Jagged, rocky peaks; emerald alpine lakes and blankets of evergreen are just a few of the features that make BC’s Glacier National Park so picturesque. The park seems made for postcards featuring a quintessentially Canadian mountain landscape. But if you’re like us, you’re not interested in postcards—you want to see it for yourself. Step into the picture and check out our top hikes in the park.

 

photo
Credit: Judy Gallagher Flickr cc by 2.0

1. Asulkan Valley Trail

 

Length: 13.8 km return
Time: 7 - 8 hours
Elevation Gain: 869 m
Trailhead: Trail is accessed from the Illicillewaet Campground. 

A true rocky mountain experience, the Asulkan Valley trail travels alongside a mountain stream and past views of waterfalls before climbing steeply along a glacial moraine to the Asulkan Hut, which can be reserved for use with the Alpine Club of Canada. Keep an eye out for pikas and marmots sunning themselves along the trail.

Read Morepc.gc.ca

 

2. Loop Brook Trail

 

Length: 1.6 km loop
Time: 45 minutes
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trailhead: Trailhead is located just east of the Loop Brook Campground

Follow an abandoned railroad track past historic stone pillars, which are some of the oldest man-made structures in western Canada. Interpretive signs delve into the railway’s intriguing history. Lush forest, mountain views and a clear glacial river complete the experience.

Read Morepc.gc.ca

 

3. Abandoned Rails Trail

 

Length: 2.4 km return
Time: 1 hour
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trailhead: Trail is accessed from Roger’s Pass Discovery Centre

This flat, asphalt trail between the Discovery Centre and the summit of Roger’s Pass offers another romp through the railway’s history—this time, with a tragic twist. Informative signs describe the events surrounding the infamous avalanches of 1910 that claimed the lives of over 50 railroad workers. 

Read Moretrails.com 

Bloggers who have lived the adventure: hikingwithbarry.com

 

4. Great Glacier Trail

 

Length: 6.4 km return
Time: 3 - 4 hours
Elevation Gain: 321 m
Trailhead: Trail is accessed from the Illecillewaet Campground.

Contrary to its name, this trail doesn’t actually go to the “Great Glacier." But for fresh air, gorgeous views and an adventurous hike that won’t take all day, this trail can’t be beat. Plus, it treats hikers to a panoramic view of Mount Sir Donald and the Vaux Glacier.

Read Morepc.gc.ca

 

photo
Credit: PunkToad Flickr cc by 2.0

5. Mount Sir Donald Trail

 

Length: 10.2 km return
Time: 5 - 8 hours
Elevation Gain: 1,008 m
Trailhead: Trail is accessed from the Illecillewaet Campground.

Doubling as an approach to the base of the climbing routes that summit the iconic Mount Sir Donald, this trail is not for the faint of heart. Steep, challenging and well-worth the effort, this hiking trail climbs high into the alpine where the summit of Mount Sir Donald looms large and views of the entire world (or at least of the nearby peaks and glaciers) expand in the other direction.

Read Morepc.gc.ca 

Bloggers who have lived the adventurestevensong.com

 

6. Bald Hills Trails

 

Length: 16 - 40 km
Time: Up to 4 days
Elevation Gain: Varies (up to 1,130 m)
Trailhead: Trail access is from Purcell Mountain Lodge or from the Copperstain Pass area

At the eastern boundary of Glacier National park, the topography changes, and the Bald Hills stretch out in a rolling homage to the subalpine meadow. Because it is not easily accessed, this area is uncrowded and not as rigorously maintained by the park—it's true wilderness. Different options for exploring exist, but unless you’re staying at the luxurious Purcell Lodge, plan to camp.

Read Morepc.gc.ca 

 

7. Avalanche Crest Trail

 

Length: 10 km return
Time: 6 hours
Elevation Gain: 989 m
Trailhead: Trail is accessed from the Illecillewaet Campground.

From treeless slopes to an open alpine basin, this trail holds proof of winter's avalanches. Soak in incredible views from the Crest.

Read Moregoldenhikes.ca

 

8. Perley Rock Trail

 

Length: 10.8 km return
Time: 7 - 8 hours
Elevation Gain: 1,143 m
Trailhead: Trail is accessed from the Illecillewaet Campground.

Another challenging hike with a big payoff, this trail shares its first few kilometres with the Mount Sir Donald trail. Climbing steadily along a series of steep switchbacks, the trail eventually arrives at a snow slope. If the conditions, your equipment, and your abilities align, cross the snow slope to arrive at the summit, and take in a breathtaking view of the Illecillewaet Icefield. 

Read Morepc.gc.ca 

Bloggers who have lived the adventurehikingwithbarry.com

 

9. Abbott Ridge Trail

 

Length: 13.6 km return
Time: 8 - 10 hours
Elevation Gain: 1,029 m
Trailhead: Trail is accessed from the Illecillewaet Campground.

For a true alpine experience, it’s hard to top Abbott Ridge. Breaking free of the trees early, the trail meanders through lush alpine meadows before climbing the ridge to panoramic views of nearby mountains and glaciers, including Mount Sir Donald and the Illecillewaet Glacier.

Read Morepc.gc.ca

 

10. Balu Pass Trail

 

Length: 12.8 km return
Time: 4 - 6 hours
Elevation Gain: 780 m
Trailhead: Trail is accessed from the Roger’s Pass Discovery Centre

This trail climbs along a valley floor, through trees and meadow to the summit of Balu Pass. Guarded on one side by three bear-monikered mountains and kept company by a crystal-clear creek, this hike is a truly pleasant experience. 

Read Morepc.gc.ca

 

 

Have you hiked these epic trails in Glacier National Park?

Tell us about your favourite trek in a comment below!

 

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