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BC’s #1 Guide to Hiking in Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park is one of the most spectacular and pristine hiking playgrounds in the Canadian Rockies. Nestled at the base of Mt Assiniboine, the camping/hiking areas are surrounded by monstrous peaks, endless alpine meadows, larch trees and picturesque turquoise lakes. For some it takes a long climb, for others, it takes a 7 minute helicopter ride. However, what everyone feels in common is the magic you of being in the middle of it. The entire area around Lake Magog and the Assiniboine Lodge is an alpine paradise. Beautiful wildflowers stretch for kilometers kissing the rocky mountainside. Nothing is off limits at Mt Assiniboine, on a clear day you can point at a peak and hike it, and easily find your way back. The Park is named after the gigantic pyramidal peak aka. the ‘Matterhorn of the Rockies. It’s utterly beautiful no matter which direction you decide to hike. This guide will provide all the information you need to hike in Mt Assiniboine Provincial park and experience it for yourself.

 

Remember the Backcountry Basics

 

Choosing Your Preferred Route

 There are a dizzying number of trip options hikers can pursue to enjoy the Mt Assiniboine backcountry. No route is a bad route, and once you arrive at the Lodge and Lake Magog you’ll be so fixated on the landscape you’ll likely forget about the journey up. Fortunately, there are trip options that cater to a wide variety of resource, experience and ability levels. Your visit to lake Magog can be completed as an Out and Back, a Thru Hike, or you can opt to pay for a Helicopter ride one, or both ways.

All of the route options are fabulous, ensure you plan for a minimum of 2 nights, (we stayed 4) at Magog Lake so you can set up a home base and take advantage of the unbelievable accessible hikes in the area. My personal recommendation, if you’re in good health, would be to hike in and hike out. Getting somewhere on your two feet is what it’s all about and is always way more rewarding.

Best Time To Hike in Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park 

Adventurers can visit the park 12 months a year. However, for the majority of colder months you will need to climb up on skis. The best time to overnight hike in the park is in the peak summer season between mid-June and late September. This is the time of the year that you will have the most comfortable tenting weather and the snow will be melted enough for you tackle some of the day hikes with higher elevation. Just remember that mountain weather is wild and it is not uncommon for snow to fall in the summer months!

Looking at Wonder Mountain in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, Backpacking, Overnight Hiking, Mount Assiniboine Park, Cautley,

 

Driving Directions

The Mount Assiniboine Provincial park is situated deep in the British Columbia backcountry with no road access. Visitors can only access it by a 28km hike, horseback or helicopter ride. The core area of the park sits at 2,180m and lies on the boundary of Banff and Kootenay National Parks. Canmore is the closes town to both trailheads located 116km West of the Calgary International airport and 30km East of Banff. The heli-pad is located at the Mt Shark trailhead, however hikers can begin their journey from Mt Shark or the Sunshine Village Ski Area.

 

Mt Shark Trailhead Directions

From Canmore, follow signs toward the Canmore Nordic Centre and stay on Spray Lakes road, which becomes (#742 South) the Smith-Dorrien Spray Trail. This is a very well maintained gravel road that can be easily driven by all vehicles. Drive the speed limit to protect other recreationalists and wildlife. After approx. 40km turn right onto the Mount Shark Road and drive it right to the end where you will find the parking lot. Overnight parking is permitted here just make sure to remove any valuables from the car in case someone is sniffing around at night.

 

 

Sunshine Village Trailhead

From Canmore, follow Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W for 27.6km. Take the exit on the right onto Sunshine Road. Continue down Sunshine Road until you reach the ski area parking. Overnight parking is permitted in this lot, just make sure to remove any valuables in case thieves are sniffing around at night.

