Our Favourite Hiking Sections of the High Rockies Trail

By now most of you have heard about the High Rockies Trail, an almost completed (signage needed) 82 km section of the Trans Canada Trail from Goat Creek above Canmore to Elk Pass on the Alberta/BC border. The newly constructed section from Goat Creek to Pocaterra Dam was built as a multi-use trail primarily for hiking, mountain biking and snowshoeing. From Goat Creek to Three Sisters Dam it is an old road used for dog sledding in winter. South of the dam it is mostly a narrow, winding trail through mossy forest and old burns with increasingly better views as you head south.

You can obtain more details with our Guide to High Rockies Trail  that you can either view online or download in pdf format to print out. Click on the link in each section to access the appropriate map. 

Here are our favourite sections of the High Rockies Trail organized from north to south. Being a linear trail you will need to have two vehicles or return the way you came.

Goat Pond to Goat Creek 7.8 km one way

Goat Creek to Goat Pond

This section of the High Rockies Trail is a surprisingly pleasant point-to-point trail that meanders on an old road beneath the Goat Range, passing an array of cliffs and buttresses. Across the valley rises the massif of Ehagay Nakoda, comprised of Ha Ling Peak and the many summits of Mount Lawrence Grassi. In our opinion, the best views are to be had by starting at Goat Pond and hiking toward the East End of Mount Rundle.

Sparrowhawk to Buller Mountain 10.4 km one way

Sparrowhawk to Buller

The trail between Sparrowhawk and Buller creeks contains one glorious section across rocky avalanche slopes with spectacular views. Look across the reservoir to Mount Nestor and behind you to Rimwall, Windtower, and mounts Lougheed and Sparrowhawk. Continue climbing to a second scree slope giving a spectacular view of the reservoir’s south end, and of Eon Mountain, the pointy peak near Mount Assiniboine.

Buller to Chester  12.6 km one way

Buller to Chester

Hiking between Buller Mountain and Chester Lake trailheads is one of the more appealing sections of the High Rockies Trail, with views transitioning from the head of Spray Lakes Reservoir to the British Military group of mountains: Smuts, Birdwood, Sir Douglas and Tent Ridge, etc. Best travelled from north to south. The first section is mostly an undulating forest walk high above the road crossing six fingers of burnt black forest allowing views of Spray Lakes Reservoir and Tent Ridge. After an open area where the Rummel Lake trails comes in there are many gaps in the trees allowing views not only of Smuts and Birdwood again, but also the great peaks of Robertson, French and Sir Douglas as you progress. You end up following the Chester Lake ski trail down to the trailhead.

Black Prince to Canyon 8.3 km one way

Suspension bridge

The trail from Black Prince to Canyon is forest trail that gradually climbs to Blackshale Creek, crosses a 230 ft-long suspension bridge then descends 285 m fairly steeply to the highway opposite Pocaterra Dam road. There are views across to mounts Warspite and Invincible and ahead to the rock peaks of the Opal Range, Elpoca Mountain predominant. The dam is then crossed to Canyon day-use parking.

For a longer hike of 12.3 km, start at Sawmill parking climbing to a deeply incised creek before descending to the junction with the trail down to Black Prince..

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  • Jeanette Newton Sep 12, 2018, 9:22 am

    I just love this area …it’s so scenic and has such a variety of hiking! Thanks Randy

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