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.
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.
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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.
For me 2018 was filled with curveballs being thrown at me constantly. By life, my career, and my family. Reflecting back over the year, and going through my photos from 2018 brings forward a lot of different emotions. My apologies for the delay in this post… at this rate I’ll be lucky to get this out before the end of 2019.
JThe year started with Logan and the fur babies moving in 🏡 I went from living single in my one bedroom apartment to a household of 4 with a 2:2 human:fur baby ratio. Quite the change! On top of consolidating homes, I kicked the year off ✈️ visiting my first National Park of 2018- Death Valley 🏜 camping under the desert stars with the love of my life celebrating our 1 year anniversary. Not a bad month!
Not our favorite month this year! Our fur babies both had very expensive, debilitating surgeries. Putting our whole family out of commission, with no time to travel as Logan and I spent the next couple months home nursing our babies back to recovery.
April brought warmer weather and hope that winter was nearing it’s end. The fur babies were doing much better and the recovery was getting easier on everyone. I took my first trip since the girls surgery- and flew to California for business. Logan hadn’t been to California since childhood- he flew out for the weekend to explore the Los Angeles area and visit Harry Potter’s castle at Universal Studios.
May was a giant whirlwind! I made up for the lack of traveling the past few months. As I spent most of the month traveling. It started with Grace and I packing up her life in Chicago and heading west to Seattle. Along the way we made a few stops…
Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer in the midwest. Logan and I still had our suitcases from Iceland packed as we headed north for the weekend. After 10 days away from our fur babies we were looking forward to a weekend away with them to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for the holiday weekend.
June my little sister tied the knot 💍 and made the most beautiful bride. Logan and I spent the summer weekends camping around Michigan ⛺️ and chasing lighthouses.
July started by exploring Seattle with Logan for the first time. We spent a couple days camping and hiking in the Olympic Peninsula. Another quick trip to Los Angelas for work, and ended with a baby shower to celebrate the future princess 👑 Charlotte Long.
With little time to breathe- ✈️ a weekend in Boston visiting family and exploring the historic city
October Logan and I bought a 1965 Cree! Our Michigan made camper joined us for just 1 of our 3 Michigan U.P. Trips this year (Rest assured it will be on 100% of 2019 camping adventures 👏🏻). October is my favorite month in Michigan- all the leaves begin to turn colors. The green leaves turning into bright yellows, or bursting orange and reds. The whole state transforms into a magical place.
A work trip took me back to LA for my last flight ✈️ of the year, and an experience I’d never forget. Logan joined me after the work week for the weekend, we drove outside of the city into Joshua Tree National Park.
With the time difference across the country, we only had one day to explore before we had to catch a plane home. After we spent the day exploring the park, we stopped at the Salton Sea. It was hard to see the disaster we were witnessing in front of us. As we were driving back to our campsite, we were rear ended on the freeway. Thankfully no one was physically injured, however I couldn’t help but feel this was an omen of sorts.
December began a new chapter in my life 🌱that will continue into 2019. The journey hasn’t been easy and I anticipate it will only get harder with the new year. But I learned long ago that what doesn’t kill you- makes you stronger. I am so thankful for each and every person in my life- thank you all for another amazing year!
Detroit is the largest city in Michigan- with several nicknames. We lovingly refer to our beloved city as “The D”, “Motown”, “The Motor City”, or most recent- “America’s Comeback City.” Having grown up just 30 miles north of the city, and done my fair share of traveling around the world- I feel Detroit is seriously underrated as a travel destination. But fear not! Detroit city is making a comeback. Lonely Planet recently ranked the D- No.2 in the top 10 cities to travel in 2018, making it the ONLY continental U.S. city on the list.
Ready to see what all the hype is about?.
Here’s your guide to Detroit in a weekend!
Brunch Instead of Lunch
Brunch: My favorite meal of the day. Detroit has so many options for a delicious mid-day meal, and many are centrally located right downtown. Here are some of my personal favorites!
Dime Store: This dime is a little hidden- it’s located inside the Chrysler House at 719 Griswold Street. Order a peach mimosa, with your eggs benny and find out why they call it Detroit’s #1 breakfast spot. Pro Tip: While you’re waiting for a table, go around the corner of the Chrysler Building to Bon Bon Bon and snack on the most adorable, tasty, handmade chocolate boxes you’ll ever taste.
The Hudson Café: Located in the heart of downtown Detroit, the namesake comes from the old Hudson’s department store that was across the street from the café. I would recommend trying their delicious Baklava French Toast- covered in walnuts, pistachios, and drizzled in honey.
Parks & Rec Diner: To get here- enter at the corner of Grand River and Cass Avenues. Breakfast & lunch are served all day, every day. The artisanal menu boasts a number of traditional fan favorites- I had the mouthwatering C-Day Benny: Thanksgiving spiced, smoked & pulled local chicken, poached eggs, sweet potato biscuit smothered in sausage gravy. But the real winner was the melt in your mouth delicious Crème Brûlée French Toast.. it was so different than I expected- soaked in orange anglaise coated in a crackly sugar crust and fresh fruit, served with two eggs any style-we went with scrambled.
