You'd think that a trail that's 7.5 km each way and has 650 metres of elevation gain would be a bit difficult for many people, but because of its proximity to Calgary, the Galatea Lakes trail can get pretty busy!
We stayed at the Kananaskis Hostel, and on the advice of the manager got an early start - when we got to the parking lot at 9:00AM, there were just a few cars.
The trail drops down to a creek, then follows it all the way up to Lillian Lake, a distance of something like 6.5 km with about 500 metres of elevation gain. It's a very scenic trail with rushing rapids, verdant forests, and views of the mountains all around. That's a steep climb, though, so be prepared for a workout. Not for the faint of heart.
At its end, the trail passes by the Lillian lake campground, with pretty views of the lake, then starts a very steep climb up an open slope covered with avalanche debris. Footing is uncertain - you're walking on large, loose rocks that can roll underfoot. At the top, though, you come over a rise and the first Galatea Lake is below you. It's incredible, an icy mountain lake, ringed in by mountain tops. Walk around that lake and over another low rise, and you come to the second Galatea lake.
Stop at either one and have your lunch, before starting the long walk back. Be careful; there are many places where there is a risk of falling, so keep children and pets close by your side.
This trail can become a very busy one on a nice summer day. When we arrived at the top, there were only a few people at Galatea. By the time we left, there were a couple of dozen. When we got back to the parking lot it was completely full, and an additional 20 or 30 cars were parked on the highway!
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