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 meadow—which leads to pretty Helen Lake—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).