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Helen Lake and Dolomite Pass {Banff National Park}

Helen Lake and Dolomite Pass {Banff National Park}

Helen Lake / Dolomite Pass

  • Distance – 12 km RT / 18 km RT
  • Elevation – 453 meters / 550 meters
  • Trailhead – Highway 93 North, 33 km north of the Lake Louise Junction across from the Crowfoot Glacier viewpoint.

Unfortunately the world has found out about Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. The summer of 2017 was especially ridiculous when Canada decided to make the parks free for its 150th birthday – everyone in the world seemed to come to enjoy the park.

It was very nice, very Canadian of Canada to do this … and it made it crazy.

On one of those days in 2017 when we found ourselves at the overflow parking lot for the overflow parking lot to take a shuttle to the town of Lake Louise, only to be forced to take a shuttle out of Louise to get to the first overflow parking lot to catch a shuttle up to Moraine Lake … only to have to do it backwards before 6:00 pm when the shuttles stopped running …

Insanity.

Needless to say when a bus that only takes 18 passengers showed up, the 100 people in line groaned and we left.

Abandoning the plan meant we had to find a new plan and quick. Luckily I had grabbed the hiking maps at the visitor centre. Spreading them out on the hood of the car, we had a plan in about 3 minutes  – Helen Lake and then home.

Helen Lake sounds boring, but it will surprise you with its beauty!

About 30 minutes north on highway 93 and suddenly the tiny trailhead parking lot was on our right. It was overflowing with cars as well, but somehow we squished in and were able to start hiking.

Finally!

The wide, well-defined, and rooted trail starts out in the trees and winds you around the mountain towards what feels like the back of the foothill.

About 2 km in, viewpoints for the glacier start to pop out of the trees – make sure to take the little spurs and check out the view, it is well worth every second.

Dolomite Mountain and Helen Lake, Banff
Crowfoot Glacier views.

July in the mountains means wildflowers. 

Helen Lake was overrun with them, in a good way. Tiny blue flowers, paintbrush, wild iris looking flowers, and ones that looked like they belong in a Dr. Seuss book were all out in their glory, vying for everyone’s attention.

Dolomite Mountain and Helen Lake, Banff
I feel like Dr. Seuss would love these …
Dolomite Mountain and Helen Lake, Banff
So tiny and stunning!

After a gentle climb, the trail pops you out into a meadow filled with incredible mountain views, a stream, Helen Lake, and views of the visually striking Dolomite Mountain.

Helen Lake isn’t as beautiful as I had hoped it would be, but the pass, wildflowers, and Dolomite Mountain more than made up for it.

Dolomite Mountain and Helen Lake, Banff
Helen Lake … smaller and less impressive than anticipated.
Dolomite Mountain and Helen Lake, Banff
The views from the trail are stunning!
Dolomite Mountain and Helen Lake, Banff
I just couldn’t get enough of this mountain – Dolomite has a striking presence, that is for sure!

If you’re looking for an afternoon hike full of incredible beauty, put Helen Lake on your list of to do’s. The additional 100 meters of elevation and 6 kms to enjoy Dolomite Pass are definitely worth your effort and time.

Happy hiking!



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