Looking for a beautiful hike? Head to Banff National Park, AlbertaHelen Lake
This moderate hike climbs through open forest with regular views toward the glacier-capped peaks of the Continental Divide before cresting a ridge and entering one of the largest alpine meadows in the park. By early July, this expansive meadowâ€”which leads to pretty Helen Lakeâ€”will be painted in wildflowers, and the views will leave you dallying till sunset. Continue beyond the lake to the ridge above for even better views.
Length (one way): Seven km; four to six hours.
Elevation gain: 1,900 feet, to the ridge.
Directions: The trailhead is across from the Crowfoot Glacier viewpoint on the Icefields Parkway, 33 kilometres north of the Trans-Canada Highway.
Resources: Don't Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies, by Kathy and Craig Copeland ($30; hikingcamping.com).