The Grassi Lakes Trail is a 4.3 kilometer (2.7 miles) out and back moderate hike located in the city of Canmore, in Alberta Canada. The local trail is just outside of Banff National Park. Canada wins for most beautiful lakes you’ve ever seen.
To get to Grassi Lakes trailhead, go past the Canmore Nordic Centre and take a left down Ken Richie Way. You’ll head down a paved road to a parking lot on your right. Try to get there early to get a parking spot and hike with less people. The trail is mostly uphill taking you to 2 beautiful lakes. The trip back down can be risky if you’re not in the right footwear. I would highly recommend hiking boots for this hike.
There are two different trails leading up to the lakes, an “easy” path and a “difficult” path. We took the easier trail and it was still a steady uphill climb that was at times challenging. The trail is a wide gravel path and easy to follow. All-terrain strollers will make it up this route better. The “difficult” Grassi Lakes trail is offers much more excitement and killer views. I would not recommend strollers or young children take this trail. If the trail is wet or snowy wear crampons to avoid potential for injury.
The Canadian Rockies National Parks are incredibly beautiful, and full of adventure. Have you ever seen pictures of some magical destination on social media and thought to yourself, there is no way those colors are real. That’s how I’ve felt each time I visit the Canadian Rockies National Parks and surrounding areas.
Fly into Edmonton, the drive south will take you through 3 jaw dropping Canadian National Parks. Start in Jasper National Park and make your way down the ice fields parkway through Banff National Park & end in Yoho National Park. Flying home out of Calgary will save you time and money.
National Park Road Trip
Imagine…experiencing ancient glaciers, waterfalls, dramatic rock formations, and emerald lakes as you road trip through the Canadian Rockies into the National Parks. The colors are bright, vibrant and unbelievably breathtaking.
Sulphur Skyline is a 7.7 kilometer moderate out and back trail in Jasper National Park. The park hot springs are located at the trailhead. I recommend bringing your bathing suit to relax after your hike. PS: The trailhead also has an ice-cream shop, need I say more?
In Jasper National Park there is a 4.5 kilometer trail called Valley of the Five Lakes. The Loop is rated as moderate and is dotted with 5 lakes and breathtaking mountain views. The trail is primarily used for hiking, with the best time being from March to October.
The Icefields Pathway will take your breathe away, as you drive the famous stretch of road. The drive is an adventure itself as it takes you through the Canadian rockies national parks. The road goes from Jasper down to Lake Louise in Banff, Alberta.
Along the drive you’ll see hundreds of ancient glaciers, cascading waterfalls, dramatic rock formations, and crystal clear emerald lakes. All surrounded by sweeping valleys of thick pine and rich forests.
Peyto Lake is a glacier fed lake in Banff National Park. The lake is easily accessible from the Icefields Parkway. A short hike up the trail will bring you to this breathtaking view of Peyto Lake.
Banff National Park
Perhaps one of the most crowded lakes in Banff National Park- Lake Louise is known for its turquoise, glacier-fed lake ringed by high peaks. Hiking trails wind up to the Lake Agnes Tea House giving hikers a bird’s-eye view of the lake. You can rent canoes in summer, or skate on a frozen glacier lake skating rink. The lake has a ski resort with a gondola, making this a popular winter destination as well.
This iconic jaw-dropping shade of turquoise is sure to leave a lasting impression. The waters are the most amazing color, and set in the Valley of Ten Peaks in Banff National Park, Alberta. The lake is great for kayaking, hiking or picnicking as it is surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, and rock piles.
Yoho National Park
The least visited of the 3 Canadian rockies national parks is Yoho National Park, in British Colombia. The park should not be overlooked by its more famous siblings Banff & Jasper. The park is half as busy as Banff offering visitors over 61 beautiful lakes to explore.
Emerald lake is the largest in the park. Canoe’s are available for rent out on the absolutely beautiful glacial-fed lake with vibrant turquoise colored water.
Did you like this article? Pin it for your vision board!
North Cascades National Park covers more than 2 million acres, of federally designated wilderness, making it one of the largest parks in the lower 48 states. I’ve put together this ultimate hiking & camping guide to help you plan your North Cascades National Park getaway and make the most of your time there.
