Day hikes with 4 month old in early/mid September? - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-11-2013, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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Default Day hikes with 4 month old in early/mid September?

Hey everyone, we're expecting our first child and will be out west again next fall and are curious if there are any trails you would recommend for taking an infant along?

Last July we spent 11 days in the Rockies and spent every day hiking, we loved it. We hiked Berg Lake/Snowbird Pass on Robson, Parker Ridge and Wilcox Pass, Alpine Circuit, McArthur lake and Mt Shaffer scramble at Lake O'Hara, Sentinel Pass in Lake Louise, and Mt Assiniboine.

It was a great trip but definitely not something we could do with an infant. What are some other day hikes that would be not bad with an infant? Plain of Six Glaciers? Iceline/Takakkaw? We heard nice things about Waterton? And would it be crazy to go backpacking, like Skyline trail for instance? Basically we want trails where footing is straightforward, there's no scrambling, and it's not to physically demanding (especially if backpacking). Thanks!
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-11-2013, 06:26 PM
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Waterton will fit what you are looking for. Short scenic trials.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-11-2013, 10:21 PM
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If you pick up "The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide" by Patton/Robinson, it includes only official trails, which are all pretty well-kept with decent footing and no scrambling.
What constitutes 'not too physically demanding' is up to you.
It's not crazy to go backpacking. I take it the kid will be small enough to be comfortable in a front-carrier that would let you still wear a backpack? Other than adding baby supplies, that doesn't actually change things too much. Just pick a trail that gives you shorter/easier days as needed.

Waterton is all dayhiking, no backpacking, but for dayhiking, I'd highly recommend it. It has piles of short-to-medium trails, as well as longer ones for those who want. It's also stunningly beautiful.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-11-2013, 11:08 PM
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Congratulations qwimjim! My short answer is I agree with gunthur. You're going to want to have a comfortable base camp from which to choose from a variety of day hikes. Keep in mind you're probably going to be carrying the baby in a front sling/wrap/snugli rather than a backpack carrier because of the hip spread and relative floppy factor. Yes, backpacking is a little crazy if you want my opinion. It's doable for some, but you won't know for yourselves until the time comes.

My advice is to avoid making plans that can't easily be modified. By four months, we were just starting to feel like we had our feet underneath us as new parents. Maybe you'll find it easier than we did. Maybe your baby will eat well and sleep well and be happy during the day. Some are like that, I've heard.

If it was summer right now, I'd be keen to start hiking with the 6 month-old. Life is finding its new normal. We are both back in shape, better rested, and kind of have the logistics figured out. He is big enough, strong enough, and enjoys the backpack carrier. I would feel comfortable trying a short backpack trip. I couldn't say any of those things a couple months ago, but it could be different for you.

I hope you can pull off the Rockies trip. I'm not trying to give you the impression that it's impossible, just that there are a lot of things that will have to fall in your favour, so keep your expectations in check and enjoy the journey!
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 02-12-2013, 05:13 AM Thread Starter
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Cool, I guess we'll stick to dayhikes I have the "don't waste your time in the rockies" book but any personal recommendations as to which trails to consider in the Waterton area?

Around Lake Louise, are Iceline and Plain of Six Glaciers fairly straightforward hikes with good trails, no boulder hopping, steep scree, etc?
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 02-12-2013, 06:28 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by qwimjim

Around Lake Louise, are Iceline and Plain of Six Glaciers fairly straightforward hikes with good trails, no boulder hopping, steep scree, etc?
Yeah, those hikes are definitely straightforward. In that area you might also consider Sherbrooke Lake to Niles Meadows. I don't know enough about the Waterton trails to make specific recommendations. We plan to do the same type of trip as you this summer, and Waterton is high on our list.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 02-12-2013, 11:29 AM
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Here is a photoset of the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail and the Iceline Trail.
Both are *generally* good trails, bot on PoSG, there is a ledgey section (sometimes with water running across it) that is less stable (see here) though I think you can skip most of it by taking the horse trail if you prefer. Near the top of the trail, there is a set of switchbacks getting to the teahouse, and the trail degrades on them (here). Also note that if you want to go beyond the teahouse to the Abbot Pass viewpoint, the trail is smaller and less well-kept.
Just be aware that in early- to mid-September, either of those trails could easily have snow, so you'll want to monitor the conditions.

