Fall is one of my favourite times of the year. The sun is still shining bright and the warmth is intensified by leaves that are changing to red, orange and yellow. It is also the time when the popular sport “Larch hunting” occurs in the Canadian Rockies. Seeking out Larch trees in the fall is popular because of their soft pine needles that turn yellow in the fall before falling off. The multi-coloured landscape that contrasts with the mountains is hard to resist for locals.

The best part is that “Larch hunting” is accessible for the whole family and not just for strong hikers. These 6 hikes will be featured on the “Hiking Guide for Families” Kickstarter starting October 1st and are perfect for the whole family. They are specifically graded for kids and range from easy to challenging for kids. Check it out here.

Note: Make sure to check online for trail closures before heading out on the trails. Alberta Parks trail closures can be found here and Canada Parks closures here.

6 Beautiful Larch Hikes around Calgary for Families

Photo Credit: Karen Ashraff from Off-Road Discovery

Highwood Meadows Interpretive Trail

At just over 1 km and 0 elevation, Highwood Meadows is by far the easiest of the 5 trails and is wheelchair accessible. Since the hike is located on the highest paved highway in Canada, the weather in this area can be unpredictable and significantly colder than other areas. Enjoy reading the interpretive signs and learning about the sensitive alpine environment as you meander along the trail. Learn more about the Highwood Meadows Interpretive Trail here.

Mt. Lorette Ponds

Mt. Lorette Ponds is another easy hike for kids and a great place to enjoy the fall colours. The wheelchair-accessible hike meanders around a small pond and is scattered with picnic tables because it is also a day-use area. Pack a lunch to enjoy after exploring the 1.1 km and 0 elevation of trails. Learn more about Mt. Lorette Ponds here.

Ptarmigan Cirque

The trail head for Ptarmigan Cirque starts at the same place as Highwood Meadows. This challenging hike for little kids is over 4.5 km long with over 280 m of elevation. The hike takes you to a cirque in the alpine with incredible views of the surrounding mountains and larch trees. Learn more about Ptarmigan Cirque here.

Arethusa Cirque

Arethusa Cirque is another challenging hike for kids and a great place to “hunt for larches”. The hike covers over 4.2 km of trail and 330 m of elevation. The area typically has colder weather patterns than the city so be prepared for snow. Learn more about Arethusa Cirque here.

Lake Agnes Tea House

Lake Agnes Tea House hike starts from Lake Louise making it a popular hike for tourists and is a challenging hike for kids. The 7 km and 400 m of elevation trail offers incredible views year-round, but the fall colours really pop with the surrounding larch trees. Bring cash if you want to enjoy a refreshment at the tea house which is open until Canadian Thanksgiving in October. Learn more about Lake Agnes Tea House here.

Saddleback Pass

If your kids are a little bit older or your children have already conquered Lake Agnes Tea house, then consider hiking to Saddleback Pass. This hike is short at only 3.7 km but climbs almost 600 m and is a real leg burner. The hike also starts at Lake Louise and is sometimes slightly less crowded than Lake Agnes Tea House. Be warned that this hike is a stretch for little kids and some older children as well. Learn more about Saddleback pass here.

Check out the Hiking Guide for Families on Kickstarter starting October 1st that features these hikes and more!

Annika Mang is the creator and founder of the Born to be Adventurous Platform
Photo credit: Karen from OffRoadDiscovery.com
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