Rees-Dart Track, New Zealand

Though not on the short list of Great Walks, Rees-Dart is epic.

One of the tougher major hikes in our #1 hiking destination worldwide.

travel2walk was there January 2020.

The Rees-Dart Track … mainly follows the Rees River drainage and the Dart River drainage circling Mount Earnslaw and the Forbes Mountains.

An optional side trip during the hike is to visit the Dart Glacier or further to Cascade Saddle. Being the major highlight of our hike, I consider this side trip as part of the hike. …

  • distance: 53.7 miles (86.5 km)
  • elevation change: 10,850 ft (3,307 m) ascent & 11,240 ft (3,426 m) descent
  • time: 5 days (24:59 hours moving)

There are 3 different DOC operated huts located along the Rees-Dart Track …

… NZD$15 per night per person (DOC).

The huts had running water, bathrooms, mattress, and a stove for heating. However we carried our own stove, gas, and sleeping bags.  …

If interested, read their detailed trip report:

New Zealand – Rees-Dart Track, January 2020

If still keen, best watch the video. There are some challenges.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

See more of our best hikes in Australasia.

Centennial Ridge to Mt Allan, Kananaskis, Alberta

Leigh McAdam:

If you’re looking for a long but glorious out and back day hike in Kananaskis Country then the Centennial Ridge hike up to Mount Allan should fit the bill.

If you want to turn it into an epic day, do the Centenial Ridge hike one-way and then from the summit of Mount Allan descend to Dead Man’s Flats. You’ll need a car shuttle to do that. …

It’s a tough 7.8 kilometre hike to the summit of Mount Allan via the Centennial Ridge – with an elevation gain of 1,356 metres.

The summit sits at 2819 metres, ensuring it’s the highest trail in the Rockies, at least according to Gillean Daffern. Your knees, feet and hips will probably feel it by the end of the day. …

Centennial Ridge Hike in Kananaskis

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Hiking Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island

Here’s our list of the best hikes in Strathcona, so far:

I spent over 3 weeks hiking Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island June – October 2020.

Fantastic.

The real experts on this park are Mike Blake and his team at MB Guiding.

If you are looking to organized a guide trip — climbing the Golden Hinde, for example — go with MB Guiding.


If you’ve never been to Strathcona before, easiest access is via the Paradise Meadows trailhead out of Courtney / Comox which gives easy access to the Forbidden Plateau.

Well signed, well organized, well maintained, there are loops of increasing difficulty depending on your time and the weather.

One loop is wheelchair accessible, for example.

There are trails ideal for kids, as well.

Three campsites on the Forbidden plateau are first-come, first-served. Great value at CAD $10 / person / night.

If you want to tent, I’d recommend you head for the furtherest campsite – Circlet Lake.

From there are fantastic day hikes to Moat Lake, Castlecrag and/or Mt Albert Edward.


There are even better trails in Strathcona in the more remote section of the park around Buttle Lake. That’s where you find the main car campgrounds.

My favourite was Cream Lake via the Bedwell Lakes trails.

Cream Lake

Nearly as good for me was Elk River with a tough side trip up to Elk Pass.

Landslide Lake

There are many, many more great hikes, of course, well documented in the best hiking guidebook – Exploring Strathcona Park by Stone.

I’ll return to do more.

Atal Tunnel opens more Himalayan Hiking

This historic tunnel, which was inaugurated on October 3, starts from Solang Valley near Manali and ends near the grand Sissu waterfall in Lahaul.

Till now, not many travellers knew about the Sissu waterfall. But now, Atal Tunnel puts it on the … map.

Similarly, it brings the spotlight on Lahaul and underlines how little information is available about this region.

“You have not seen a setting as beautiful as Lahaul. It is very different from the stark beauty of Spiti. …

A Big Impact: Opening up of new areas of trekking

The opening of Atal Tunnel will finally allow trekkers to venture into the uncharted terrain of Lahaul. Earlier, bad roads and long travel time prevented trekkers from exploring this scenic region. …

How the Opening of Atal Tunnel Affects Trekking in India

Hiking Castlecrag, Vancouver Island

Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

This was my favourite hike on the Forbidden Plateau.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I’d camped at Duck Pond, Circlet Lake campground.

