1. Smutwood Peak
A scramble up Smutwood Peak is an absolute corker. The hike starts as an easy ramble along a creek before emerging out on subalpine meadows. Soon you will cross an unbelievably destructive avalanche path and start the steep ascent to the Birdwood Pass.
From here the two Birdwood Lakes will be right in front of you and you will get your first glimpse of the Mount Smuts, still an hour away. I spotted a sow with her cub swimming in the lakes when hiking on this trail, and many other hikers reported the sightings too.
The view of Mount Birdwood is the reason that this hike isn’t only one of the best hikes around Canmore and Kananaskis Country but makes it to the top of my list of the best day hikes in the Canadian Rockies.
2. Lake O’Hara Alpine Circuit
The Lake O’Hara Alpine Circuit is 12 km in length and it’s a combination of the following trails: Lake O’Hara shoreline hike, The Wiwaxy Gap, Hueber Ledges, The Yukness Ledges, The Opabin Plateau and the All Souls Alpine Route.
Together they circumnavigate both Lake O’Hara and Mary Lake at varying elevations, giving you incredible vistas, at all times. In this case however, fame and beauty come at a price.
The daily bus shuttle runs only a few times a day, limiting your chances of visiting the Lake O’hara region on a day trip. Moreover scoring a reservation is nearly impossible and requires some serious determination. My complete guide to Lake O’Hara will help you with the booking process so you don’t miss out!