Sparkling blue lakes, panoramic views of endless mountain chains, calm meadows with wildflowers blowing in the breeze and breathtaking scenery all come to mind when you think about hiking in the Canadian Rockies. With the endless amounts of trails and mountains to summit, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with all the possibilities of capturing amazing moments, wildlife or perfect landscapes. To help get you started, Canmore Alberta-based photographer Sarah Magyar has compiled her top 7 hikes to capture stunning photos this summer, – some easy and some a little more difficult!
1. Tower of Babel
This is one of my all-time favourites. I am not one to re-do hikes, there are just too many to experience out here! However, this is one I try to do every year. It offers amazing views of the Valley of Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake and Consolations Lake.
It’s short but difficult, and is more of a scramble than a hike, but the views at the top are worth the physical effort. There are awesome rocks you can sit on, lakes you can shoot from above, and of course you can capture the world-renowned Moraine Lake.
2. Devil’s Thumb
Devil’s Thumb is an awesome hike in Lake Louise I would rate as moderate/difficult. The trail passes by Mirror Lake, Lake Agnes, Lake Agnes Tea House and Big Beehive making it one of the most photographic hikes I’ve done. You have the opportunity to capture some of the most picturesque spots in Lake Louise.
You follow the trail to Big Beehive then hang a right up to the top. You don’t actually get to the views of Big Beehive doing Devil’s Thumb but you pass right by the trail and I highly recommend adding the extra 500m to 1km to your trip as it offers an unbeatable view of Lake Louise.
3. Parkers Ridge
Parker’s Ridge is located along the Icefields Parkway and is an easy/moderate hike. Once you’re at the top you get awesome views of the Saskatchewan Glacier and of the Parkway. Highly recommend this one for families and anyone trying to capture something different such as a glacier!
4. Rock Pile at Moraine Lake
It is no secret Moraine Lake is one of the most beautiful (and popular!) places in Canada – in fact it used to be on the Canadian $20 bill! The Rock Pile hike is super easy and good for all ages. It will allow you to get the perfect shot of Moraine Lake, just like you’ve seen all over Instagram.
For an added bonus, visit at sunrise and walk to the dock where the canoes are. Whether it’s a cloudy morning or a clear one, it will be mesmerizing.
5. Peyto Lake
Peyto Lake is another classic spot to stop and capture the amazing blue of the lake. Some even say it looks like a wolf head! This is a heavily trafficked location and it is best to go and catch at sunset. The hike up is super easy and leisurely so it’s good for any and all ages!
6. Athabasca Falls
This waterfall is one you don’t want to miss and is along the most beautiful road, the Icefields Parkway. You have the chance to walk to the waterfall and continue to look over the gorge. This is a magical place and offers a few different perspectives for you to get creative photos!
7. Wasootch Ridge
Located in Kananaskis, this hike is a little more difficult. The beginning is steep and you gain quite a bit of elevation, but the views are worth the effort. You get views of both sides of the valley as well as the well-known mountain in Kananaskis called Yamnuska. Again, this hike offers the opportunity to get a few different shots all in the same day!
Getting these shots is half the fun! I love going home, plugging in my memory card and ordering prints, or fun gear, of my pictures! The London Drugs Photolab does an awesome job of printing shots and making them look just as vibrant and beautiful as they do on the computer and in real life. Between aluminum metal panels, canvas gallery wraps, bamboo prints, and calendars, they’ve got tons of options to make your images come to life. They even have two brand new fine art papers: Kauai and Baryta! Kauai is a smooth cotton paper that is designed for a long life, and is the best choice for prints that require Museum Grade quality. Meanwhile, Baryta is a bright white cotton paper that is ideally suited for photographic images, yielding a high D-Max with exceptional tonal range. Both worthy of your best images!