I camped 3 nights at Circlet Lake altogether. Lovely.

From Circlet it’s not far to the Castlecrag trail marked in orange on the map. Look for the sign to Moat Lake.

Click for LARGER version.

I hiked the route marked in orange. Here’s the original Park map online.

This was a foggy and somewhat hazy day.

But plenty clear enough to see where I was headed.

I’d seen lovely Moat Lake the day before from the Albert Edward hike.

For Castlecrag you circumambulate the far side, crossing the worst bridge I’d seen in Strathcona 2020.

En route a helicopter flew into Moat Lake Retreat, an island you can rent with 2 cabins sleeping a total of 10 people. It’s a legacy from when Clinton Wood first built a lodge here in 1934.

In good weather, finding the route is not all that difficult. Follow the cairns and (possibly) ribbons.

Much of this adventure is above the treeline.

Overall the hiking is more difficult than on nearby Edward Albert as there is a fair bit of boulder hopping over avalanche slopes.

Two highlights end of September: no mosquitoes and autumn colours.

The turnoff UP to Castlecrag is not signed. Watch for the big cairn on the right.

Castlecrag 1740m (5709ft) is a satellite peak to Mt Albert Edward 2093m and many serious hikers / trail runners connect the two via Mt Frink. I’d originally planned to do that myself — but found it too difficult and risky on my own. Also, days are short end of September. I might have spent some hours in the dark on the way down.

It’s a short climb from the cairn to the summit of Castlecrag.

I had great fun scrambling around the crags.

See all the full resolution photos from this hike on Flickr.

The best hiking guidebook is Exploring Strathcona Park. Dead tree version available only.

See our list of the best hikes in North America.  

Hiking Mt Albert Edward

Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

Click PLAY or watch the climb in less than a minute on YouTube.

Mt Albert Edward, 6th highest peak 2093m (6867ft) on Vancouver Island, is well known because it’s visible from Mount Washington Alpine Resort.

It’s named for Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII.

Most who climb it start at Circlet Lake campground.

From the campground it’s only 5.5km to the summit, but it took much longer for me than I anticipated.

The muddiest trail I found was that just departing Duck Pond.

I hiked Circlet to the summit on the trail marked in red.

Click for LARGER version.

Here’s the original Park map online.

Bring enough water for the day as there no great gushing streams en route.

At the sign pointing left to Moat Lake, keep right for Edward Albert.

The ascent itself is only medium difficulty IF the weather is good.

Some scrambling.

I had perfect weather. But it can be deadly in normal weather — cloudy, cold, wind. Don’t go for it unless you are confident visibility will hold.

Follow occasional cairns and, possibly, ribbons. Navigation is not all that difficult in good weather.

Moat Lake is gorgeous.

At one point you can follow a series of aluminum poles.

Once you reach a wide shoulder leading up to the summit, it’s easy going with terrific views.

Here’s the view looking back on Mt Washington Ski Hill.

Be wary of cornices especially on the north and west sides of the ridge.

There was not much snow left end of September 2020 when I was there.

What a great day!

Click PLAY or watch some video from the top on YouTube.

VIDEO

Some hike 3 peaks (Edward Albert, Frink, and Castlecrag) from Circlet, a tough go!

Other adventures that include Edward Albert summit are the Augerpoint Traverse and Comox Range Traverse.

Me?

I headed back to Circlet Lake for siesta.

See all the full resolution photos from this hike on Flickr.

Hiking the Paradise – Circlet Lake Loop

Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

Click PLAY or get a glimpse of the scenery on YouTube. (3min)

Paradise Meadows is the best and most convenient trailhead in Strathcona, largest and oldest (1911) Provincial Park in B.C..

It’s easy access to the Forbidden Plateau on paved Strathcona Parkway up to Mt Washington Alpine Resort 1100m, 20km up from the inland highway.

Close to Courtney, Cumberland, and Campbell River. The nearest airport and ferry port are at Comox.

