Easy summer scramble, easy ski mountaineering ascent. Details in "Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies" (summer route) and "Summits and Icefields of the Canadian Rockies" (winter).
Straight up Helen Creek, then up the SE ridge of Cirque. Watch out for the cornice. Skiing down the ridge is a little dicy (narrow & corniced on one side, no snow on the other). Summer trail looks pretty easy.
Distance is 14km return.
In winter please check the local avalanche bulletins.
NTS Map: 082N09
Elevation Gain: 1,050 m (3,444 ft).
33 km north of Lake Louise junction on Icefields Parkway. Park beside road - should be obvious trail on north side of creek.
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Posted By: Werecat_1_1
- Mon Sep 04 04:54:51 UTC 2017
UpsideAmazing views, So many landscapes in one hike, Something for everyone, No exposure DownsideThe last portion is a grind, Sharp cliff-drops near the top CommentThis has become my all time favorite hike to date due to the amount of landscapes it travels through as well as the variety in hiking required. Overall this was the perfect hike as my group was looking for combination of hiking and scrambling. The hike begins from the Helen Lake trail-head and begins rising through the forest. After walking around a mountain range the valley emerges and the landscape turns into an open plain until the Helen Lake comes into view. Up to this point I would consider it a moderate stroll requiring no strenuous exertion or skill. This portion took my group 1.5hrs. From Helen Lake onwards is where the struggle begins. The rest of the way up the mountain is a easy scramble skill-wise, but made very difficult by all the loose scree. (Picture hands & feet climbing just so you don't slide down the mountain). While this portion of the hike appeared short, it took us 2 hours to make it to the top which can be easily accessed from the right side of the mountain upon getting to the top. The views are well worth it. The only word of caution is that the top has a few sudden cliff-drops that are sometimes obscured by the scree, tread carefully and everything should be fine. Overall this is a must do in my books.
Posted By: G_loerkOfTheMountains
- Fri Jan 13 01:34:48 UTC 2017
UpsideThis is a great Mountain to try to scramble, the view is amazing and its easy, so for beginners to the scramble world it makes a great first. CommentI did it in the winter, there was no trail so the snow shoe in was allot of effort. The trip took me nearly 12 hours because I had to negotiate waste deep snow that I sunk in even though my snow shoes were 26". That being said it was enjoyable and the view is amazing! even in the -25ÂºC temps it was well worth the exerted effort
Posted By: pmjwright
- Fri Mar 03 23:21:43 UTC 2006
UpsideOne of the easiest scrambles yet one of the most outstanding viewpoints in all the Rockies. Even if you only hike to Helen Lake, its an absolutely must-do trip!! Wonderful views for all but first 2 km or so, scenic meadows, spectacular mountains. DownsideTrail may be closed when grizzlies are in area. CommentIt's hard to imagine improving on such a super hike, but we did. We came down the talus on SW side of Cirque peak, then up a short gully onto the ridge that separates Helen Creek valley from Bow Lake. We followed this ridge S, enjoying views of Bow Lake and the Dolomites all the way, then angled down through talus slopes and open areas to meet the trail only a short ways from the parking lot. With a good nose you can easily find a safe way down. Spectacular finish to a most outstanding hike!!
For photography, the best views are SW towards Bow Lake and the peaks beyond, so lighting is best in morning. By afternoon the sun is behind Bow Lake.
Posted By: Kmarshall
- Fri Jan 27 19:52:51 UTC 2006
UpsideAgain you are going to love this hike. We are not your typical hikers. We are old and lazy yet this hike was spectacular and again the dogs had a blast. We scrambled walked took in the seamless beauty. The Glaciers are spectacular, The mountains make you feel quite small in fact and the hike is easy and hard at times. But if we can do it you can do it. We have two herding dogs that are very agile and hardy so if you have a dog that loves to walk this is the trail. We did this in 6 hours round trip. We stopped and ate and lounged and then down we came. Take the day to do this start early and don't forget your suntan lotion and BUG SPRAY very important. This is a wonderful exilarting hike. Be prepared pack what you need and don't leave anything behind. DownsideCall to make sure there are no Grizzlies on the trail. Pick up the book Don't waste your time in the Rockies by Craig and Kathy Copland you will not be disappointed. CommentThis was a wonderful hike. Don't forget your camera. Go on the weekend go on a weekday we hardly saw anybody went in July 2005 and it was a blast. Hiking attire is mandatory no running shoes. Don't forget your hiking poles. Leash the dogs when appropraite. Let people know where and when and how long you are going for. We have a log book in our truck and voice mail to let our family know what we are doing. Be safe be pratical but above all have fun. The world is the stage where many wonderful delightful sceneries will develop in front of you always changing. Never a dull moment.
Posted By: Movement
- Thu Mar 17 19:12:46 UTC 2005
UpsideThe breathtaking views, the solitude, the beautiful trek in... DownsideAt the time, the smoke coming over from BC from all the forest fires at the time, but it didn't dampen our spirits... CommentThe best time to do this trek, literally is on a weekeday. Weekends get so jammed up, solitude is not an option, but I am glad to see more people getting out, just make sure you go prepared for the scramble, running shoes (like what some people were wearing) are not acceptable, and could put you into a dangerous position especially with so much loose scree... cheers