The pristine, turquoise lakes on the Grassi Lakes Interpretive Trail are a popular destination for many tourists. The hike has two routes that make the trail family-friendly with varied hiking experience. Option one, Grassi Lakes Interpretive Trail, is the more interesting, yet challenging trail. Option two, the Grassi Lakes Upper, is an easy, less exciting stroller-friendly trail.
Insider Tip for Families
For an adventure with little kids, hike up the challenging trail, then head down on the easy trail. On the challenging trail, be aware that there are cliffs and that during certain seasons the trail can be
Closure: Option 1 has seasonal closures
Difficulty: Option 1: Challenging; Option 2: Moderate
Distance; 3.8 km (2.3 mi) out and back
Elevation: 250 m (820 ft)
Hike Highlights: Turquoise Lakes, Mountain Views, Waterfall
Facilities; Outhouse, Picnic Tables,
Optional Gear: Option 1: Carrier; Option 2: All-terrain stroller
Trail Rider Rating: Option 1: Challenging; Option 2: Moderate
From Canmore, take the Three Sisters Parkway AB-742 to Ken Richie Way in Kananaskis. Ken Richie Way is about two km past the Canmore Nordic Centre. Turn left onto Ken Richie Way and head down the hill. From there, drive down until you see the Grassi Lakes Day Use Area parking lot on the right. On weekends, the trail is very busy and you may find yourself parking far away from the parking lot on the street.
The trailhead for both the challenging and easy hike to Grassi Lakes starts from the Grassi Lakes Day Use Area on a large service access road.
Grassi Lakes is a popular spot for rock climbing but make sure to watch them climb from a distance. Some of the walls, including one of the walls with some of the easiest climbs, has significant and extremely dangerous rockfall. There are two options for hiking Grassi Lakes Interpretive trail.
Grassi Lakes Interpretive Trail, also known as the more challenging trail, starts on the same service road as Grassi Lake Upper trail (described below). The Interpretive Trail recounts the history of Lawrence Grassi, the man who developed the original Grassi Lakes Trail.
After 0.1 km, stay left at the junction to hike the challenging trail. The hike gradually climbs for a short distance before the incline significantly increases. The trail soon nears a cliff edge opening to views of the surrounding mountains and Canmore. There is no railing along the cliff edge. Depending on the season, the trail can be very slippery.
Follow the trail to a steep climb up a few stone stairs. These are high stairs and young children may require assistance. Keep hiking until you reach the main trail by the lakes and enjoy lunch next to the deep turquoise water. Due to the steepness of the stairs and the slippery trail, it is recommended that you go down the easier trail mentioned in option two.
Grassi Lakes Upper, also known as the easy trail, follows the main route up a wide gravel access road through the trees. Grassi Lakes Upper is not an interpretive trail.
After 0.1 km of hiking from the trailhead, you will reach a junction and a sign indicating an easy trail and a difficult one. Head on the right trail to stay on the easy route.
The trail gradually climbs on a slight incline up to the lakes. This trail is all-terrain stroller friendly and the best return trail for either option. Enjoy exploring the lakes before returning the way you came.
Want more hikes like this one?
PRE-ORDER the paperback book Hikes for Families: A Guide to the Canadian Rockies here.
Purchase (Ebook) Hikes for Families: A Guide to the Canadian Rockies here.