Elevation Gain: 250m
Distance: 3.8km (In and Out Trail)
Perfect for: Carriers, single/double Chariot, part walking-part pick-up
Although a popular and busy trail, Grassi Lakes is a favourite of mine because of its versatility. I was able to hike it pregnant, with a new born, independent toddler, plus its a great way to start the season and get those legs back!
Located down a hill off Spray Lakes Road, roughly 2km past the Nordic Centre, this trail is a great option for families and kids who don’t want to spend the day in the car. It has two (2) trail options. The easy route goes up a gravel access road and can easily accommodate Chariots and small, beginner hikers. The difficult route goes through a wooded trail and offers great views of the water fall and Canmore village. The best part (in my opinion) are the turquoise pools that you can sit and enjoy once you reach the top while watching the rock climbers.
We’ve hiked this trail several times. Typically we choose the difficult route because of the views and terrain type preference. I would not suggest it if you’re feeling wobbly on your feet (pregnant or carrying baby) because there is a steep section near the top. The beginning of the trail is great for young toddlers who want to walk and explore however it quickly starts to go uphill so plan to have a carrier for the transition. This path will not accommodate a stroller/Chariot. You can also plan to cross streams, climb rock stairways, and encounter narrow sections. When hiking pregnant and with a newborn, we went up this way but went down the easy path to avoid any risks of falling.
The beginner route isn’t as scenic but still gives a sense of accomplishment once you reach the top. It’s wide and gradual so you can easily hike with a group and bring a stroller/Chariot. It’s also a great “exit” if the baby (or kids) is getting restless and you need to bee-line to the vehicle.
Once you reach the top, kids can explore over bridges, watch the rock climbers, and throw rocks into the turquoise pools. Plan to bring a snack and/or lunch and relax in the sun.