 

Sample Hiking Itineraries

 

Sunshine Village to Mount Shark via Wonder Pass (thru-hike) 

Day 1:  Hike from Sunshine Village and stay overnight at Porcupine (13km) or Og Lake (21km)

Note – If you do not take the gondola up hiking to Og is doable, but a tough & long day

Day 2:  Hike to the core area of Assiniboine Provincial Park, stay overnight at Magog Lake (13/5km)

 Day 3: Day Hike, stay overnight at Magog Lake

 Day 4: Day Hike, stay overnight at Magog Lake

 Day 5: Hike Wonder pass to Mount Shark Trailhead (26km)

 

 

This itinerary is typical for most hikers who want to hike Mt Assiniboine from end to end. 5 days is the shortest trip duration I would recommend if you want to have the optimal experience. Time permitting, you can absolutely stay longer, however, the best campsites are Magog lake and Og Lake so if you are going to tack on extra days I would do so at one of these campsites. Hikers have the option of taking the gondola to reduce some elevation at the base of sunshine village. There is a shuttle, that was not running in Covid, that will pick you up from Mt Shark at 4:30 at the end of the hike and drop you off back at your vehicle in sunshine village. Link to shuttle details here.

 

Mount Shark to Sunshine Village (Thru-Hike)

Day 1: Hike from Mount Shark Trailhead, Wonder Pass to Magog Lake (26km)

Day 2: Day Hike, stay overnight at Magog Lake

Day 3: Day Hike, stay overnight at Magog Lake

Day 4: Hike to Og Lake, overnight at Og Lake 

Day 5: Og Lake to Sunshine Village (21km)

 

It is also reasonable do a thru-hike beginning at Mt Shark, hiking up the wonder pass and ending at Sunshine Village.

 

Sunshine Village to Sunshine Village (Out and Back)  

Day 1:  Hike from Sunshine Village and stay overnight at Porcupine (13km) or Og Lake (21km)

Note – If you do not take the gondola up hiking to Og is doable, but a tough & long day

Day 2: Hike to the core area of Assiniboine Provincial Park, stay overnight at Magog Lake (13/5km)

Day 3: Day Hike, stay overnight at Magog Lake

Day 4: Explore, then hike to and sleep at Og Lake

Day 5:  Og Lake to Sunshine Village

Note –  you can take the gondola down or hike back to your vehicle depending on time and energy levels

 

The advantage of this itinerary is that it would allow you to experience the citadel pass and core Mt Assiniboine area including the wonder pass. However, I would only recommend this on years the shuttle is not running because otherwise it’s much nicer to hike it thru.

  

Mount Shark to Mount Shark (Out and Back)

Day 1: Hike from Mount Shark Trailhead, Wonder Pass to Magog Lake (26km)

Day 2: Day Hike, stay overnight at Magog Lake

Day 3: Day Hike, stay overnight at Magog Lake

Day 4: Day Hike, stay overnight at Magog Lake

Day 5: Magog Lake to Mt Shark Parking Lot via Wonder Pass (26km)

 

This is the Itinerary we chose and absolutely loved it!

 

Helicopter to Assiniboine Lodge, hike out to Mount Shark via Wonder Pass

Day 1: Helicopter From Mount Shark, Day Hike, Camp at Magog Lake

Day 2: Day Hike, Camp at Magog Lake

Day 3: Day Hike, Camp at Magog Lake

Day 5: Magog Lake to Mt Shark Parking Lot via Wonder Pass (26km)

Opting for a helicopter ride up or down can save your knees, but will hurt your wallet. I was surprised to see how many hikers young and old paid for a helicopter ride. It’s about $200 for the 7 minute ride to the lodge, and for some, the thrill of being inside a helicopter makes it well worth the additional cost.

 

Campsites & Reservations

Mt Assiniboine’s unique location on the continental divide, converging with Banff and Kootenay National Parks makes booking campsites unique as well. Magog Lake and Og lake campsites are located in BC so reservations can be made via BC Parks Backcountry Camping Reservation Service.

Howard Douglas (SU8), Big Springs (BR9), Marvel Lake (BR13), McBride’s Camp (BR14), and Allenby Junction (BR17) are located in Banff National Park and can be reserved via the Parks Canada Reservation Service.

