Hike to Glacier Lake
Banff National Park
May 18, 2013
As with most of our backcountry trips, our day began before sunrise, with a five-ish hour drive from Edmonton. The trailhead is about two kilometres north of the Saskatchewan Crossing (Junction of Highway 93/Icefields Parkway and Highway 11/David Thompson Highway) west of Nordegg. The parking lot is well signed and fairly large, so there isn't a problem finding a place to park.
From the trailhead the Glacier Lake Trail quickly descends to the North Saskatchewan River, which is quite large and fast flowing, even though it's less than 40 kilometres from its source at the Saskatchewan Glacier. After crossing the river, the trail continues along an area that must have had a forest fire many years ago, because the trees are fairly large, but there are occasional burnt logs scattered about.
About two kilometres from the trailhead there is a bench along the Howse River that provides a fantastic view to the south and west. The trail then follows the north side of the braided Howse River for about a kilometre before ascending about 250 metres over a ridge south of Survey Peak. This section of trail is entirely in the forest and does not provide much for views until you descend about 250 metres to reach Glacier Lake. After going up, over, and down the ridge, the campground is at basically the same elevation as the trailhead.
Cumulative Ascent/Descent: 370m