Plain Of The Six Glaciers

Starting at the busy Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, follow the emerald shoreline to the far end (where the crowds thin) to begin your climb. Switchbacks treat you to monumental views over the lake, glaciers and pyramidal peaks. You may even spot a shaggy mountain goat. Reward yourself with a cuppa at Lady Agnes Tea House at the top, and continue for an additional 1.5 kilometres to the worthy Victoria Glacier viewpoint. This national parks classic hike never loses its luster, no matter how many hiking boots tread its path.

Skyline Trail

The 42-kilometre-long Skyline Trail is Jasper National Park’s signature backpacking trail—a scenic showpiece that meanders above the tree-line for more than half of its distance. Expect a workout—the elevation gain from Maligne Lake is more than 1,200 metres—but it’s worth it, as one of the most stunning of all hikes in Canada’s Rocky Mountain national parks. Pack your camera—this trek is home to woodland caribou, grizzly bears and grey wolves. While some intrepid folks have jaunted through the trail in a day, most spend two to three days in this high-elevation (2,510 metres maximum) environment to fully appreciate its beauty. The trailhead is at Maligne Lake; backcountry permit is required for camping. The trail is linear, so book transport with Maligne Shuttle. 

Tamarack Trail

This is the premier multi-day hike in Waterton Lakes National Park—it’s particularly popular in autumn, as the Tamarack tree, otherwise known as the larch, is in fall blaze during that time and is abundant throughout the route. To access, take the Tamarack Hikers Shuttle to the Red Rock Canyon trailhead (the route is one-way). From the trailhead, this path takes you through vibrant larch trees and evergreens, over sprawling alpine meadows, through rockbound peaks—this is Waterton’s highest-elevation trail—and back to the townsite. There are three campsites along the route; backcountry permits are required. 

Larch Valley-Sentinel Pass

The Rocky Mountain’s larch trees are the most spectacular of all Canada’s fall foliage as their needles turn from green to gold (the only conifer to do so) they seem to glow like Christmas lights. Combine this with postcard Rockies’ scenery and it’s no wonder Larch Valley-Sentinel Pass is one of Banff’s most sought-after day hikes—though it’s stunning throughout the season, fall colours or not. Stretching for 12 kilometres from the parking lot on Moraine Lake Road, don’t let the hike’s popularity fool you into thinking it’s a cakewalk. Grizzlies are known to roam the area, and it has an elevation gain of more than 700 metres. The trail starts alongside glacial Moraine Lake, before giving up views of the famous Valley of the Ten Peaks. Chase after 3,500-metre Mount Temple for a few hours and you’ll reach Sentinel Pass and a knee-weakening panorama of Paradise Valley. Beat the crowds—hit it on a weekday.