Grassi Lakes - Canmore - Hiking Alberta

 

Canmore is a hikers paradise in the Bow Valley west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Grassi Lakes, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes is arguably one of the most popular hikes in the area and one of the easiest when tackled from the traditional, and clearly-signed trailhead, at the end of pavement on the infamous Canmore Hill.  The drive through Canmore proceeds past Elevation Place and the Canmore Nordic Centre, and over the crest at Whitemans Gap to parking alongside Whitemans Pond, in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak.  This is also parking for the EEOR (East End of Rundle) trail-head.  Parking for Ha Ling Peak is a short distance further past Whitemans Pond in the Goat Creek Day Use area.  On this day, the hike to Grassi Lakes will be done from the top down.  The formal trail-head is easier.  

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada Parking for Grassi Lakes at Whitemans Pond in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada The dam above Grassi Lakes which creates Whitemans Pond in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada The view south from the dam which creates Whitemans Pond in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada The view north from the top of the valley hosting Grassi Lakes from the dam which creates Whitemans Pond in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

The short, scenic walk back to the dam.  The steep drop from the dam is initially on slippery rock rubble.  Proper footwear is important.  Soon the trail descends on sturdy steps with uneven rise.  Very popular climbing walls are on the left but staying safe on the trail avoids close proximity to the bolted and anchored rock walls unless you are equipped to use them.  Minimum requirement is a rock helmet.

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada Steep wooden steps aid descent to Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada Persevere! There are a lot of descent steps to Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada A brief interlude through rock on the route to Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada More steps on the descent to Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The branch to the left is for rock climbers.

 

About two-thirds of the way down the steep descent, the first of the two spectacular lakes comes into view just in time to motivate continuing.  Uneven steps continue down to a branch for steps up to climbing walls on the right.  Straight ahead continues down to the pristine, and amazingly beautiful, emerald, clear-water gems.

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada Grassi Lakes come into view in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada Approaching Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada Approaching the east climbing wall trail junction above Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes are tiny when defined by size.  They are huge in beauty and a perennial source of wilderness photographic opportunity with a seemingly infinite array of light and shadow combined with endless combinations of unique color and reflection.

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada Arrival at the shoreline of Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada Cascading white water in a tiny brook between the two Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

The next hour is spent absorbing the beauty of the immediate area with several forays into the labyrinth of formal and informal trails within this area.  There are endless wilderness photo opportunities.  There are few people here in this early morning on a weekday but any weekend or holiday is likely be overcrowded.

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada A plethora of avian activity is resident at Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Signage is virtually non-existent with the exception of general guidance for the 'easy' and 'difficult' access from Grassi Lakes formal parking off Smith-Dorrien Trail (Hwy 742) above Canmore.  Another small exception is a group of cryptic signs which document the relationship between the Grassi Lake Trails, Riders of Rohan Trail, Rundle Canal and the main power line corridor.  Arguably better than nothing.

 

Grassi Lakes, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada Looking back to the climbing walls at Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada A wide variety of beautiful birds at Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

From shoreline trails along Grassi Lakes, subsidiary trails will discover other gems including old mining artifacts, a historic log bench at the Lawrence Grassi interpretive plaque and outstanding views into the valley of Rundle Canal, the Town of Canmore and north-side mountains along the Bow Valley Corridor

Lawrence Grassi is of legendary proportion for the contribution he made to this area during his lifetime.  Massive Mount Lawrence Grassi is the mountain east of Ha Ling Peak and framed on the other side by easily recognizable Three Sisters Mountain.

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada A labyrinth of subsidiary trail near Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada An old rustic bench at the Lawrence Grassi plaque near Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada A scenic view over Rundle Canal past Canmore to Grotto Mountain and Mount Lady Macdonald from near Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

After absorbing the scenery in the Bow Valley Corridor over Canmore, the return to Grassi Lakes succumbs to the overwhelming urge to capture additional images on my way back towards the climbing walls and the relatively steep climb out.

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada Grassi Lakes view in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada A short study of two boulders under water at Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada A short study of two boulders under water at Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada A short study of two boulders under water at Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada A short study of two boulders under water at Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

The tiny streams which connect Grassi Lakes are captivating in both sight and sound.  One of the small tributaries hosts a memorial monument for Lawrence Grassi.

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada Pathway at Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada The Lawrence Grassi Memorial Monument at Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada The Lawrence Grassi memorial plaque at Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada A tiny brook connecting the two Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada A final look back while ascending from Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes is a special place.  The only activity remaining is the ascent, via the same steps used for earlier descent, to the car parked at Whitemans Pond.

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada The ascent, on the same trail, from Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada The ascent, on the same trail, from Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada Back at the dam after ascent, via the same trail, from Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

 

Grassi Lakes, Bow Valley Corridor, Canmore, Alberta, Canada A final view over Canmore to north side mountains from the dam above Grassi Lakes in the shadow of Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Bow Valley Corridor west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

The short hike to Grassi Lakes, however and whenever achieved, is always a special occasion.  The absolute beauty of this mountain oasis is good for relaxing the soul. 

The next objective for the day is on the other side of Canmore where Cougar Creek access will observe changes precipitated by the June 2013 flood. Substantial damage occurred in Canmore due to the massive outflow from the canyon between Mount Lady Macdonald and Grotto Mountain on the north side of Bow Valley Corridor.

Photos for this post were taken at Grassi Lakes above Canmore, Alberta, Canada on July 28, 2014.

 

 

 

 

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