Really, everything in Waterton is awesome, so I'd jsut choose trails on what sort of length of trail you're looking for.
If you've never been to Waterton, make sure to do Bear's Hump. It's a wee little touristy trail above the townsite, and only takes an hour or something, which would lead a lot of people to skip it. Don't. The view across the Waterton lakes really is spectacular, and it's well worth the little jaunt. You definitely want to make sure to drive around and see some of the little things like Red Rock Canyon.
If you want a break day, Crandell Lake is a 1-2km walk in (so you can carry pretty much anything), and is a great place to laze around and swim for an afternoon. It's much warmer than the Waterton Lakes.
If you're going to do one big hike, I'd recommend Carthew-Alderson before the overhyped Crypt Lake. (Actually, Akamina Ride is #1, but has a scramble step and isn't generally a good trail, so you can save that for next time). Just make sure you look at the photos and judge its stability and width for yourself, as opinions differ as to the difficulty of the trail.
For most of what you'd be doing, there are lots of options. Lineham Falls, Rowe Lakes, Bertha Falls/Lake, etc. are all well worth it.

If you're camping, you'll want to weight competing factors. the townsite campground is right in the middle of everything, but is basically a field with spots, and everyone right next to each other. The other campgrounds in the park are a little better, but have a lot of bear issues. If you don't mind driving a little extra at the start and end of each day, I highly recommend the Belly River Campground. You have to leave the park, and drive around to the edge to get to it, but it is much larger, and has really nice treed tentsites that are secluded and pretty.
But then, in September, there aren't that many people around any more, so it might not be a big issue.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 02-12-2013, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Why do you consider the Cyrpt trail overrated? I saw photos of the cable section with the ladder up to the tunnel, it might be a bit much with an infant on my chest. Carthew-Alderson is a pretty straight foward trail?

From what I gather looking at photos of Waterton hikes, it seems to lack the drama we found in O'Hara, Robson, Lake Louise, and Assiniboine. My only worry is that it might be a let down? My favorite hike last year was by far Berg Lake and Snowbird Pass, hiking up the length of a huge glacier cascading down such an imposing peak, through an alpine meadow and finishing at col looking out over an ice field.. well it was just spectacular.

I wish there were more trails that got you up close with glaciers, or sweeping views of ice fields, etc..
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 10:52 AM
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The Crypt Lake trail is regularly exalted as THE BEST HIKE IN CANADA or THE ONE HIKE TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE and TOTALLY EXTREME.
It is a nice hike, and I can see how it would feel fairly intense to people who only ever hike official parks-maintained trails, but it's far from the best hike ever. Speaking of the scenery, I found Carthew-Alderson to be more attractive with better views.

Definitely for you, the good trailed Carthew-Alderson would be better than Crypt Lake which does have some sections that might be awkward with an infant. but please have a look at the thread posted and the photos of Carthew-Alderson to decide for yourself. We had a problem with one guy last year who has a lower safety tolerance than apparently the rest of the Alberta board, and freaked out when he decided it was an extreme trail. No need to repeat that incident.

If 'drama' for you is found by glaciers and icefields, you are right that you won't find it in Waterton. Waterton is beautiful for its colours - red, purple, green rock that you won't see many other places. It also has beautiful alpine meadows and many species of flowers not found elsewhere in the Rockies. That said, coming in September means you miss out on the flowery meadows no matter where you go in the Rockies. In fact, while I love the weather in early- to mid-September, it's one of the low points for scenery, since all the flowers are gone, but the fall larch colours haven't yet come in. That might seriously diminish anywhere you go compared to having been here in flower season.

If you want sweeping views of icefields, you need to scramble. We have plenty of that.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 01:10 PM
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Fall is a great time to visit any of the Rockies parks. Colors and less crowds... my favorite time of year!

