Everyone knows Ha Ling (formerly Chinamen's Peak); best known landmark on south side of Bow Valley. Ultra popular and clear parallel with Vancouver Grouse Grind can be made. Steep forest slopes and 100s of people every day have badly eroded the trail; as result Alberta Parks have shut down the area in 2019 in order to re-route the trail. Model / map were actually displayed in City of Canmore building during the summer. I've seen this map; all I could really conclude was that switchbacks would now be made wider. Finally area re-opened late last year.
I've been to Ha Ling dozen of times before, but was fairly curious about this new trail. Beauty of the day, and expecting consolidated path with no need for snowshoes finally decided to check it out. Put only gaiters on & packed micro spikes; they were quite helpful on descent. Here's the scoop, for those of you familiar with old trail: Initial part has been completely re-routed, and moved to the right, gently looping back left. Switchbacks are generally the same, although I was a bit surprised to see couple of turns not flowing into each other; instead they were separated by steep-ish vertical bit, which had fence and railing. In upper part around treeline there are 2 major improvements -- flights of stairs to bypass badly eroded bits (stairs -- Grouse Grind anyone?). Final bit is about the same.
There were still much more people than expected; and needing some solitude I headed up to Miners peak first, and as usual had it to myself. It is much superior to Ha Ling for me. Then returning from Miners, as crowds disappeared -- maybe because of strong wind, maybe because of lateness in the day -- went up Ha Ling as well. Wind almost blew me off the mountain, so I just snapped couple of pics and quickly descended back, treated with nice sunset colors as I neared Goat parking. Some stats, for both peaks: 5 hrs return, ~9km and ~950 vertical. Pics:
[Ha Ling/Miners Peak reflected in lower Grassi lake (old photo)]
[Trail sign after you cross the dam. Old trail would go left from here, new trail contours right]
[Halfway up you come to left/right switchbacks and this opening giving unobstructed views across to EEOR. Frozen Whiteman Gap below]
[Upper stairs bridging badly eroded area. This was actually bit challenging with snow as people were sliding down on descent]
[Ha Ling / Miners Saddle (nicely seen from Canmore), looking back towards Ha Ling upper right]
[Nice pano from Miners peak summit; Ha Ling upper left. Lots of familiar peaks on north side of Bow Valley on Horizon]
[Looking back to Miners peak and connecting ridge from near Ha Ling summit. Two summit of Lawrence Grassi upper center]
[Bow Valley pano from Ha Ling summit]
[Burning skies from Banff area crossing the dam near Goat parking]
Finally, it is a nice trail but being so popular, new one will become eroded as well. It will need lots of maintenance, just like the Grind. But it is good leg stretcher, and views from the top are quite nice -- so it is worth checking out, and/or coming back regularly.