Golden, B.C. is surrounded by six national parks which makes it a fun place for adventurers. From hiking and biking to paragliding and trail running, these parks make the daylight hours extremely joyful. In honour of Canada’s 150th birthday, we have decided to name our favourite trails in each of the parks, to help out all of you who will be coming to take in the magnificent peaks.
Glacier National Park is the first park heading west out of Golden. The infamous Rogers Pass is located within its borders, shining light on the vastness of this area. With a handful of hikes easily accessible from Highway 1, there really is no reason not to explore the trails here. Since many of the hikes start at the same location - Illecillewaet Campground - we recommend staying here and hiking a different one each day, although Golden makes an excellent base too.
Here are our favourites hikes, Glacier National Park edition:
One of our absolute favourite hikes of all time! Get ready for a workout on this one though. Although it is a short 3 km trail up, it gains 870 meters in that time, making it a steep climb. BUT don’t be alarmed… the views from the top of this trail are totally worth it.
The first half of this trail is a lovely trek in a rich, old growth forest. You will quickly come across an open view of the surrounding mountains, before climbing to the top where the path levels off to a stone slab path, before ending in a large rocky bowl with views of the ice fields.
For the more adventurous ones (or people who want a bit of a break), four backcountry camping spots are designated at the top, with an outdoor toilet hidden out of the way. So feel free to relax and soak in the views, before making your way back down.
We highly recommend this hike for a day… its a beauty! It is easily accessible off Highway 1. You will see a sign indicating the trail 1.5km east of the Roger’s Pass Discovery Centre.
While this is not the easiest hike in the world, it is one that we will recommend to anyone looking for a challenge. With a sincerely stunning turquoise lake and magnificent views of the region from the top, this hike definitely rewards you for all your hard work.
This 11 km round-trip hike is one that takes you up more than 1140 meters, making it a fairly strenuous route. However the wildlife, forestry and waterfalls are second only to the view that encompasses you once you reach the end of the forest.
This series of switchbacks at the end will definitely get your heart racing, but the beginning of the trail is more forgiving, with a gradual incline through a lush forest. After the first 2.4 km, you can come to the trail junction for Mount Sir Donald and Perley Rock. From here, the views of the valley are spectacular.
You will then hike on more difficult terrain through a bunch of switchbacks. But here, you will be astonished at your surroundings making it entirely worth it.
Insider Tip: Poles help on this one
This trailhead is located at the Illecillewaet Campground, located 3 km west from the summit of Rogers Pass, just off Highway 1.
Mount Sir Donald
Just like its sister Perley Rock, Mount Sir Donald is a more strenuous day hike, but with lovely views of the valley below.
The start to this hike is the same trail as Perley Rock, so it begins fairly gradual until you reach the fork in the trail (head left for Mount Sir Donald). Although not as steep as Perley Rock - gaining 915 meters of elevation - this trail still holds the same merit when it comes to its views.
From the fork, you will quickly climb a slope filled with boulders, but the final climb happens within the last kilometre. As you near the top, the trail quality loosens, so be careful of the gravel. But once you reach the summit, you will not be disappointed. It is one breathtaking view.
The best part about this hike? You can see the summit of Mount Sir Donald shortly after crossing Vaux Creek, making it a fun mission to get to the end.
This trailhead is also located t the Illecillewaet Campground, located 3 km west from the summit of Rogers Pass, just off Highway 1.
This is another hike located at the Illecillewaet Campground trailhead (we told you it might be a good idea to camp here!). Another steep climb, this ridge line can be seen whilst scouring Perley Rock and enjoying the scene below.
Gaining 1029 meters of elevation in 6.8 km, Abbot Ridge boasts a wide variety of terrain during its length, and results in sweeping views of many iconic features of Glacier National Park.
Starting in a subalpine forest, this trail turns into a step climb in rocky terrain before the tree line breaks into a meadow. Here you will notice the clearly defined trail that showcases the strenuous switchbacks that will lead you to the ridge.
Although it looks hearty, it is not as bad as it seems because the views are just so breathtaking. The end of the trail is marked with a sign, and will give you a wide variety of scenery to look at - from Mount Sir Donald to Marion Lake, to Vaux Glacier (only to name a few!).
So there you have it, our favourite hikes in Glacier National Park. It is worthy to note that these hikes are not necessarily for beginners, and it is best to tackle only one per day. But, the rewards for your hard work are entirely worth it. We love exploring here, and if you are up for the challenge, we know you will too!
Now go live an adventure!
Cheers, from the Glacier Crew