11-12hrs, about 27km round-trip
Cumulative elevation gain: 1200m total round-trip
Cumulative elevation loss: 1590m total round-trip
We have done this trail as an overnight, staying only one night at Russet Lake. We wanted to stay for 2 nights, but unfortunately, all the Saturday night campsites were already booked through the Garibaldi Park reservation system. We had no idea that all of Garibaldi Park was now fully going by reservations, as it used to be only Garibaldi and Taylor Meadows areas… so make sure to book your spot ahead if you want to stay anywhere in Garibaldi now! It was about 13$ per person for camping per night, up to 4 people for one tent spot. There is also a cabin at Russet Lake, which can sleep about 8, and is first-arrived, first-served within the people who paid and reserved for the camping.
There were many trail options for us to take in order to get all the way to Russet Lake. To be honest, it was a bit difficult to get a clear idea of the terrain, difficulty and elevation gain/loss on these trails. Because the trail is divided into so many sections, I found partial information, length and times and tried to get a good overview of which path we would be taking. There are basically 4 ways to get to Russet Lake : 1. Taking the Singing Pass trail up, then turning left at the junction towards Russet Lake (about 1300m of elevation gain until the junction over 11 km), 2. Taking the Pika Traverse/Half Note Trail/Burnt Stew Trails to cut through towards the Musical Bumps trail, 3. Taking the High Note Trail starting from the Roundhouse (top of the gondola) towards Harmony Lake and then the Musical Bumps, and 4. Taking the High Note Trail starting from the top of the Peak Chair and then the Musical Bumps trail. We chose to hike on our first day with option #4, by taking the Whistler gondola up (63$/person, save 5$ if you book your ticket online a few days before, OR you get 25% off if you are with someone who has an Edge Card or a Season Pass), then walking to the Peak Chair Lift, going up with the lift at the top of Whistler mountain and hiking this portion of High Note Trail until the junction with the Musical Bumps, and then all the way to Russet Lake passed the junction with the Singing Pass Trail. Read More
Canoeing time: 5-6hrs round-trip
Entrance: Achray Campground
Before I undertook my solo road trip across Canada, we went on a long week-end canoe-camping trip to Algonquin Park. We had wanted to do this for a while, but winter obliged, we had to wait until I was done with work to get the time off and head for our luxury camping adventure.
We booked the canoe from Algonquin Outfitters and strapped it on top of our small car, then drove all the way to the Achray Campground in the park. From there, we were able to start paddling on Grand Lake and head to Stratton Lake in the evening to find our camping spot. There is a short, 50m, portage on this route, so make sure that you are aware of this before overloading your canoe. We did a few roundtrips in order to portage all our luxury gear for the weekend, which wasn’t a big deal considering the shortness of the portage.
Elevation gain: 50m
Emerald Lake is a beautiful glacier lake in Yoho National Park. It is located West of Field, BC, at the end of a road coming off the Trans-Canada Highway. Make sure you get there early, as the parking lot fills up very quickly. I arrived around 930am and was already parked on the side of the road.
There is actually a lodge on the side of the lake that seems very pleasant to stay at… Cabins and rooms can be rent and you can enjoy a stay in this amazing setting. You can also rent canoes or bring your own paddle, kayak, etc. I was just passing by and decided to walk around the lake to do the full loop and enjoy the views.
Along my cross-Canada moving roadtrip, I needed to find a few places to stay overnight while still trying to enjoy the scenery and the time I spent in the mountains. I was able to get a spot at the Whiskey Jack Wilderness Hostel in Yoho National Park for one night. The dorms were very clean and comfortable, and we had access to a shower, water and a large kitchen in the common area. The vibe is really quiet and calm, as most travellers here are hikers getting ready to hit the trail early in the morning. The hostel is closed from 10am-5pm, when the doors get locked as everyone goes on with their day. The hostel is very conveniently located right at the trailhead of some large hikes in Yoho, and right in front of the Takakkaw Falls. Plan your food well, because the closest grocery store is located in Golden BC, or back in Lake Louise, AB. I would definitely recommend to stay here if you need a base camp for your hiking!
3hrs, 7km round-trip
Elevation gain: 520m
The trailhead for Padget Lookout is in front of Wapta Lake, on the Trans-Canada Highway in BC. It is located between Lake Louise, AB and Field, BC. This was my first mountain hike in over a year and I must say it gets your heart pumping!
The first 1.4km of the trail goes slightly uphill until you reach a large tree with massive roots, and the sign for the junction to Sherbrooke Lake or Padget Lookout. I did not have the time to do both, but was told that doing both trails in one day should take more or less 4hrs round-trip.
It has been a big year, and I haven’t had the change to get outdoors as much (or to the extend) that I would have liked. Good thing is – my favorite season is on the way, and I am prepping to move (yet again) to settle on Vancouver Island this summer.
Before that, I have tried to explore as much as I possibly could the Ottawa Valley for what it has to offer (a big difficult for me in the winter, considering the weather wasn’t particularly exciting this year… forgot how I did not enjoy -30C snowstorms!).