I flew out to Alberta this Canada Day weekend to visit my family and get out to the mountains. We were treated to some spectacular fireworks in Canmore with a magnificent backdrop of the looming rocky mountains. The next day we chose to take advantage of the sunshine and hike up to Rummel Lake.
The Rummel Lake trail is about 40 km from Canmore and is found along the Smith-Dorien Trail. Just passed the sign for Mount Engadine Lodge you turn off and park somewhere along the road. There is also a plowed stretch of grass with room to park. The trailhead is not marked with any signage and is found by just going directly across to the east side of the highway.
The hike is approximately 10 km, over which you gain around 1100 ft in elevation. Overall it’s not a difficult hike and can be accomplished in a half-day. We chose it as my Mom has knee problems and wanted something not overly torturous. The trail is well marked and it would be suitable for families with ambitious little hikers.
Right off the bat you get some great views down into the valley, after which you get a nice mix of trees and a stream. All of this is followed by arriving at a beautiful mountain lake, which makes a perfect stop for lunch. For a short day hike it offers some really fantastic scenery.
The upper half of the trail was still largely snow covered with some shady areas still having a good few inches of depth. This is pretty unusual for July and is due to the late, cool summer we’ve been having so far. My mom’s knee wasn’t impressed, although it did mean we got to have a mid-summer snowball fight.
I wore my Merrell True Gloves for the hike, which I’ve been trying to transition into for possible multi-day treks. Underneath I wore a pair of low cut Smartwool PhD ultra-light merino wool socks. The combo works great and compared to boots your feet just fly up the hills.
However, with all the snow on the trail they were also decently wet. Warmth wasn’t an issue as long as I was moving and when we stopped it was a warm enough day to avoid any chills.
If I was planning on overnighting I would be sure to have my Gore-Tex socks and a dry pair of socks for underneath. One major plus is unlike my leather Gore-Tex boots when they get wet, my Merrell Barefoots were pleasantly dry the next day.
If you’re looking for a day hike around Canmore and Banff and you are limited by time or are hiking with your family I’d definitely recommend packing a lunch and hiking up to Rummel Lake. I would expect with a couple more weeks of warm weather that most if not all of the snow on the trail will have melted away.
If you’ve done the Rummel Lake hike let me know your thoughts and if you have any questions feel free to post them.