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Grassi Lakes Circuit

  • Difficulty
  • 4km
  • 185m
  • 1-2h
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The Grassi Lake hike is an ideal route in Canmore for beginners, families unaccustomed to hiking in the mountains, or ones with smaller children. It includes a pair of cozy, crystal clear lakes surrounded by impressive rock faces.

Getting there

Drive 1.1km past the Canmore Nordic Centre and take the left turn down Ken Ritchie Way to the Grassi Lake Trail head.

elevation

Total Gain: 185m

About

Type of Hike Out and Back
Crowd Levels Very High
Route Signage Good
Toilets Trailhead
Family Friendly Yes
Backcountry Campgrounds No
When to Do May through October

 Detailed Description

Perhaps the hardest part of this hike is getting to it. Head past the Canmore Nordic Centre and take your first left, down a paved road to a parking lot on your right. If you get here later in the morning, you may be parking on the road.

Start off on a wide gravel access road that leads into the forest from the parking lot. After approximately 150m, a smaller trail leads off to the left into the forest. At this point you can choose to continue on the wide “easy” path to the lakes or take this route to the left, which was built by Lawrence Grassi.

The “easy” path is a steady climb on a wide gravel path. All-terrain strollers can handle this route, and the path is simple to follow. The “difficult” forest trail is a much more exciting route, though not suitable for strollers or young children. In wet or snowy weather we don’t recommend this trail, as the potential for injury is possible.

Personally, we prefer to do a circuit where we go up on the “difficult” trail and down on the “easy” trail, which we’ll describe below.

After taking the left-hand trail, you’ll be on a smaller path that heads away from the main route. There are few challenges with route finding, and your path will provide greater views. After approximately 1.7km you will reach the Lawrence Grassi Waterfall. Note that there is some exposure on the stone steps that have been created, and they do get quite slippery.

Coming past the waterfall you’ll soon reach a road. Turn right on this road and head towards the lakes. Take time to enjoy the first lake and then travel up to the second lake.

To return, head over the wooden bridges and towards the gravel path that is traveling back towards the start.

Insider Hints

  • This is a busy hike, so starting early or late gives increased solitude.
  • Head to Le Fournil Bakery in Canmore for the best pastries to bring along. Sit on a bench at one of the lakes and enjoy a wonderful break.