Fantastic Fall Hikes Near Canmore
LARCH MADNESS! Fall is the time to catch the colours changing, and the last chance to reach a few choice spots before the roads and trails start closing. There are definitely plenty of hikes to be thankful for at this time of year! Remember that weather is always changing in the mountains. When setting out on fall hikes you should be prepared to see a bit of every season.
Local Favourite: Sentinel Pass via Larch Valley Trail, Lake Louise (11.6 km / Hard)
You will have to wake up early for this one! Moraine Lake parking lot gets full by 6am during Larch season. You can arrive early and have a nap in your car before setting off, but most hikers will get going immediately while it is still dark as the hike up to the Larch Valley isn’t all that. You will get the chance to see Lake Moraine on the way back down anyway. It is quite a steep climb, so don’t feel bad taking plenty of breaks. Those people overtaking you in the first hour? Trust me, they are going to be behind you again by lunch!
Once the forested switchbacks are out of the way, and the sun has hopefully risen, you will find yourself in the midst of Larch season. Generally, from mid to late September, various valleys around the area burst into gold. And nowhere does it more, or better, than the aptly named Larch Valley. You will then only have to endure a gradual ascent through the valley, where it is almost impossible to take too many photos. Eventually, the trail rises above the timberline, and you can take in the sheer majesty of the mountains around you.
It is definitely worth carrying on from here up to the Sentinel Pass. Situated between Mt Temple and Pinnacle Mountain, it offers the finest and most spectacular views of almost anywhere in the Canadian Rockies. The ascent can be a little slushy and icy, but perseverance will be rewarded. On the way back down, you will get some nice views of Lake Moraine through the trees to round out the day.
You won’t regret the early start!
More Fall Hikes Around Canmore
Pocaterra Ridge in Kananaskis (9.8 km / Hard)
A point to point hike that requires some serious stamina. Prepare to feel the burn in those thighs, but the views are stunning and then some! A couple Larches for your troubles too!
Bow River Trail in Canmore (6.1 km / Easy)
A nice stroll by the river and through some forest. Nothing more, nothing less. This is where you’ll be able to snag that classic “Canmore Engine Bridge with Ha Ling and EEOR in the background” picture we know you’ve all been searching for.
Sarrail Ridge via Rawson Lake Trail in Kananaskis (11.3 km / Hard)
For those who wish to push themselves a little bit further into the deep wilderness. Varied difficult terrain from loose dirt to straight up rock sections with ropes, but totally worth it. Please be aware that if you are going to encounter a grizzly bear anywhere, it would be here!
C Level Cirque (9.3 km / Moderate)
Cascade Mountain’s little brother, a winding trail past old mine entrances and through the forest brings you to the base of the mountain. A scramble up the right of the Cirque is a must, the views of Lake Minnewanka are truly something special!
We’ve created guides for all seasons! Check out these posts where we’ve also detailed day hikes for Summer, Spring, and Winter. It is worth noting that all of these hikes require that dogs be leashed – for off leash dog park recommendations, check here.