The Perley Rock trail is an incredible 13km round trip hiking adventure in the heart of Glacier National park near Revelstoke BC. It’s a difficult route that climbs 1200m of elevation with views overlooking the Illecillewaet Icefield, an incredible glacial lake, the Asulkan glacier, Abbot ridge & the hundreds of waterfalls firing into the valley.
If you’ve ever wanted to be an astronaut and walk the surface of the moon but you just didn’t have the brains to do it (me). The Perley rock trail is as close as us mere mortals can get to a moon walk. This route is spectacular from start to finish and is a must-hike when visiting Glacier National Park.
Let’s dive into the details.
The Backcountry Basics
- Carry your Survival Kit & Essentials
- Let someone know where you’re going with a Trip Plan
- Know how to avoid negative wildlife encounters
- Practice Leave No Trace to keep the wilderness pristine
- Carry a Satellite Communicator like SPOT X
|Distance (Round Trip)||11.7km|
|Time (Round Trip)||6-8 hours|
Glacier National park is quite simply an outdoor lovers heaven. From casual riverside hikes to expert mountaineering missions, Glacier National park is a playground that keeps on giving year round. The trailhead for Perley Rock is located East of the Rogers Pass summit at the Illecillewaet Campground, 60km from Revelstoke.
The Illecillewaet Campground is the ideal basecamp for hikers with an unbelievable network of hiking trails stemming off in all directions from the campsite. Each trail is unique and the scenery is so damn beautiful that you could blindfold yourself, pick a direction and you would not be disappointed.
The trail begins up the gravel path at the end of the parking lot. The first 3.2km of the trail is shared with the Sir Donald trail. Stay to the left of the Illecillewaet River and follow the Perley Rock/Sir Donald Trail.
The first kilometer of the trail is pretty much a flat walk through the forest. You will begin to gain a little bit of elevation and the trail will become rocky as you cross a boulder field. Once you cross the boulder field at around the 1.7km mark you will be climbing steep consistent elevation until you reach the finish.
You will be surrounded by incredible waterfalls from Illecillewaet Glacier and in the summertime some awesome bridges will be setup to help you cross the streams. Laura and I couldn’t even hear each other the sounds of the water were so deafening. The most gorgeous waterfall on the trail, resembling a natural staircase will appear directly to your left as you ascend.
If you take a second and look back into the valley you can see Abbot ridge & Abbot peak, another one of the best trails in the area.
At the 3.2km mark you will reach the conjunction with the Sir Donald Trail. Continue right towards Perley Rock. This is where things start to get really special! The extremely steep switchbacks climb through the rocky and grassy alpine and offer amazing views of the Asulkan glacier and valley each and every turn.
There was a tricky snow crossing at the 4.2km mark just before the Col. It is very manageable with poles but make sure to take your time as going for a slide so close to the end wouldn’t be fun.
Once you conquer the snow and pass over the Col you will be welcomed by a completely barren and rocky landscape. Welcome to the Moon.
A few steps further and you will be able to set your eyes on the Illecillewaet Glacier and the gorgeous lake tucked beneath it. It is other worldly up there.
I took well over an hour exploring the lake and walking around the rocks to get different vantage points of the glacier and its many mammoth crevasses.
If you’re feeling super brave, go for a swim!
It will be hard to leave this alpine paradise but when you’re ready follow your steps back down to the trailhead, the views are awesome on the way down.
Let me know if you have any Q’s!