Stanley Glacier

Stanley Glacier
Striped Indian Paintbrush Flowers

A trip to Glacier National Park is pretty much perfection. But if you're looking for more-than-perfect, add in a road trip to some nearby Canadian National Parks. The most famous nearby Canadian park is probably Banff National Park (home of Lake Louise) but Yoho, Jasper, and Kootenay National Parks are also close. The drive from Glacier to Banff can easily go through Kootenay National Park and so we decided to take the time to do a quick day hike there as we drove up to Canmore to meet up with my brother and SIL (they spent the day in Yoho National Park and boy did we realize we missed out on that day; Yoho is on the bucket list for our next trip to the Calgary area). 

We had a really lovely and short 5 mile hike out to and back from Stanley Peak and Glacier. The hike goes through a large burned area allowing for lots of wildflowers to grow, including many interesting paintbrush flowers. Halfway through the hike, you cross and then pick up a creek to follow out to a boulder field underneath Stanley Peak. We decided not to do extra hiking up and over the boulder field to see the actual glacier but that's an option for adventurous souls. 

Rock Face and Sky at Stanley Glacier

Even though this hike is described as busy, it's much less crowded than hikes around Lake Louise. We saw a couple dozen people throughout our hike, most of which were in the distance in the boulder field and clearly doing some kind of geology classwork. Because we were driving up to the area from Whitefish (Montana), we couldn't get started until late morning, if not closer to noon, so seeing so few people is notable.

The trailhead is located on the Banff-Radium Hwy (#93), which we took from South to North, putting the parking lot on the right. Several hot springs areas are located along this road as well, if that's your thing. If you are coming from the Banff area, this hike is about 2 miles past the Alberta/British Columbia border, and the trailhead will be on your left.

Pro Tip: Pack sunscreen for this hike! Because you're going through a burn area, there's not as much tree cover, there's also not as much natural protection from sun. We were quite toasty hiking through here in summer in the middle of the day.