 

Assiniboine Provincial Park Campgrounds

Magog Lake Campground

Magog Lake is the largest campsite in the park with 40 tent pads, above the west side of the Lake. There is a semi-enclosed cook shelter, open air cooking areas, food caches, bear hangs, grey water pits, 3 water taps (untreated), and 4 pit toilets. You need to reserve a tent pad during peak season (June 26 – Sep 30) using the BC Parks Camping Reservation Service. The cost is $10 per person per night and $5 per child. During non-peak season (Oct 1 – June 25) there are no permits required. Cash payment is not accepted in the park.

Magog Lake, Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, Hiking Mount Assiniboine, Camping, Overnight Hiking, Nub, Niblet, Nublet, Canadian Rockies

Magog Lake is the ideal location to setup base camp when visiting Mt Assiniboine Park. It’s perfectly central and allows you to easily access all of the day hikes in the area. There are not any lakefront sites but the walk down to the lake is a quick 100m from the campsites. We brought our stove down and enjoyed dinner/tea every night by the lake watching the sun disappear behind Mt Assiniboine. If you like fishing, don’t forget your rod, because the fishing on Magog lake is unbelievable. I forgot my rod and pulled out my survival kit paracord and hook and managed to get trout to bite on pieces of rope and sour patch kids. I know…… those fish have good taste.

 

Og Lake Campground

This campsite hosts 10 tent pads and is located at the North end of Og Lake, about 5km from Magog Lake. Amenities include a central cooking area, bear cache, outhouse, and a grey water pit. All drinking water can be filtered from Og Lake. You need to reserve a tent pad during peak season (June 26 – Sep 30) using the BC Parks Camping Reservation Service. The cost is $10 per person per night and $5 per child. During non peak season October 1 – June 25 there are no permits required. Cash payment is not accepted in the park.

Og Lake is less developed and has a much more wilderness feel than the Magog Lake campsite. All of the campsites have a great views of the lake and since there are only 10 tent pads you won’t be sharing the site with too many others. Og is a great option if you are heading towards or back from Magog Lake, However, I wouldn’t recommend making this your basecamp for a few days since the best day hikes begin near the lodge.

 

Porcupine Campground

Porcupine sits on approximately the halfway point between Sunshine and Magog Lake. It’s a great option to stop here for your first night when hiking to Magog, especially if you did not take the gondola up. There are 10 sites, an outhouse, food cache, open cooking area, a grey water pit and close by creeks for filtering water. There are no reservations or fees required at this site.

 

Mitchell Meadows

West of Magog Lake, Mitchell Meadows campsite has three Sites, outhouse and food cache. There is no grey water disposal so disperse water away from tent sites. Nestor creek is used to filter water. There are no reservations or fees required at this site. This site is typically used by hikers walking in from Kootenay National Park

 

Surprise Creek Campground

Located in the meadow adjacent to the surprise creek cabin. There is 1 Outhouse, food caches, no established tent pads (use previously disturbed areas), a fire pit in front of the cabin and 1 grey water pit. Water can be filtered from Surprise Creek. This site is typically used by hikers walking in from Kootenay National Park

 

Campgrounds in Banff National Park

 

Howard Douglas Lake (SU8)

Located 6km from Sunshine Village trailhead. There are 5 sites, an outhouse, open cooking area and bear hang. Unless you really want to take things slow or need a break on your journey back, it’s probably unlikely that you will spend the night here. 

Big Springs (BR9)

Located 9.6km from the Mount Shark (Bryant Creek) trailhead. There are 5 tent sites, an outhouse, open cooking area and bear hang. The creek can be used to filter water. This site is tucked into the open forest and wasn’t anything too special so unless you really want to take things slow or need a break on your journey back, it’s probably unlikely that you will spend the night here.

