Posted by: cherylyoung | March 27, 2012


Hiking in Glacier National Park is far more extensive

and at higher elevation than in Revelstoke National Park.

Glaciers cover much of the challenging terrain in the

park, which is dominated by 10 peaks ranging from

8,530 to 11,120 feet (2600 to 3390 m) in height.

By comparison, the highest peak in Mount Revelstoke

National Park, Mount Coursier (elevation 8,681 feet

/2646 m), is hard pressed to compete.

Illecillewaet Glacier on the Great Glacier Trail

(moderate; 6 miles/9.5 km return) has been a

‘must-see’ destination for over a century.

The trailhead is located behind the Illecillewaet

campground on the east side of the Illecillewaet River.

Cross the bridge next to the campground to reach the

trailhead, which is located a short distance farther on

the left.

Over a half-dozen other hiking routes lead through the

park from the Illecillewaet campground, including the

Avalanche Crest Trail (moderate; 5 miles/8 km return),

which offers some of the most dramatic views in this

region of the park overlooking Rogers Pass. Icefields

forever is the scenic byword here.

The Mount Sir Donald Trail (strenuous; 5 miles/8 km return)

and the Perley Rock Trail (strenuous; 7 miles/11 km return)

begin from the same trailhead but diverge after 1.5 miles

(2.5 km).

The Sir Donald Trail brings hikers close to Vaux Glacier,

while the Perley Rock Trail leads to the summit of Perley

Rock from where hikers look out in awe at the crevassed

expanse of the Illecillewaet Neve.

Other trails in this area include the Asulkan Valley Trail

(strenuous; 8 miles/13 km return), the Glacier Crest Trail

(strenuous; 6 miles/9.5 km return), Meeting of the Waters

Trail (easy; 1.2 miles/2 km return), and the Marion Lake

Trail (easy; 2.7 miles/4.5 km return).

The Abbot Ridge Trail (strenuous; 6 miles/10 km return)

is an extension of the Marion Lake Trail and provides

experienced hikers with some of the most challenging

alpine trekking in the park short of donning crampons.

Glacier National Park is the acknowledged birthplace of

mountaineering in North America. In 1888, two British

mountaineers, Rev. William Spotswood Green and

Rev. Henry Swanzy, completed the first recreational

technical climbs in the Selkirks.

Eleven years later, the services of Swiss guides were

provided for guests at the Glacier House hotel in

Rogers Pass.

Those guides created the network of trails, providing

access to local peaks, that has remained to this day.

Prior to the completion of the Trans-Canada Highway

through Rogers Pass in 1962, climbers accessed Glacier

National Park by train.

Tied to the railway as it was, mountaineering became an

integral part of the history of the park, and continues

to be a major attraction for backcountry recreationalists,

whose numbers have quadrupled in the past ten years.

Peaks of the Hermit Range, the Bonney and Bostock

Groups, the Van Horne Range, Purity Range, Dawson

Range, and the especially challenging Sir Donald Range

all lie wholly or in part within Glacier National Park.

Generally, entry into caves is not permitted. Cavers must

apply to the Superintendent for entry into any cave.

The Nakimu Caves lie between upper and lower Cougar

Valley in the Selkirk Mountains, just west of Rogers Pass

on the Trans-Canada Highway.

The Caves are reached by hiking three to four hours up

and over a mountain pass from the highway, an

elevation gain of over 800 metres.

Visitors’ efforts will be rewarded by the unique

experience of descending, by the light of headlamps, into

the dark labyrinth of the caves.

Numerous passageways and grottos, totalling 5.9km in

length, contain intriguing natural features such as

soda straws, rock fluting and moon milk.

Short steep scrambles and uncertain footing are

characteristic of the cave experience.

Park visitors can access the caves by either joining a

commercially led trip, or apply to the Park


The Loop Brook, Hemlock Grove, Abandoned Rails and

Bear Falls trails located along the Trans Canada

Highway section of Glacier National Park, are opened as

early in the year as the snowpack allows.

Delays in trail openings may occur when bears are

present  in the area or when snow has caused damage

to trail  structures.

Generally these trails are open by mid-June and remain

open until the autumn snowfall.

The Rogers Pass Centre is open year-round except for

Christmas Day, and the month of November.

The Centre is the only frontcountry facility open during

the spring and winter, while the campgrounds, picnic

areas and trails lie under a two metre blanket of snow.

Located near the summit of Rogers Pass, the Centre

includes a theatre, an exhibit hall with railway models,

natural history displays and wildlife specimens, and the

Glacier Circle Bookstore.

The Parks Canada office in Revelstoke is open year-round

from Monday to Friday, 8:30 till noon and 1 p.m.

until 4:30.

It is located in the Post Office building at 300 – 3rd Street

West in Revelstoke.

For more information on Glacier National Park, contact

Parks Canada’s office: (250) 837-7500, or visit the Rogers

Pass Information Centre, located at the park’s west gate.

Nearby Regions & Towns

Rogers Pass






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