Canmore, just south of Banff, is an excellent winter town and a hub for winter sports. It is not as touristy as Banff and has a great mountain town feel. We stayed a couple of nights in Canmore. One of our favorite activities in the area was a hike up Ha Ling Peak. This hike is a difficult hike but comes with excellent views. It is not very long so it can be done in under a few hours. In the winter, snowshoes are advisable.
How to Get to Ha Ling Peak
To get there, take Three Sisters Parkway, towards Spray lakes. Go several miles until Whiteman’s Pond near Goats Creek Trail. Just beyond the pond on the right-hand side is the parking area. Head up the trail until you cross the river and follow the path into the woods.
Distance: 3.7 miles return (6.0 kms)
Elevation gain: 2,556 feet (780 meters)
Time: 2 hours 51 minutes
Ha Ling Peak Hike
When we went, the trail was packed down with snow. The trail can get steep and icy on different sections. Depending on the conditions, it would be good to have ice crampons or snowshoes.
In the Woods on the trail, right before it gets really steep
The first hour is within the trees. From the start of the hike, this trail is very steep. About halfway through the trees, there are really nice views of the valley below. Once out of the tree line, the trail gets very steep. There are sections which can be icy and slippery. Continue on the trail before arriving at a sharp left turn. At this point, the scramble begins to the summit.
View South of Ha Ling and Canmore
During the ascent, there are amazing full panoramic views of Canmore and the mountains south of Ha Ling. Right before the summit, there is finally a view north of Ha Ling. From here on up, it is windy and the trail is very steep. There is a small sign that marks the summit and end of the trail. The 360-degree panoramic views of Canmore and the mountains south of Canmore are stunning. This journey up is short, but tiring due to it being a steep hike.
On the way down, be very careful not to slip. Wear snow pants and be ready to slide down in many sections. We had some fun with it and literally slide down half the mountain on our butts. This was one of our favorite hikes in Canada. Although not very long, it is extremely rewarding.
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