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Long Runs in the Rockies: Our Five Favourite Trails

Long Runs in the Rockies: Our Five Favourite Trails

The Canadian Rockies offer some of the best trail running you could ever think of. With a great variety of distances, views for days and flowy trails, there is something for every trail runner out there. Looking for a longer adventure? Here are five classics that you have to add to your bucket list!

 

Iceline Trail - Yoho National Park

With a distance of 21 km and a healthy dose of alpine terrain, the Iceline is the best trail if you want to be rewarded with fabulous views without having to run for hours and hours to get there. Another advantage of the Iceline is that it is a relatively fast run. After gaining 600 meters over the first hour or so of hiking, the trail becomes very flowy and “runnable”. Runners are quickly rewarded with some long and fast descents back down Little Yoho Valley followed by long sections of flat terrain. While it is still a long run, it is on the the easy side of things for elevation gain and difficulty. 


  • 21 km (29 km for Kiwetinok Pass or the Whaleback extension)
  • Elevation gain: 700 metres
  • 3.5 to 5 hours of moving time
  • Done best by hiking up behind the Whiskey Jack Hostel towards the highpoint. After 12 km, you will descend down to the Stanley Mitchell hut, and it’s almost all downhill from there. 
  • Great for intermediate runners or if you don’t want to spend your entire day on the trails while still enjoying some beautiful views. 
  • Download a KML file here

 

The Rockwall - Kootenay National Park

If you are on the hunt for a long day spent on one of the most stunning trail systems in North America, the Rockwall is for you. A 55 kilometre day spiced with 2600 meters of elevation gain will sure make your legs ache. What is so special with the Rockwall is the amount of alpine terrain it covers. This leads to spectacular views that last for hours and hours! 

  • 55 km (40 km for the short version that follows Tumbling creek)
  • Elevation gain: 2600 metres
  • 8.5 to 12 hours
  • Done best by leaving a car at Paint Pots, then driving down to Floe Lake and running the trail from South to North. This way, most of the elevation gain (19000 m) is done when you reach Tumbling valley. The last section down from Helmet Falls has long and fast descents.
  • Great for advanced runners looking at testing themselves while they enjoy the best sceneries of the Rockies. 
  • Download a KML file here

 

Northover Ridge - Kananaskis Country

For a more “technical” adventure and some exciting terrain, you’ll want to give Northover Ridge a go! Don’t worry though, views up there are still a solid 10/10, but the less traveled trails and a short section of exposed ridge are there to add some spice to your day. Up there, runners will be rewarded with great views of Mt. Joffre and other high peaks in the area. 

  • 36 km (From Interlakes and back), 41 km (From Upper Kananaskis Lake and back)
  • Elevation Gain: 1600 metres
  • 4.5 to 8 hours
  • Done best by going either direction. Both ways have their advantage. The staff at SkiUphill - RunUphill is split 50/50 between clockwise and counter-clockwise. 
  • Great for advanced runners looking to spice up their run a little bit. 
  • Download a KML file here


Skyline Trail - Jasper National Park

"With almost 25 km of this trail hiked above treeline, the Skyline is Jasper’s highest and possibly most scenic trail. The high elevation allows for amazing views that extend over much of the park, encompassing vast meadows, windswept ridges and the chance to spot wildlife in the distance. Crossing three mountain passes, the Skyline trail offers a variety of flora, fauna and scenery unique to Jasper National Park."

  • 45 km
  • Elevation Gain: 1300 metres
  • 5 to 8 hours
  • Done best by taking a shuttle or hitch-hiking to Maligne Lake after leaving a car at the Skyline trail parking lot close to Jasper. This direction makes the trail easier and features a net loss of elevation. 
  • Great for amazing views and long rolling sections on the less traveled paths.
  • Download a KML file here

 

Sunshine Village to Mt. Shark via Mt. Assiniboine

Is there anything else to say about this one? This beautiful alpine highline takes you through some stunning terrain before dropping down to Assiniboine lodge. The way out is also a beauty. Reward yourself with iconic views of Mt. Assiniboine at the halfway point, and put this trail on your "To-Do" list! 

  • 57 km
  • Elevation Gain: 900 metres
  • 7 to 12 hours
  • Can be done in either direction. You will need to plan/do a car drop at either of the parking lots the day before.
  • Great for the classic Rockies trio: Alpine meadows, beautiful trails and fantastic views. 
  • Download a KML file here

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