This is a popular hike and a very popular area for sport climbers. The trail leads to two small turquoise blue lakes. From the parking lot, follow the service road for the first 100 metres, then keep left on the well-defined hiking trail. The first kilometre is a gentle ascent through forest with a delightful assortment of wildflowers in bloom throughout the month of June. Approximately 100 meters into the hike is the first intersection (waypoint #002). At this point you can choose the easy or more difficult route.
The easy route appears to be a fire road but by taking this route you miss out on the waterfall and views of Canmore and the Bow Valley. The more difficult route is not very difficult but as always you have to watch your footing. On the more difficult route there is a series of stairs to make the climb easier. On the way up are great views of Ha Ling Peak and at the top the two lakes. For more adventurous souls, a short scramble above the upper lake takes you to a canyon and a genuine petroglyph on a large boulder. The area around and above the upper lake is also a popular spot for sport climbing and provides lots of entertainment if you like watching spandex-clad climbers practice their moves.
The trailhead is located 4.7 km south of Canmore on the Smith-Dorrien-Spray Lakes Road (Highway 742).To get there from the west or far end of Canmore's Main Street (8th St.), follow the signs for the Canmore Nordic Centre which will take you south of town. When you reach the end of the pavement just past the Nordic Centre, turn left at the Grassi Lakes sign. Follow this descending road for 500 metres and you will see the trailhead on your right.
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Posted By: stokedon
- Mon Mar 14 21:56:11 UTC 2016
QuestionMy partner and I are hoping to head up here in a few weeks with my parents who are a little less experienced than us. How's the ice situation? We have ice crampons but my parents don't currently.
ANSWERS are in this forum: Ice?
Posted By: sueg
- Sat Oct 24 16:37:38 UTC 2015
I have vertigo and can do most anything but can't climb or scale cliffss. Can you recommend some more difficult but not to difficult trails for me to hike in Canmore and around Lake Louise.
Susan GodfreyANSWERS are in this forum: Trails
Posted By: Tuyen Phan
- Fri May 15 00:36:55 UTC 2015
My family intends to visit Grassi Lake this weekend, Please let me know what activities there we can do for our family with 2 sons (7 & 9 years old).
ThanksANSWERS are in this forum: Activities at Grassi Lake
Posted By: EversinCalgary
- Sun Aug 24 00:46:38 UTC 2014
UpsideThis was our first hike and we took the more difficult route. We really enjoy the hike, especially going on different terrains. The view of the waterfalls was great and having little streams cross the paths were great for the dogs to have a quick drink. DownsideLots of people. We take the dogs along when hiking and had to stop to let people past that were walking the other way. CommentThe lakes are amazingly clear. We took some time to have a picnic and enjoy the view. Would recommend this hike to anyone.
Posted By: longleggedhiker
- Sat Aug 25 15:10:36 UTC 2012
UpsideA good, well-marked trail to beautiful lakes that is fairly easy and located just outside of Canmore DownsideCant spend more than 1.5 hours here CommentTo lakes, waterfalls and views of mountains from a trail with interpretive signs and plentiful benches to sit on make this a very popular trail for anyone who is in the area. Definitely take some time out of your day to visit Grassi Lakes Trail if you are in the Canmore Area,
Posted By: df_kerr
- Sat Jul 28 23:20:59 UTC 2012
Upsidethe fire road would be good for people with limited mobility. a nice walk through the forest. Lots of beautiful flowers. It gets you up to the lakes though, which is the best part. Be sure to check out the cave on the cliff side of the second lake! great photo op! DownsideNo where near as nice as the moderate trail. you miss out on the views and the waterfall. Commenttook the easy route down and after taking the moderate route up was very disappointed with our decision. It just cannot match the majesty of the moderate route. Still a nice stroll through the forest.
Posted By: MelZo
- Mon Jul 11 15:39:38 UTC 2011
Upside"More Difficult" trail was scenic and not too bad for all ages, though the stairs after the waterfall are a little high for those of us with short legs DownsideTrail was extremely busy by the time we left CommentWe went earlier in the morning, and I am glad we did! We encountered a few other hikers on the way up - we took the "more difficult" trail up. Lots to see, tons of mini-falls that cross the path that gave the dog some water while we were walking. Once we got to the lakes, there were a few more people around and people up climbing, but it still wasn't too busy.
We went up to check out the glyphs, and I don't agree with calling that a "scramble." There is a clearly defined path and boulder stairs almost right to the paintings, so it's a "moderate" hike, but not a scramble. Anyways, it was gorgeous - the glyphs are, at present, indicated just by a small inkjet-printed sign and protected by a small rope.
By the time we were heading back down from the glyphs, there were a lot of people on the trails, with a lot of dogs. If you bring an animal, make sure it's comfortable around kids and other dogs, or leave it at home. Some of the trails are narrow enough that you are practically walking hand in hand with the people around you.
We took the easy trail, and my sister took the more difficult trail, back down because our dog doesn't like stairs and we didn't want to push him on the stairs by the waterfall. We met up just about right at the trailhead, so there's not much difference in time. The parking lot was overfull and people were parking on the road when we left. Definitely try to do this earlier in the day - it was before 1 o'clock when we left and there was no parking. Also, no washrooms except at the trailhead.
Posted By: Jo_onthego
- Mon Jul 04 03:43:04 UTC 2011
UpsideShort and steep if you take the difficult trail. Beautiful views and be sure to scramble up to the petroglyph. DownsideNot long enough! Commentthis was a hike that started off a 6 day adventure in the Rockies with a women's hiking group. None of us had met each other yet so this was a great way to break the ice as well as enjoy some spectacular scenery.
Posted By: ken1318
- Wed May 26 01:48:02 UTC 2010
UpsideEasy trail for kids and seniors too. Excellent half day hiking! CommentBetter to use easy trail to go up and use difficult trail when you come down.
Posted By: ken1318
- Wed May 26 01:46:24 UTC 2010
UpsideEasy trail for kids and seniors too. Excellent half day hiking! CommentBetter to use easy trail to go up and use difficult trail and you come down
Posted By: belljanet
- Sun Apr 04 21:39:23 UTC 2010
UpsideNice early season hike. DownsideStill ice on the trail.
Posted By: gersh
- Thu Sep 17 17:06:57 UTC 2009
UpsideThe "difficult" route is the way to go great views of waterfalls CommentCan be busy but there are several places around both lakes to stop and enjoy