This blog post may contain affiliate links. If you click on one of my affiliate links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission for referring you. This comes at no additional cost to you.I only recommend products I have personally used + loved. For more info, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.
The area is referred to as a complex, and is comprised of three National Park Service units- North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, + Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. In addition, other protected lands including several national forests and wilderness areas surround the park.
Rugged mountain peaks of the North Cascades Range, the most expansive glacial system in the contiguous United States, and numerous waterways. Go camping in forests with the highest degree of flora biodiversity of any American national park.
Listen to cascading waters in forested valleys. Go hiking through landscapes filled with life that have adapted to moisture in the west and recurring fire in the east. The jagged mountain peaks are crowned by over 300 glaciers. This fragile landscape is especially sensitive to our Earth’s climate change.
There are a number of options for accommodations while visiting the different areas within the complex. Camping is the most budget friendly, and is my preferred accommodation type when visiting national lands. Campsites at Colonial Creek, Goodell Creek, and Newhalen Creek campground are $16 per night. Gorge Lake is $10 per night. Hozomeen campground is free. Backcountry camping (boat-in and wilderness) requires a free permit. More Information on Camping
Pro Tip: Go camping at Colonial Creek campground. The campground is by the Visitor Center + the only area with cell service. However bring an extra battery charger because the sites are rustic. There are hiking trails within walking distance. Pyramid Lake trail is shorter, and the Thunder Creek trail which is longer.
Blue Lake trail is an extremely beautiful hike that takes you through alpine forests, a wild flower filled meadow, and towering mountains. You’ll end at the iridescent blue lake with crystal clear water below the glacier.
Length: Moderate, 5.3 miles (8.5 km) roundtrip, elevation gain 958 ft (292 m).
Location: North Cascades — Stehekin, Washington
Getting There: From Burlington, drive east on Hwy 20, the trailhead will be located at mileposts 161 + 162 on the south side of the road.
Rainy Lake Hiking Trail
Length: Paved & Easy, 2.0 miles (3.2 km) roundtrip, elevation gain 124 ft (38 m).
Location: North Cascades — North Cascades Highway – Hwy 20
Getting There: To go hiking from Marblemount follow Hwy 20 east for 20 miles to Gorge Lake Bridge. Continue for another 0.75 mile to the trailhead, on your right. You will see parking across the street from the trailhead.
Thunder Knob Trail
Look up and see the ridge of Sourdough Mountain and the snowfield of Davis Peak. A short trail leads to another viewpoint, looking across toward Jack Mountain and down toward the narrow channel of Diablo Lake.
Length: Moderately Easy, 3.6 miles (5.8 km) roundtrip, elevation gain 425 ft (130 m).
Location: North Cascades — Colonial Creek Campground
Getting There: To get there, take State Route 20 to milepost 130, Colonial Creek Campground is 24 miles (39 km) east of Marblemount. The trail head is at the entrance to the campground on the north side of the highway. **Bonus if you’re camping here!
Pyramid Lake Hiking Trail
The hiking trail starts beside Pyramid Creek and a beautiful cascading waterfall. Catch some cool breezes, and then almost immediately you’ll get to work ascending. The hiking trail is difficult and slow, covered in large roots, loose rocks, some scrambling, and up hill most of the way. When under the thin canopy of lodgepole pine, you’ll hear the silence of the woods and the trees creaking as they sway in the wind.
Length: Moderate, 4.5 miles (7.2 km) roundtrip, elevation gain 1500 ft (457 m).
Location: North Cascades — North Cascades Highway – Hwy 20
Getting There: From Marblemount follow Hwy 20 east for 20 miles to Gorge Lake Bridge. Continue for another 0.75 mile to the trailhead, on your right. You will see parking across the street from the trailhead.
Joshua Tree National Park is made up of two very distinct desert ecosystems. The harsh and unforgiving climates are surprisingly rich in biodiversity and home to many species. This past November I spent a beautiful Saturday with Logan exploring the Joshua Tree National Park.
I have been flying out to the Los Angeles (LA) area every 3-4 months for business the last couple years. I counted, and it came to 14 trips in total out to LA. Not bad for someone who 3 years ago had never set foot in California huh?!
At the end of the work week, Logan flew out to L.A. and we spent the weekend exploring east of the city. I finally took advantage of being that close! It was my last scheduled trip of the year with the holidays coming up and I wanted to make the most of it.