Looking from Raven Lodge at the trailhead, the most distinct peak is sharp Albert Edward, 6th highest mountain on the island.

It seemed to me in 2020 that Strathcona Park did not have as much staff as they would like. Happily the volunteers of the Strathcona Wilderness Institute are often in person at Paradise trailhead. Make a donation if they help you out.

With loops for all ability levels, this area is ideal for children and well-behaved dogs.

Centennial Loop (2.5km)
Paradise Meadows Loop (4.2km)
Lake Helen Mackenzie – Battleship Lake Loop (8km)
Helen MacKenzie-Kwai Lake-Croteau Loop (14km)

Those trails closest to the trailhead are best maintained: bridges, pit toilets, good signage and much boardwalk. In fact, the Centennial Loop is wheelchair and scooter accessible.

Check the map. I hiked in to Circlet Lake on yellow, mostly looped back on green. But there are MANY possible different interconnecting loops.

Click for LARGER version.

Here’s the original Park map online.

Most hikers on the Forbidden Plateau stay down in the subalpine: forested hills, postcard pretty lakes, babbling brooks, and lovely meadows.

It’s wet. Expect rain.

Expect mud. 🙃

If we couldn’t enjoy all this beautiful boardwalk, we’d often be wading wetlands.

Water water everywhere, yet I found I had to treat almost every source. There are not all that many fast running creeks.

I passed one picturesque Ranger cabin.

Three first-come, first-served campgrounds are quite good, the closest at Lake Helen Mackenzie near the trailhead. Each has pit toilets and bear proof food lockers. (CAD$10 / person / night in 2020)

I was there late September 2020. Very few mosquitoes! That’s not always the case here.

I hiked in to Circlet about 9.5km one way. About 4 hours walking. Stayed 3 nights.

Arrived just before dark. Camped on pretty Duck Pond rather than the lake itself.

Circlet is not likely to fill up — but you MIGHT find no space left at Helen Mackenzie and Kwai Lake campgrounds on a busy day during the short summer season.

I love the large wooden tent pads in Strathcona.

Click PLAY or see Circlet from the air on Vimeo.

From Circlet base camp:

day 1 – hiked Edward Albert (trip report & video)

day 2 – hiked Castlecrag (trip report & video)

Both are excellent. Myself and others I met while there both liked Crags better, even though it’s lower.

From Circlet, I also tried and failed to find the trail to Amphitheatre Lake. There’s no signage.

If I had found Amphitheatre, I would have tried to continue up to Sunrise Lake.

Moat Lake is lovely, however. If you camp at Circlet, definitely make the short day hike up to Moat if not all the way to Castlecrag.

Rather than backtrack on my return, I looped.

One detour without pack took me to Cruickshank Canyon Lookout.

It’s a bit depressing to see a lot of clearcut from that vantage. Seems to me the forestry industry should repair damage more quickly.

One highlight is looking for large, weird mushrooms.

The autumn colours were lovely too.

I stopped at Kwai Lake to recharge my batteries figuratively and literally. There’s no electricity in Strathcona so I used solar on this trip.

Croteau Lake is a 4th campground opened 2018, only available for groups booking in advance.

I wandered leisurely — stopping often for photos and video — back to Lake Helen Mackenzie campground for 1 night.

Lovely.

I highly recommend the Forbidden Plateau.

See all the full resolution photos from this hike on Flickr.

Here’s the official Strathcona Provincial Park website.

The best hiking guidebook is Exploring Strathcona Park. Dead tree version available only.

See our list of the best hikes in North America

19 Mile Creek to Iceberg Lake, Whistler B.C.

Outdoor Vancouver posted an an excellent information page:

Rating: Difficult
Distance: 15 km
Net Elevation Change*: 889 m
Highest Point: 1,628 m
Time Needed: 7 Hours
Type: Out-and-back

Season: July – September
Dogs Allowed: No (not permitted in the Rainbow Mountain Alpine Trail Network)
Est. Driving Time from Vancouver: 2 Hours

Iceberg Lake Hike in Whistler

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.