Leaving Fernie, we had 2 nights left before we needed to be ready for our Assiniboine trip. Our goal was to spend some time exploring the Hot Springs between Cranbrook and Radium Hot Spring, then hike in Kootenay Park before driving through Banff and Canmore.
With Covid restrictions, a lot of the regular hotsprings were closed or limited to guests already booked with close-by accomodation. We decided to go explore Fairmont Hotspring and found the Indigenous old baths and hotsprings opened to public. We spent a bit of time here before heading up to Windermere Lake. We found a small campground in the area where we were able to book a spot ahead of time and spent the evening around the fire with 2 French Canadians currently living in Alberta.
The next day we drove through Kootenay National Park and stopped for a few hours to hike the Stanley Glacier Trail. The trail is about 350m elevation gain over 8.5km round-trip (if you stop when the maintained trail stops… you can keep going up the loose rock trail around the moraine, but due to time constraints we stopped for lunch and came back). This was a beautiful trail and I highly recommend it if you are driving through. It takes a few hours in total but the view is absolutely gorgeous the entire time. It was a perfect last short hike before our backpacking trip the next day.
After the hike we drove to Canmore, where we did our final groceries before our trek. We also had to drive all the way to Mt. Sharks trailhead where we slept in our van to avoid having to drive early in the morning. The road to Mt. Sharks is not particularly fun and can be bumpy but totally safe for 2WDs.
Stay tuned to learn more about our epic trip to Mt. Assiniboine!