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Take a Guided Hike to Hidden Lake
And learn a lot along the way about saving fishies
Hidden Lake, pictured above, is a spectacular mountain lake reached after a scenic hike in Banff National Park. The lake is also now home to westslope cutthroat trout, an at-risk species Parks Canada experts have been working to protect and recover for years.
And you can visit this lake — and learn all about the feat of conservation taking place here — on a guided hike!
Parks Canada is once again running paid guided conservation hikes to Hidden Lake, every Sunday and Monday from July 9 to August 28, and every Saturday and Sunday from September 2 to September 24.
Find all the details and reserve your spot here… and yes, you’ll have to navigate the frustrating maze that is Parks Canada’s reservation site. We recommend doing this on a desktop, not a phone.
Guided hikes are costly, but can be beneficial for a few different reasons. (This hike cost around $75/person plus a reservation fee, with a discount if you’re a youth or a senior). By paying for this guided hike, you’ll get a shuttle ride that trims the 18 kilometre trail down to 10 kilometres.
Cailynn took this guided hike last September during larch season with her parents. She was eager for the opportunity to share with them an area she had been to while backpacking, but one her parents considered too far to reach on a day hike. Enter the aforementioned shuttle. Plus, larches!
If you’re new to hiking, a guided hike can be a good way to get more comfortable by going outside with an expert. And no matter your experience level, you’ll learn a lot from a knowledgeable guide and be able to ask many questions.
The Hidden Lake hike focuses on the interesting story of the westslope cutthroat trout, an at-risk species native to Alberta that was once common. That changed with the introduction of non-native fish species stocked in national parks, which choked out the native species. Increasing water temperatures further troubled the westslope cutthroat trout.
Bringing these fishies back has been a complicated, costly, multi-year process, and learning about it led Cailynn and her hiking partners to grapple with some larger questions about the lengths we should go to recover at-risk species.
Note that you can do this hike without a guide, and if you stop and read the interpretive signage along the way you’ll learn about the fish project.
And of course, Parks Canada isn’t the only operator offering guided tours of Alberta’s mountains. Check out both Indigenous Tourism Alberta and Travel Alberta for lists of operators offering guided tours on hiking trails throughout the province. Happy hiking!
P.S. Join us next week for a chat with CBC’s Loren McGinnis about planning your outdoor adventures this summer, alongside local photographer Monika Deviat. Find details about this free online event, hosted by the Calgary Public Libray, here. And everyone who attends will be entered to win one of two sweet photography prize packs.