Five Epic Day-hikes in the Northern Rockies!
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If you are feeling a little road weary on your next Alaska Highway road trip, we have the perfect solution for you.
When it comes to shaking off the road legs, hiking through pristine mountain wilderness can be a good way to reinvigorate both body and mind.
The Northern Rockies play host to some of the most scenic and easily accessible hiking trails along the entire historical route. Travelling north from the town of Fort Nelson, the highway ascends into the high alpine wilderness of the northern Rocky Mountains at Steamboat Mountain – roughly 45 minutes away.
From this point and beyond, the highway snakes its way through Stone Mountain, and Muncho Lake provincial parks. Both offer a wide array of mountain day hikes that are all marked with trailhead signage visible from the roadway.
There are nearly 20 designated hiking trails in the Northern Rockies, ranging from easy to moderate levels of difficulty. Although each offer amazing beauty and appeal, here is a list of our favourite five!
1. Flowering Springs Trail / Stone Mountain Provincial Park – A popular hike amongst locals, the trail features moderate elevation gain as it rises into vibrant sub alpine moraines from the Alaska Highway. Peak wildflower season in July, with the chance to spot wildlife such as Stone’s Sheep and Caribou make this route a photographers dream. The trail eventually leads to a series of teal green alpine lakes – the perfect spot to enjoy lunch before heading back out to the highway. Allow 6hrs return.
2. Summit Peak Trail / Stone Mountain Provincial Park – For a more vertical challenge, Summit Peak trail rises above the Alaska Highway as it ascends up Mount St Paul to its summit, some 1000 metres later. Approximately 30 minutes from the trailhead, the route exits the alpine forest, then works its way up the broad, exposed shale slopes that offer panoramic views of the greater Stone Mountain Provincial Park the entire way up to the top. Allow 5hrs return.
3. Baba Canyon Trail / Stone Mountain Provincial Park – An excellent option on a warm summers day due to its proximity to flowing, crystal clear water. The Baba Canyon trail leads up a decent sized mountain stream that cascades down to the MacDonald River Valley, leaving behind a series of photogenic waterfalls and erosion channels through the shale rock bed. The trail ends at a set of broad alpine meadows that are often teeming with Stone Sheep. Allow 5hrs return.
4. Stone’s Sheep Trail / Stone Mountain Provincial Park – For a shorter option, try Stone’s Sheep trail in beautiful Muncho Lake Provincial Park. This hike is easy in terms of difficulty, and embarks up a large alluvial fan from the Alaska Highway, just off the lake shore. About 30 minutes from the trailhead, hikers will come up on a series of erosion pillars that offer up some intriguing land features to say the least. Allow 2 hrs return.
5. Mineral Lick Trail / Muncho Lake Provincial Park – With its natural deposits of salts and nutrients, Mineral Lick trail is a great place to view wildlife in the summer months. Like its namesake, animals such as Stone’s Sheep, Moose, and Caribou flock to the area to lick the minerals from the soils found in the unique pillars of sand and stone. The trail loop is short in distance, but full of life with its setting above the Trout River. Allow 1.5hrs return.
For additional notes and information, check out the Northern Rockies hiking trail guide by clicking the following link: https://www.tourismnorthernrockies.ca
Remember to always be prepared whenever venturing into the wilderness. Pack adequate food and water for your journey, be prepared for sudden changes in the weather, know your capabilities, and have a plan before heading out!
Most importantly, enjoy every second of it!
-The Alaska Highway