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 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.  

Cream Lake trail, Strathcona Park B.C.

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

“Time to roll out every superlative and accolade …

Cream Lake is breathtaking in every season … a scenic highlight of Vancouver Island, for that matter British Columbia!”

Phillip Stone – Exploring Strathcona Park guidebook

Cream Lake looking over to Nine Peaks

The Bedwell Lakes trails are some of the best in Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island.

The up-and-back Bedwell Lake Trail:

      • 10km return
      • 1-3 days
      • 875m elevation gain/loss
      • Bedwell Lake lookout  980m 
      • pay camping fee at trailhead (CAD $10 / person in 2020)
      • Baby Bedwell has only lake water. No creeks nearby.
      • no electricity nor mobile phone service. I carried a solar charger.

Bedwell Lake lookout

If you get this far, definitely continue to Cream Lake.  It’s an extra 4.8km one way, tougher hiking.

  • 20km return from Jim Mitchell Lake Road trailhead 
  • 1-3 days (tough day hike)
  • Elevation gain/loss 1225m one way
  • High Point 1400m
  • Free camping at Cream

Full Strathcona Park map (PDF)

CAUTION – A hiker died here in 2015, Anders Jason Newman. He slipped and fell from height somewhere above the lakes.

Click PLAY or watch a short video of my September hike on YouTube.


Cycled to the Bedwell trailhead, walking the last 3km as Jim Mitchell Lake road is steep!

Arriving late in the day, I ended up setting up my tent off trail short of the first campground.

Here’s the lovely Baby Bedwell campground I missed the previous day.

I continued up to Bedwell Lake campground looking for the sign to Cream Lake. There was none in 2020.

Take the path towards the fancy pit toilet and keep going.

Here’s Bedwell Lake looking down from above.

The trail to Bedwell I’d call moderate difficulty. The route to Cream more challenging.

There’s some route finding, as well, before reaching Little Jim Lake.

Once above Little Jim Lake on a hot day, I felt I was in California’s Sierra Nevadas, not the Pacific N.W.

There’s some scrambling. Granite. Gullies. But very little exposure.

Up here the wildflowers were in better shape than below. On the other hand, mosquitoes!

My first view of Cream Lake made it obvious why this hike is so popular. The colour is otherworldly.

Apparently you can see Della Falls from here too.

There’s no official campground. I set up my tent with a bit of wind protection.

Cream is base camp for those climbing Mt Septimus.

In snow or rain there are a couple of protected spots under a huge boulder.

Before dinner I scrambled up on to the approach to Septimus.

Early next morning I attempted to circumambulate the lake. Did not make it.

But the views were fantastic.

In the afternoon, the only two other hikers that night and myself decided to scramble Septimus as high as we could safely without mountaineering gear.

We knew it was possible but difficult to hike to the top without climbing equipment.

We eventually turned back due to crevasses in the ice.

For fun I tried down climbing the mountain rather than the scree. Nope. That did not work. I got cliffed out.

On a day like this I’d rank Bedwell / Cream Lake the BEST HIKE in Strathcona Provincial Park.

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

See our list of the best hikes in North America.

Climbing Mt Arrowsmith, Vancouver Island

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles. 

Mount Arrowsmith 1,819 m (5,968 ft) is the most prominent peak seen from my parents home in Vancouver Island.

It’s close to Port Alberni, B.C.

Alanna@VanIsle – Arrowsmith from Parksville in winter

The most popular hike to the top is called Judges Route.  Details.

  • 6-7 km (4 miles) roundtrip
  • elevation gain 1,000m (3,280ft)

Finding the trailhead can be confusing. Google Maps has it wrong, for example.

I used the free Maps.me app — that worked.

Maps.me

It’s 4-6 hours return.  Challenging.  Some exposure. A bit of scrambling.  Some route finding.  I was briefly lost 3 times.

There are some views on the way up.

On June 25th, 2020 I didn’t have much snow.

The summit is interesting.

From the top you can see from Port Alberni to Mt. Baker in Washington State.

I was inspired to try one of my rare panoramas.

Click for larger version.

Great day.

Starting up at 4pm I was last hiker on the mountain.

What time is blast off? 😀

 

 

 

DON’T hike King’s Peak, Strathcona in June

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

  • 8th highest peak in the Park 2065m
  • 14km round trip
  • elevation gain/loss 1915m
  • no permit required
  • no electricity nor mobile phone service

I’d hoped to hike high like Outside Epic in one day.

Some tricky scrambling.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

That didn’t happen. 😕

I was there June 14, 2020 — far too early in the season.

It started well.  Lovely weather.  Easy access from highway 28 between Strathcona and Gold River.

Second growth forest.  Some big trees.

Quite quickly I was using my hands to scramble tree roots.

I turned back after reaching a raging creek at 770m that looked dangerous to cross.  Snow melt.

My total hike was 4 hours 40 minutes and I didn’t get very high.  Not even to the snow line.

In June I should have planned for at least 2 days.  Brought crampons and ice axe.  Also a rope for creek crossing.

Live and learn.

If you want to hike in a day,  schedule any Strathcona peak climb for August / September.   Less snow, shallower creeks, fewer bugs. 

The ‘trail’ becomes a route above the treeline so navigation required.

Exploring Strathcona Park guidebook by Phil Stone provides 3 main alternate routes to the top.

related – King’s Peak CLIMBING options (PDF)

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

See our list of the best hikes in North America

plan a trip to the Dolomites

One of our top 10 hiking regions of the world.

The Dolomites are a mountain range located in north-eastern Italy. A tourist mecca, the Dolomites are famous for skiing in the winter months, mountain climbing, hiking and climbing in the summer.

map-of-DolomitesAT A GLANCE

  • a wonderful region mostly in Italy
  • Italian: Dolomiti; German: Dolomiten
  • limestone geology results in fascinating shapes and colour
  • named a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • highest peak Marmolada 3,343m
  • convenient airports include Venice, Munich, Milan, Innsbruck, Verona
  • easy access to trails of all all levels of ability and experience
  • very good tourist infrastructure
  • convenient, efficient public transport. Buses & trains run on time.
  • best weather for hiking mid-June to early October

3 Peaks (Tre Cime, Drei Zinnen)
3 Peaks (Tre Cime, Drei Zinnen)

Check our Dolomites information page.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

(via Adventure Blog)

climbing Mt Wells, Victoria B.C.

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

Only 3km return, this scramble is considered difficult. On the other hand, there are plenty of comfort ropes to assist you. Some of the descents might be tricky in the rain.

Very pretty is this old pipe now covered with moss. They bricked the ends to keep critters and kids out.

… offering views as far away as downtown Victoria, Juan de Fuca Strait, and towards Sooke …

Victoria Trails