Gold Cash Gold: Located in Corktown, this old pawn shop turned hipster eatery has a fantastic farm to table rotating seasonal menu.Try their take on the classic chicken & waffle- made with a cornbread waffle, hot & spicy fried chicken, and an orange sorghum butter, it’ll satisfy your sweet AND savory cravings.
Shop Eastern Market
You can’t visit Detroit without experiencing the oldest and largest year-round market in the US. During the busy season, Eastern Market has over 225 market vendors with up to 40,000 visitors in one day. Depending on the season, you can expect fresh Michigan grown produce, fresh proteins, TREATS, flowers, hand crafted goods, and all kinds of fun stuff. I would recommend getting here early on the weekends (like 7-8 a.m. early). Parking is free but fills up fast, the earlier you get there the better chance you have of getting a good spot. After you’re done shopping- head a couple blocks over to the Detroit Distillery and wet your whistle with their hand crafted cocktails.
Get Inspired By The Heidelberg Project
The Heidelberg Project is an outdoor art environment on Detroit’s East Side- about 5 minutes from Eastern Market. The project is on Heidelberg Street- the street that the local artist grew up on. In 1986 the artist started transforming his childhood neighborhood that had turned to poverty and shambles into a massive piece of art. The old abandoned houses and lots were cleaned, and the refuse collected was recycled back to create the artwork. The street, sidewalks, trees, and anything else on this street has become a part of this neighborhood gem.
Campus Martius Park
Visit Detroit’s gathering place, Campus Martius Park. Located downtown, the park has spectacular skyline views and is home to the always flowing Woodward Fountain, gardens, historical monuments and the popular Parc Restaurant. The park is open year round with activities for everyone- in the summer it’s turned into a small beach where you can relax and sip on cocktails in the middle of the city- while in the winter the park transforms into a winter wonderland, with the most popular ice skating rink in the area. Make sure to check their calendar of events before you go, there’s often special events on weekends- you don’t want to miss out!
The District Detroit is one of the largest sports and entertainment developments IN THE COUNTRY. Located in the heart of Detroit, the 50 blocks include just about everything, including businesses, parks, restaurants, and bars. This newly formed district brings together eight world-class theaters, five neighborhoods and three professional sports venues. In addition to the residents, the district is also home to the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Pistons and Detroit Lions- making it the district with the most professional sports teams in one downtown…again… IN THE COUNTRY. This is where the action is- grab some tickets if you’re in Detroit on game day, and experience what Detroit is really like with the fans in the city we love over the teams we love.
Visit Belle Isle
Belle Isle Park is a 982-acre island on the Michigan side of the Detroit River. The park is home to Belle Isle Aquarium, Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, Belle Isle Nature Center, and the James Scott Memorial Fountain. No matter what season it is- there’s always something to do on Belle Isle. Take a walk around the island and explore, you’ll find an old lighthouse, several historical sites, and incredible views of both Detroit and Windsor across the river.
Detroiters love their coffee; it’s also a requirement for me to start my day with something that contains caffeine. The Roasting Plant is the perfect place to grab a fresh cup of joe (and just so happens to be my favorite coffee shop in Detroit). The coffee beans are stored in a Javabot (super cool tub machine that shoots the beans out through tunnels you can see) at the center of the shop- measured out per order. You can blend up to four different varieties per cup, they’re brewed within seconds – fresh just for you. I would recommend the Jamaica Blue Mountain blend- a bright acidity with a butter-soft body. Aromas of almond and praline come first, followed by dark chocolate, and energetic lemon zest.
Great Lakes Coffee has a few locations in Southeast Michigan including one in Midtown. If you’re looking for somewhere cozy with tea options and yummy baked goods and sandwiches, head to Corktown over to Astro Coffee.
Astoria Pastry Shop
Located in the Greektown District of Detroit, Astoria Pastry Shop is open till 1:00 a.m. on weekends for all your late night sweet tooth cravings. They have TONS of yummy treats- you’ll find something for everyone, from muffins, to cannoli’s, to fancy cheesecakes. Astoria has been filling Detroiters with goodies since the 1970’s- making it a local staple and a must try on your visit to Detroit.
Eat in Detroit
Detroit is rapidly transforming itself into a food mecca with foodie approved eateries throughout the entire city- the majority of which are locally owned and operated. Head to Hamtramck over to Polish Village for some pierogis that will give your taste buds an explosion of flavor. Feeling spicy? You’ll want to go to Mexican Town for some tasty tacos. Some of the best sushi I’ve had has been at Maru. It’s the perfect spot for a nice night out and a warm cup of Japanese tea. Wright & Co is great for sharing- with their menu consisting of creative seasonal small plates, my friends and I always order a couple plates a person, and then share family style.