used along the narrow valleys near Rogers Pass for avalanche control throughout the winter months in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The living grass roof on Rogers Pass Centre has been restored and a new façade has been added during renovations to the Parks Canada Information and Interpretive Centre in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The covered arch at Rogers Pass Centre is reminiscent of olden days avalanche sheds along the original, historical rail route through Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

The drive continues west past the  Rogers Pass Summit Monument, downhill to the eyes-wide-open, all-senses-alert, tight-knuckle left turn across oncoming traffic approaching from an uphill bend, into the farthest lot of Illecillewaet Campground parking.  A short, straight walk uphill on gravel road and a right turn at the Alpine Club of Canada , A. O. Wheeler Hut, onto the 1885 Rails Trail, crosses a stone arch bridge over the glacial silt-laden Illecillewaet River and swings gently downhill to the Glacier House Historical Monument.  A left turn onto the right branch of the Glacier House Interpretive Trail wanders past stone foundation relics of Glacier House which rivaled some of the finest hotels in the world between 1886 and 1925.  This was a grand era snuffed out by danger and tragedy.  The clearly marked Abbott Ridge Trail takes off to the right (west) and begins to ascend immediately through typical British Columbia lush green forest.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The Glacier House Monuments marks the entry location on the 1885 Rails Trail to many incredible trails including Marion Lake and Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Hiking through the lush vegetation surrounding the old foundations of historic Glacier House near Rogers Pass In Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Thick forest with lush undergrowth of ferns and shrubs typical to BC on the trail ascending to Marion Lake and Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

The 2.5 KM (1⅝ mile) one-way trail to Marion Lake at 1,700 m (5,577 ft) gains 425 m (1,394 ft) of elevation.  Benches are spaced out along the route to enjoy a rest from the consistent, moderate ascent and to enjoy occasional expansive valley vistas.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada On the ascent to Marion Lake and Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada In idyllic forest as the sun rises and evaporates cool morning mist on the trail to Marion Lake and Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Green lichen (Witch's Hair) growing from an overhead dead branch and illuminated by a sunbeam above the trail to Marion Lake and Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.  The black lichen is known as 'Old Man's Beard'

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada At Marion Lake a clearly signed, optional spur trail leads to spectacular views over Rogers Pass in the valley to the Tupper Range in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The incredible view of the valley from the overlook near Marion Lake in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Amazing, sweeping views of the valley from the overlook near Marion Lake in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Spectacular views begin to unfold on the approach to Marion Lake.  At the lake a signed, short spur trail to the right leads to a viewpoint with sweeping vistas over this spectacular valley through the Selkirk Mountains.  Hiking has proceeded into a temperature inversion.  Higher altitude air is warmer with assistance from sun rising over the mountains and casting long shadows through surrounding forest above cloud settled in the valley beneath between current location and the Hermit Range hosting the Tupper Glacier and Mount Tupper which looms above the well hidden Rogers Pass Discovery Centre.  The long lens reveals the 'hermit' stone pinnacle on Mount Tupper which is the namesake for the popular, short, steep and challenging Hermit Trail.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada On the approach to Marion Lake views towards the north reveal the Hermit Range and the Tupper Glacier above Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Prominent Mount Tupper at photo top right looms above valley clouds in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The ridge adjacent to Mount Tupper at photo right hosts the popular and scenic Hermit Trail in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Tiny, but distinct, rock pinnacle features along the summit ridge of Mount Tupper resemble a person standing guard over the valley. This is the feature for which the Hermit Trail is named. Close by is 'the Hermit's' canine companion. Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Marion Lake is named for the daughter of William Spotswood Green, one of the original late 1800's explorers in this area.  The lake's water is still and perfectly reflective.  Rustic, damp trail skirts the border adjacent to the Abbott Ridge Trail in this beautiful place changing dynamically in slow motion as rising sun filters through forest to cast long shadows across the lake. 

From the far side, the sun ignites the bottom of the small, shallow, sub-alpine lake which exists because a glacier carved out a shallow bowl eons ago.  Lakes in this type of terrain are uncommon which makes the experience even more unique.  Time is spent here to photograph this beautiful little lake in ideal conditions.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Marion Lake along the trail to Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Marion Lake along the trail to Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge rises in the background above Marion Lake in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The artistry in reflections at Marion Lake in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Marion Lake along the trail to Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Warming air generates mist on the surface of the cool water.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Marion Lake along the trail to Abbott Ridge in Glacier national Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Marion Lake along the trail to Abbott Ridge in Glacier national Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada The long shadows of early morning sun accentuate rising mist in warming air over cool water at Marion Lake along the trail to Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Marion Lake is a photographic paradise of endless compositions in a dynamically changing environment.

 

Marion Lake, Glacier National Park, BC, Canada

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Marion Lake, Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Marion Lake, Glacier National Park, BC, Canada

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Marion Lake, Glacier National Park, BC, Canada

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Marion Lake, Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Marion Lake, Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Marion Lake under Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Marion Lake beneath Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Abbott Ridge, Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada Marion Lake under Abbott Ridge in Glacier National Park, BC, Canada.

 

Leave this beautiful place is difficult but the objective is substantially more lofty with additional wonders to explore.  There remains substantial elevation and many kilometers to pass beneath feet.  Marion Lake is a delightful stop along the route to the incredible vistas from the top of Abbott Ridge

The entire day will turn out to be much longer and more arduous than could possibly have been anticipated.

Photographs for this post were taken on August 7, 2013

 

Abbott Ridge offers uncompromised views over Glacier National Park and fires the initiative and imagination for subsequent adventures.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

Thanks for your comment, Helen. Actually, it can and does get better as we climb above Marion Lake to the top of Abbott Ridge, our objective for the day in Yoho National Park, BC west of Calgary, Alberta. The views from the top are breathtaking but watch that snow slope on the way down. It can be tricky.

Superb! How can the day get better?!!!

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