Bryant Creek Bridge, Mt Assiniboine Provincial park Trail
Bridge over Bryan Creek 

 

Marvel Lake (BR13)

Located 13km from the Mount Shark trailhead. There 10 raised tent pads, two outhouses and a bear hang. Water can be filtered from the lake but you cannot swim or fish because of whirling disease in the water. The lake is very beautiful and there is a trail that leads down to it. Unfortunately, the campsite does not have a lake view and isn’t particularly memorable so if you got the legs it’s worth it to shoot to Magog Lake.

Marvel Lake on the Wonder Pass Trail in Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park
Hiking Past Marvel lake

 

McBride’s Camp (BR14)

Located 14km from the Mount Shark trailhead. There are 10 raised tent pads, an outhouse and bear hang

 

Allenby Junction (BR17)

This one is a more wilderness camping experience and is mainly used by Great Divide Trail hikers. It’s not super well maintained. There are 5 tent pads and no other facilities.

 

What you need to know about Banff National Park Camping Reservations

 

Huts and Cabins

Naiset Cabins

There are 5 cabins that hikers can camp in on the south side of Magog Creek; these huts are super cool and are an awesome alternative to staying in a very expensive cabin at the lodge. Each hut sleeps 5-7 people on the dorm style bunks. They will run you $20 per night/person or $50 per family/night. Hikers staying in the Naiset huts are allowed to use the Wonder Lodge a fully enclosed, heated cooking shelter with sinks and propane stoves to cook and eat. Owned by BC Parks, the Huts are operated by the Assiniboine lodge. You can reserve one of the huts by phone in mid-January.

The wonder lodge cooking shelter in Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

 

R.C. Hind Hut

The Hind Hut is a climbing shelter located in the Assiniboine Bowl. It sleeps 12 and serves as the base camp for climbers attempting to summit Mt Assiniboine. Reservations for Hind Hut are through the Assiniboine Lodge. The Hind hut is for trained mountaineers/climbers with the appropriate gear and is not a hiking destination for your average joe like me.

 

 

Best Day Hikes in Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

Hiking opportunities are endless once you setup base camp at Magog Lake. Depending on the length of your stay you can plan for the hikes that seem most desirable to you. I would recommend the Nib, Nub and Niblet for everyone as overall it is the best bang for your buck hike in the park. My personal favourite was Mount Cautley, which involved some basic backcountry navigation as there is no marked trail.

 

Marked Trails

Wonder Pass Viewpoint Trail

Distance (Round Trip)12.5km
Elevation Gain 523m
Time (Round Trip)3-5 hours
Difficulty Moderate
Highest Point2,386m

Wonder Pass Trail, Wonder Pass Viewpoint in Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

 

Since most overnight hiking itinerary’s will involve walking the wonder pass with a backpack, this probably will not be a trail that you walk as a day hike. However, if you are taking the helicopter or doing an Out and Back from Sunshine or Kootenay National park, then this is definitely a worthwhile trail.

Wonder Pass Trail, Wonder Pass Viewpoint in Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

The wonder pass does not involve too much elevation change and the meadow tucked between wonder peak and the towers is beautiful. Follow the trail straight before the switchbacks to check out the marvel lake viewpoint.

Gog Lake, Wonder Pass Trail, Wonder Pass Viewpoint in Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

 

Niblet, Nublet, Nub Peak  Loop

Distance (Round Trip)11.5 km
Elevation Gain 760m
Time (Round Trip)4-6 hours
Difficulty Difficult
Highest Point2755 m

Niblet, Nublet, Nub Peak Hike in Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

The Niblet, Nublet and Nub Peak loop is the best bang for your buck hike in the park. You can hike it as an out and back from the campsite and the lodge or turn it into a loop this trail. On the first 4km of trail you will first pass by the glassy trout filled waters of Sunburst, Cerulean, and Elizabeth lakes.