I agree with Rachel's assessment of Waterton. However, depending on the timing of your visit most of the National Parks campgrounds may be shut as they tend to roll up the rugs around there after Labour Day. There is a private campground - Waterton Springs - which is just outside the park boundary. I stayed there late last September and it was pretty quiet. We had a private little spot in the golden aspens but there are serviced sites available if you plan to RV it. On site hosts with a little store and showers/laundry.

In any event, avoid the townsite campground if you tenting. Waterton is windy, sometimes really windy, and it sits right at lake level with very little cover. Handy to town is all it has going for it.

For backpacking Bertha bay is a short pull, but not so far that you can't bail if you need to. Consider Akamina Provincial Park backcountry site too if you want a relatively short backpack in.

You should have no trouble finding trails to suit you even if you just end up punting around lakeshores and waterfalls rather than longer hikes. The Gem Trek map has most of the hikes marked, I would recommend it as a resource.

Photos from last fall that I haven't gotten around to annotating yet:
http://claytonditzler.zenfolio.com/p800736931
http://claytonditzler.zenfolio.com/p883065932
Note that just after this trip it snowed down there and winter pretty much set in.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Rachelo

The Crypt Lake trail is regularly exalted as THE BEST HIKE IN CANADA or THE ONE HIKE TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE and TOTALLY EXTREME.
It is a nice hike, and I can see how it would feel fairly intense to people who only ever hike official parks-maintained trails, but it's far from the best hike ever. Speaking of the scenery, I found Carthew-Alderson to be more attractive with better views.

Definitely for you, the good trailed Carthew-Alderson would be better than Crypt Lake which does have some sections that might be awkward with an infant. but please have a look at the thread posted and the photos of Carthew-Alderson to decide for yourself. We had a problem with one guy last year who has a lower safety tolerance than apparently the rest of the Alberta board, and freaked out when he decided it was an extreme trail. No need to repeat that incident.

If 'drama' for you is found by glaciers and icefields, you are right that you won't find it in Waterton. Waterton is beautiful for its colours - red, purple, green rock that you won't see many other places. It also has beautiful alpine meadows and many species of flowers not found elsewhere in the Rockies. That said, coming in September means you miss out on the flowery meadows no matter where you go in the Rockies. In fact, while I love the weather in early- to mid-September, it's one of the low points for scenery, since all the flowers are gone, but the fall larch colours haven't yet come in. That might seriously diminish anywhere you go compared to having been here in flower season.

If you want sweeping views of icefields, you need to scramble. We have plenty of that.
I had considered Carthew-Alderson but wasn't sure if it might be a bit much with an infant, thanks for the info!
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 02-16-2013, 05:49 AM Thread Starter
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Everyone has been very helpful in this thread and the other one I started, this forum has been invaluable. We decided to skip Waterton and come back when we have a full week to devote to it.. so this is what I'm thinking would be interesting on our second go around:

Lake Louise: Plain of Six Glaciers (pretty straightforward hike?)
Yoho: Iceline, Takakkaw Falls
Icefields Hwy: Bow Hut
Bugaboo's: Conrad Kain Hut
Roger's Pass: Perley Rock (if snow all gone by Labour Day) otherwise Glacier Crest.


I've never been on any of these but from what I've read here and elsewhere, all of these hikes are straightforward on good trails, no scrambling or rocking hopping, right? Someone mentioned there's a ladder on the Conrad Kain hike but that it shouldn't pose a problem. And that if there's still snow on the Perley Rock trail it isn't advisable given my circumstances but would be fine if the snow is gone. Well, let me know if you think any of these might not be a good idea. I especially like the idea of two hut hikes because mom and baby can sit and relax for a bit while I go scramble around a little higher.
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 02-16-2013, 06:15 PM
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Check my 02/12/2013 : 11:29 AM post with info about Plain of Six Glaciers, and photosets of it and Iceline.
The others seem good, though I abstain on the Roger's Pass one. Unfortunately, I don't know the area.
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