Dayhike along Glacier Lake
Banff National Park
May 19, 2013
The clouds were very low when we woke up, but our plan was to hike to the end of the lake to keep our legs moving. After breakfast we started the hike along the north shore of the lake in a bit of rain. Thankfully the rain held off but it stayed cool for most of our hike.
The trail follows the shore of Glacier Lake the entire way, about 4.5 kilometres, and for the most part rolls up and down a few metres at a time. One section, at about kilometre two, the shore is quite steep and the trail rises upslope about 30-40 metres for a short distance.
There are two very significant avalanche slopes along the lake, about halfway and two-thirds of the way along the lake, where avalanche debris and deadfall completely block the trail. Because the debris has been there for a few years now, hikers have trail-braided a number of different routes through the debris. We found that the best solution was to bushwhack to the lake, and simply walk on the rocks along the shore. For the most part we were able to avoid tricky climbs over fallen logs and other debris by doing this.
At the west end of the lake we ate some snacks, admired the view to the west of the Division Mountain and the Southeast Lyell Glacier (apparently the trail/route continues all the way to the glacier - another 5 kilometres away). Then we turned around and retraced our steps back to the campground on the east side of the lake.
By the time we got back to the campground and made supper, the clouds had lifted and the scenery significantly improved. We ate dinner on the shore of Glacier Lake with an awesome view to the west. The wind even died down which allowed us to see a nice reflection in the lake.
We tried waiting up to take some photos of the stars, but it seemed like it took forever for twilight to end, and there was still a high cloud layer that obscured most of the stars. However, we did get some nice photos of the lake at night with the bright moon shining.
Cumulative Ascent/Descent: 200m