The desert gets more and more beautiful each time I visit. I used to look out at deserts and see a dry dead wasteland with no beauty. Of course that wasn’t true. Sure, the desert isn’t a vibrantly colored, obvious, in your face type of pretty…but if you look a little deeper than the surface, you’ll see it.
Once I took the time to really look, a palette of earth tones, calming and soothing rushed over me. As I looked even harder I could see life thriving, under the harshest of conditions. Fighting everyday to survive, never knowing when or if the next rain would bring relief from the constant heat. Our journey in the park started north, in the cooler Mojave.
As the temperature of our planet continues to rise, the deserts will become hotter, experiencing more droughts, and threatening the survival of the parks plants and animals. These conditions will likely affect the species that have inspired the namesake of the park itself- the Joshua tree. The bursting Joshua trees and other yuccas indicated we were still in the Mojave as we continued our drive south.
The Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) is a member of the Agave family and is a good indicator that you are in the Mojave Desert. However you may also find it growing in the Sonoran Desert in western Arizona or mixed with pines in the San Bernardino Mountains.
As we drove south through the park, we stopped to take in the breathtaking views of “Keys View”. Unfortunately in fear of being blown over the cliff by the gail force winds, we weren’t able to stay long.
It was incredible to watch the transformation of the desert as we drove through the park. Descending into the Colorado desert, you could feel the temperature rise, as we said goodbye to the Mojave. The variety of plants and animals are what make the Mojave Desert distinguishable from the Colorado as you drive throughout the park.
Climate change could affect more than just the beloved Joshua Tree. Rainfall in the desert is critical to the survival of the desert tortoise and the bighorn sheep that call the park home. Severe drought will force the animals into higher elevations where more rainfall is likely.
Cholla Cactus Garden
These species have adapted over centuries in order to survive the harsh conditions of the two deserts. It’s truly a remarkable, magical place, the desert.
I hope you enjoyed my journey through Joshua Tree National Park. I would love to hear your comments below.
The U.S. state of Michigan is made up of two major peninsulas. The Upper Peninsula (UP), is the northern of the two. My favorite time to visit the UP is the fall season, when the trees are bursting with bright colors. A year ago, my boyfriend Logan and I went camping in the eastern region of the UP.
It was the end of the season in late October, we had JUST made it to see the fall colors. It was the last weekend the campground was open, and we were the only ones crazy enough to be camping there.
Find out why, in this edition of THE PERFECT WEEKEND featuring Michigan’s UP Eastern Region!
Where To Camp
We camped directly on Lake Superior at Brimley State Park, one of the oldest parks in the UP. In typical Logan/Chelsea fashion we arrived at our campsite in the dark. Setting up at night was never a concern of mine, in fact I kind of like it… waking up in a new place, really seeing it for the first time that morning. It’s like a surprise, or a present waiting to be unwrapped.
Our gift the first morning was waking up to a snow-covered tent… in October. Really neither of us were surprised…welcome to The UP.
Take a Drive
Freezing and in desperate need of caffeine we went in search of coffee. We fueled up and hit the road, enjoying the views as we sipped our way back to warmth.
Pro Tip: Take the scenic route along W Lakeshore Dr on your way to Tahquamenon Falls. This route will take you along Whitefish Bay giving you gorgeous lake views and the opportunity to see a lighthouse!
Point Iroquois Lighthouse
Just a short 15 minute drive from Brimley, this historic lighthouse is worth the stop. The lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic back in 1975. Its name meaning “Place of Iroquois Bones” derived from a battle fought back in 1662 by local Native American’s of the Chippewa and Iroquois. The lighthouse was closed for the season so we couldn’t climb the tower but we were able to explore the grounds.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Located in Paradise, Michigan- this state park is one you won’t want to miss. Experience one of the largest waterfalls this side of the Mississippi- Tahquamenon Falls. It’s beautiful rust colored falls are caused from leached tannins of the cedar swamps which the river drains. Explore the park, and stop into the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub for some local made beer!
Go on a Hike
There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails throughout the eastern region of the UP. Hiking in the fall is my ideal hiking conditions- beautiful fall colors, crisp air, lower temperatures.