Sunburst Lake, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

 

Just behind Elizabeth lake the steep ascent to Nub Peak begins, you will climb 600m elevation in just 2km. There isn’t a super well marked trail up the scree but the direction is simple, just go up. Views on the ascent are phenomenal, you will get a landscape view of Elizabeth, Cerulean and Sunburst lake and the meadow below.

Elizabeth Lake, Mt Assiniboine, Niblet, Nublet, Nub Peak Hike in Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

Niblet, Nublet, Nub Peak Hike in Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

Continue ascending until you reach the pile of rocks at the summit. At the top you will be rewarded with exceptional 360° views of the park. Once you’ve soaked in the unbelievable views at the top head to your left and begin walking down the ridge towards the Nublet.

Niblet, Nublet, Nub Peak Hike in Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

Niblet, Nublet, Nub Peak Hike in Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

Niblet, Nublet, Nub Peak Hike in Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

The trail is clear and runs 1km along the ridge to the Nublet. As you continue down the views begin to become larger than life. The Nublet has a marvelous viewpoint and allows a unique perspective of all four lakes and Mt Assiniboine in the distance.

Niblet, Nublet, Nub Peak Hike in Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

After another 600m you will reach the Niblet. It’s the lowest elevation viewpoint of the three but packs a serious punch. The Niblet offers an absolutely perfect view of Magog Lake and Mt Assiniboine. From here it’s just a short 2km walk back to the campsite at Magog lake.

Niblet, Nublet, Nub Peak Hike in Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

 

Windy Ridge

Distance (Round Trip)19km
Elevation Gain 860m
Time (Round Trip)4-6 hours
Difficulty Moderate
Highest Point2619m

Windy Ridge Trail, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

Windy Ridge is probably the least trafficked marked hike in the park. We did not see any other hikers while walking the trail. The first portion of the Windy Ridge trail is shared with the Og Lake Trail. It’s approx. 3km from the campsite before you reach the fork. Right to Og Lake and left to windy ridge. The trail passes through the meadow and enters the forest continuing flat until approximately the 6km mark. The ascent will begin switch backing and traversing across the base of Og Mountain. The views really start to pickup on the ascent. You will be able to see the meadow, Og Lake, and all of the surrounding mountains including Mt Assiniboine in the horizon. As you near the ridge, the wind really picks up! When you reach the top of the ridge there is a viewpoint directly ahead. You have to walk across an outcrop of rock that feels like a small gravel bridge which is quite terrifying in the wind.

Windy Ridge Trail, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

On the viewpoint you get an excellent view of the mountains, lakes and terrain hiding behind Og Mountain. There is a wind block up top built of rocks so you can take a seat behind it and enjoy a snack. I really enjoyed the remote feel of Windy Ridge and loved getting a view of the park from yet another perspective! If the weather is good and you are experienced it may be possible to summit Og Mountain.

 

 

Og Lake

Distance (Round Trip)12.7km
Elevation Gain 267m
Time (Round Trip)3-4 hours
DifficultyEasy

Og Lake Trail, Og Lake Camping, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

Og Lake is the easiest trail in the park and is 6km from the campsite or 4km from the lodge. The trail is practically flat the entire way. The walk leads you through a beautifully open alpine meadow tucked between Og mountain and Nub Peak. If it’s a nice day make sure to go for a dip because Og Lake is perfect for swimming.

Og Lake Trail, Og Lake Camping, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

Og Lake Trail, Og Lake Camping, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

 

 

Backcountry Trails

 

Mt Cautley Summit Loop

Distance (Round Trip)16.25km
Elevation Gain 885m
Time (Round Trip)5-7 hours
Highest Point 2880m
Difficulty Difficult

Mount Cautley Summit, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

 

Hiking to the Summit of Mt Cautley is a fantastic adventure in the Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park. This is not a marked trail and there is no perfect way hike to the summit. The one thing I can guarantee is that you will be hiking the trail all to yourself. Above is the recommended route from an Assiniboine lodge worker explained to me. Our actual route involved hiking through the deep wildflowers behind the ranger cabin and directly up the scree to the Cautley summit.

