Another summer hiking season has come and gone in Alberta but fall offers up one last chance to experience the Canadian Rockies in their full golden splendour. The locals call this time “Larch Madness.” We always make a point to end our hiking season on this exceptionally high note and have a few recommendations for the best hikes for a range of abilities to see the golden larch trees in the fall!
Over the next couple of weeks the larch trees that line the mountainsides in Kananaskis and Banff turn a beautiful golden colour. They stand out amidst the evergreens and shine against the bright blue sky and granite peaks lightly dusted with snow. This special time of year only lasts a couple of weeks and is certainly a rewarding way to end your hiking season.
Few trails in the Alberta Rockies are as challenging but immensely rewarding as the Northover Ridge hike. Deep in the heart of Kananaskis Country (a series of provincial parks that are closer to Calgary and less busy than Banff National Park), Northover Ridge is a 36km loop that takes the average hiker about 3 days.
The trail straddles the continental divide between Alberta and British Columbia and is a considered a very challenging trip due to a narrow ridgewalk and the need for advanced route finding skills as we learned all too clearly (more on that later). Despite these challenges, the path through meandering wilderness, breathtaking views, and exhilarating climax atop the ridge adds to its reputation as one of the best backpacking trips in Alberta. To that end, opinionated experts such as the Copelands who wrote Don’t Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies, give it such a resounding recommendation that we knew that it had to be part of our Alberta Bucketlist. Continue reading “Backcountry Zen: The Northover Ridge Hike”