Stanley Glacier Hike

Stanley Glacier is located in Kootenay National Park in southeastern British Columbia  forming part of a World Heritage Site.

Highway 93 near Trailhead

New Growth After Fire

Near The Edge Of The Forest

This is our first stop on a seven-day journey through south-central BC and southwestern Alberta. It’s a short commute down Highway 93 from TCH near Banff traveling south to Stanley Glacier trailhead. The trail itself is approximately 4.2 km, well maintained with numerous switchbacks especially during the first kilometer. Even though the first part of the hike passes through a huge burnt area, it too has its beauty accompanied by the sound of wind whistling through the still standing black trees. Apparently, the fire was a result of a lightning strike in 1968.

Josh Looking Ahead

It isn’t long before we enter an area of more mature, old growth forests with only traces of burnt wood. The trees quickly thin as altitude increases eventually giving way to tonnes of rock debris (also called moraine) left behind by the retreating glacier. This is the end of the well-marked trail. From here on you have to be more conscious of where you step and which area has worn rocks indicating it’s the path most traveled.

The final kilometre is somewhat difficult with sharp-edge rocks and boulders making it unclear which route to follow. A spectacular view at the end overlooking the entire valley certainly compensates for the long tedious journey and the steep incline. Even though it’s a slow process, a retreating glacier, which took thousands of years to form and many more years to shrink, can leave a lasting impression on the surrounding landscape. It also left a lasting impression on me.


~ by spencedove on January 15, 2013.

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