Mount Cautley Summit, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park
Pointing to the summit
Mount Cautley Summit, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park
Looking Back at the meadow we crossed

Navigation is easy on this one thanks to the lack of dense forest. You will be able to see the target the entire time. At 2880m the summit of Mt Cautley offers unapparelled views of the Mt Assiniboine core and surrounding areas. This was hands down my favourite viewpoint on the trip. You can continue down the ridge of Mt Cautley towards Ely’s Dome and Wonder Peak. We descended before Ely’s Dome and looped back to the Wonder Pass Trail.

Mount Cautley Summit, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

Mount Cautley Summit, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

Mount Cautley Summit, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

 

Additional Backcountry Trails

I’m not going to write about any backcountry trails that I haven’t experienced personally. I plan to do the peaks listed below next time I visit the park.

  • Wonder Peak
  • The Towers
  • Sunburst Peak
  • Cave Mountain

 

If you see a peak in the area that you want to climb and you have the experience. Do some research, get prepared and go for it!

 

Helicopter Rates

Mount Shark flight: $190.00 per person, per one way flight + 5% tax

Canmore flight: $220.00 per person, per one way flight + 5% tax (one flight only, so limited seats available)

Flying gear only:  $4.00 per pound, per one way flight (includes tax),

Excess baggage fee:  $4.00 per pound, per one way flight (includes tax), FOR ASSINIBOINE LODGE GUESTS ONLY this year

Click Here to See All of the Up to Date Rates

Hikers (Tea) aka Happy Hour at the Lodge

On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays (non helicopter days) the Mt Assiniboine Lodge welcomes campers for wine, beer, tea, lemonade and homemade cake. Everything is about $7 each so be sure to bring a little bit of cash, especially for the cake.

 

Mount Assiniboine Lodge Bench looking over Lake Magog

 

Wildlife

Wildlife such as Black and Grizzly bears, elk, mule deer, moose, mountain goats, bighorn sheep inhabit the park. Chattering of ground squirrels and chipmunks or the call of the hoary marmot and pika can often be heard. Almost 100 species of birds have been spotted in the park, the most common being northern harrier, grey jay, Clark’s nutcracker, white-tailed ptarmigan, pine grosbeak, rosy finch, boreal chickadee, chipping sparrow and white-crowned sparrow. On our journey we only encountered marmots, ground squirrels, birds and saw many fish in the lakes.

Our Experience

We stayed at Magog Lake in 2021, when Covid 19 restrictions were still in place. The Sunshine village gondola was closed and the shuttle was not providing services. These changes helped us easily decide to hike from Mt Shark to Magog Lake. I was skeptical about our itinerary initially because I was eager to thru-hike to Sunshine. However, after the fact, I thought our 4 sleeps at Magog Lake were absolutely ideal. The more nights you can get at Magog Lake the better!! It allowed us to set up base camp and venture off on every single marked trail in the park and we even paved some backcountry hiking trails of our own.

Day 1: Mt Shark Trailhead to Magog Lake via the Wonder pass

Watch The Mt Shark to Magog Lake Section Video HERE 

The night before hiking Laura and I slept in the Mt Shark parking lot. We embarked on the very lacklustre initial leg of the journey taking 2hours and 45minutes to cover the 14km of logging road to the Bryant Creek Wardens cabin. Since we were feeling fresh, the logging road was a breeze and we didn’t even have a sip of water along the way. There are a few hills but the elevation change is minor. Finally, we were rewarded with beautiful views of a meadow upon reaching the Wardens cabin. We stopped at the Bryant creek bridge to fill up our waters and have lunch.

