Grassi Lakes: All You Need To Know Before Visiting

If you’re hunting for an outdoor adventure that’s easy on the legs and a feast for the eyes, look no further than the mesmerizing Grassi Lakes near Canmore. Further, this picturesque hike is tailor-made for families and friends, offering a delightful escape into nature just a stone’s throw away from Canmore.

Hike Basics

  • Length: 4.3 kilometers
  • Duration: 1 to 4 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 203 meters
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Grassi Lakes Trailhead

Best Time to Hike

Lucky for us, you can tackle the Grassi Lakes trail all year round. But, a word of caution – keep an eye on avalanche cycles during winter and spring. As the seasons change, so do the lakes. Moreover, they freeze over in late autumn, only to thaw out again in the early spring.

Grassi lakes

Finding Your Way

Your journey kicks off 2 kilometers past the Canmore Nordic Center, where you’ll stumble upon a decently sized parking lot, but be warned – it fills up fast on weekends. If you arrive and the lot resembles a puzzle of parked cars, it might be wise to explore other trails nearby. However, it’s tough to resist the allure of Grassi Lakes, which remains accessible throughout the year, making it a favorite among families.

The Easy Way Up

Follow a well-maintained gravel path from the parking lot that leads you gently upwards. Moreover, it’s a 200-meter ascent, so don’t be surprised if you start to break a sweat as you approach the lakes.
Are you feeling adventurous? There are two routes to the lakes: the easy main trail and the “hard” trail. But don’t let the name fool you; both are pretty manageable. The rugged trail, however, may not be accessible in the winter and spring, and it can get a bit congested during the summer. Moreover, most hikers stick to the easy, well-graded, and maintained path. But for those who dare, the challenging trail rewards with better views and only a steeper section towards the end.

Hike Duration

This short 2-kilometer (4-kilometer round trip) hike climbs 250 meters. Plan for 2-3 hours to explore the lakes fully. Moreover, if you’re quick, you can do it in 1-1.5 hours round trip.

Trailhead Location

Find the trailhead off Spray Lakes Road, on Ken Ritchie Way, 2 kilometers past Canmore Nordic Center. Keep an eye out on your left for a “No Exit” sign; you’ll spot a gravel parking lot on your right. Descend towards the parking zone and follow the signs indicating the way to the Grassi Lakes Trail.

When to Hike Grassi Lakes

To avoid crowds, hike early or later in the evening, especially during summer. Further, Grassi Lakes is accessible year-round, but in winter, be prepared for snow and check for trail conditions.

Grassi lakes

How Challenging Is It?

The Grassi Lakes hike is like nature’s red carpet for beginners, families, and those who prefer a stroll. With its short length, slight incline, and a manageable elevation gain of 203 meters, it’s a walk in the park compared to other hikes in Canmore and Banff.

Bring Along the Family and Furry Friends

Have you got kids? Got dogs? Bring them along! Grassi Lakes is a welcome mat for young adventurers, senior family members, and four-legged companions. You might even spot intrepid souls pushing strollers up the easy trail. Though it’s not the smoothest path – their determination is inspiring!

Hike Etiquette

  • Arrive early or late to avoid crowds, especially in summer.
  • Further, be cautious of falling rocks, especially around climbing areas.
  • Remain on the designated path to safeguard the natural surroundings.
  • Practice “Leave No Trace” principles by carrying out everything you brought in with you.

Wildlife Awareness

Be aware of wildlife like bears, moose, coyotes, and cougars. Further, carry bear spray, check park websites for wildlife information, make noise on the trail, and travel in groups.

What to Wear

Layering is essential. Wear proper footwear, especially in winter. Your clothing should help regulate body temperature and provide element protection. Dress warmly in winter.


In a nutshell, Grassi Lakes is a slice of heaven for hikers seeking an easy, family-friendly adventure with postcard-worthy views. Follow our guide, embark on this remarkable journey, and let the natural beauty of Grassi Lakes take your breath away. Happy hiking!

Optimistic Travelers
Optimistic Travelers
Optimistic Travelers is a popular travel and lifestyle blog which focuses on travel, travel tips, lifestyle, food and drinks.  Optimistic Travelers is run by me (Nik) and my husband Sam. I come from a background in Pharmaceuticals however; travelling writing has always been my passion. Sam has a background in Information and Technology, Sam fell in love with photography and blogging a few years ago. Well seasoned traveler, nowadays he is the official photographer of and I tend to do the writing and editing. We both are self-driven Optimistic Travelers with a strong interest in lifestyle, adventure, food and obviously travel. We are currently in Canada and loving it! Most of our time is dedicated to working on Optimistic Travelers and earn a good living from it.

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