Filling water in Bryant Creek, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

We were hiking on a hot summers day with significant forest fire smoke in the air. We began up the Wonder Pass/Marvel lake Trail. After this portion of the trail there was lots of sun exposure and not many shady areas. This section of the trail traverses 5km above Marvel lake until you reach the switchbacks towards the pass. The elevation gain is consistent, however, enjoyable as Marvel lake and its gorgeous mountain backdrop is in view the entire way. The switchbacks begin at approx. the 20km mark and they weren’t as intense as other hikers made them sound, but given we already hiked 20km in the sun, they did feel a tad exhausting.

Hiking Wonder Pass by Marvel Lake in Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

Things flattened out after the switch backs and we began to walk the Wonder Pass. The Wonder Pass is stellar, we walked through the beautiful alpine meadow enjoying the flowers and staring up at Wonder Peak and the Towers. We passed by Gog lake, not to be confused with Og Lake. Gog is stupendous and the sheer rocky backdrop makes for a crazy view.

Gog Lake in mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

We held off on our temptation to swim since we were nearing the campsite. Magog Lake and the pyramidal Mt Assiniboine came into sight and I was absolutely awe struck. When we saw the lake we thought we had made it, however, hiking from the lodge to the campsite is another 2km+ depending on where you find a site in the maze of campsites. To our surprise, the bugs at campsite were mental. I’ve never experienced bugs like this in my entire life. Laura and I had to put our full rain gear on just to get everything set up. The only place to hide your body from the insects was in the lake and we had a wonderful swim. We made dinner and watched the sunset over Lake Magog.

Swimming in Magog Lake in Mt Assiniboine Provincial park
Laura getting ready for a dip in the lake


Day 2: Niblet, Nublet, Nub Peak 
 

Watch our Niblet, Nublet and Nub Peak Video HERE

On the second day we packed our day packs and went for a little adventure. We decided, partly by accident, to turn the Niblet, Nublet and Nub Peak trail into a loop hike. We began by checking out the incredible shorelines of Sunburst, Cerulean and Elizabeth Lake. The water was gin clear and I’ve never seen so many sizable and hungry trout in my life. We enjoyed the lakes then hiked up to Chuck Ridge. Chuck ridge is a super short trail that leads you to a great viewpoint of the valley and surrounding meadows.

Cerulean lake, Mt Assiniboine Provincial park

We hiked back to Elizabeth Lake and followed a not so well walked trail up to the summit of Nub Peak. The views on the ascent and summit of Nub Peak are unbelievable offering a 360° Birdseye view of the core area of Mt Assiniboine Park. When I thought things couldn’t get any better, they did. Usually when you descend views tend to get worse, however, the Niblet and Nublet only brought you closer to the lakes offering what I thought to be one of the most exceptional views in the park.

Nublet Viewpoint, Niblet Nublet Nub Peak hike in Mt Assiniboine provincial park

The Niblet, the lowest viewpoint is surreal. It makes everything feel larger than life and animated. I felt like I could jump off the edge and into one of the 3 lakes. We headed down and dropped by the Lodge for Hikers ‘Happy Hour’ for an expensive, but worth it, can of beer.

Hiker happy hour at Mt Assiniboine Lodge

 

Day 3: Mt Cautley & Og Lake

Mt Cautley & Og Lake Hiking Video 

I struck up a conversation with an older lady, one of the lodge guests the night before while having a beer. She told us about a guided hike she went on that day to the Summit of Mt Cautley. It sparked my interest and I convinced Laura to hike it the next morning. It was a backcountry hike and once we left the core Assiniboine trails were left to our own devices. The first portion of the hike was unbelievable. We walked knee deep through wildflowers for about three kilometers before finally hitting the mountainside. Our direction was slightly off and we managed to miss the ridge we were planning to hike up. Instead of backtracking, we hiked directly up the very steep scree mountainside. The summit was stunning and in my opinion was the best view of our entire trip. It was the perfect vantage point to see everything in the park.

Mt Cautley Summit Hiking, Mt Assiniboine Provincial park

We hiked the ridge pretty close to wonder peak and then skied down the scree to the mountains bottom and looped around the meadow until we joined once again with the wonder pass.

Mt Cautley Summit Hiking, Mt Assiniboine Provincial park

 

When we arrived back near the lodge we had some lunch and decided to walk to Og Lake. The walk to Og lake was flat the whole way and very easy. We didn’t hike all the way to the campsite but hiked to the shoreline on the far side. We enjoyed a fantastic swim in Og lake before hiking back to the campsite for our nights rest.

Swimming in Og lake - Assiniboine Park

 


Day 4: Windy Ridge

Watch the Windy Ridge Trail Video HERE

We took our time waking up after our big push the day before. The only marked hike we had left to try was windy ridge. At first Windy Ridge follows the same trail as Og Lake through the beautiful meadows. Once we started gaining some elevation towards the top the hike started to shape up and we enjoyed it a lot more. The switchbacks up to the ridge are beautiful and when you finally get to the top there is a spooky ledge you can walk across to the viewpoint. The Windy Ridge viewpoint offers a peek at some untouched wilderness that we had not yet seen in the park.  The windiness did not let us down.

Windy Ridge Hike, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

We timed our hike to Windy Ridge just so we could get back to buy some cake with whatever cash we had left and enjoyed it later that night on the shoreline of Magog Lake with a hot cup of tea.

Magog Lake Bench, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park Lodge

 

Day 5: Magog Lake to Mt Shark via the Wonder Pass

We woke up before dawn, freezing cold. We decided we wanted to get out. We packed up, hiked down the wonder pass again, because it is technically shorter and has less Grizzly Activity then the Assiniboine Pass. We absolutely tore down the mountain and made it back to the car in 5 hours and 30 minutes. Leaving early was an ideal strategy as the air was cool and we didn’t even feel too burnt out on the way down.

 

 

Food we Packed for 5 Days

We keep our food light and cheap while we are hiking. Our Entrées are not the definition of nutritious but they are cost effective and pack the calories we need to recover from the day before.

Magog Lake, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

 

Every single day our Breakfast, Snack, Lunch and Desert were as follows.

Breakfast: Instant Coffee

Lunch: Protein Bar, Nuts,

Snacks: Nuts, Jerky, Brookside Chocolates, Banana Chips, Mixed Candy, Pepperoni Sticks

Desert: Tea & Chocolates

 

Entrées:

Dinner 1: Sidekicks Chicken Pasta

Dinner 2: 2 Minute Mexican Rice in Tortillas

Dinner 3: Instant Mashed Potatoes & Pepperoni Sticks

Dinner 4: Sid Kicks Alfedo Penne

 

 

What Gear To Pack

Worried about what to pack on the Mt Assiniboine Trail . Check out my post HERE to read about what I bring along on every single overnight hike. 

 

My Thoughts

The Positives

EVERYTHING!!! The Mt Assiniboine Provincial park is one of the most amazing wilderness areas in the entire Canadian Rockies. Everywhere you hike you are in an Alpine meadow and the views are non-stop until you leave the park. I cannot wait to get back up there to try to summit more of the surrounding peaks. More importantly, I’m especially excited to bring my fly rod along next time.

The Negatives

The biggest negative about the entire trip were the bugs. The bugs were the worst I had experienced in my entire life. You could not breathe without inhaling insects or show any inch of skin without being swarmed and bitten. Without bug spray and the proper attire the experience would have been very uncomfortable. But, I’ll trade bugs for exceptional mountain views any day of the week. The only other negative would be that, because of the lodge, it can feel a little urbanized unlike most overnight hikes. The lodge has a very tiny footprint and the park doesn’t feel busy but it does make you feel like you are closer to civilization. Lastly, it can be very hard to get Magog lake bookings for the peak season which is very frustrating. Make sure to always check cancellations and scoop a booking up.


Additional Things to Remember

  • Baggy long sleeve clothes or complete bug net body covering
  • Head net for bugs
  • Lots of bug spray
  • Cash for beers/cake
  • More Bug Spray
  • Fishing Rod

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