Dolomite Circuit (summer trail)

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photo: Saul Greenberg
  • Canadian Rockies, Icefields parkway N. of Lake Louise
  • Map and GPS data.
  • Hike
  • ~19km.
  • Start in Helen Lake parking lot, several kilometers before Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway.

Opinion. The circuit is usually done in winter as a ski traverse, but it is an equally good summer hike. The trail follows the popular hike to Helen and Katherine Lake (found in most guidebooks) but peters out after that. Still, its easy to find your way through the pass and down to the trees. Another great hike in the alpine. Best done during flower season, but anytime is good.

Fact. Take good trail to Helen Lake then up to first pass (~6km). Descend to Katherine Lake, either overland or using the trail. Leave the trail after the lake by continuing straight past lunch rocks, and then turn right into next valley. Now ascend over morraine up to second pass (Dolomite Pass). Descend wide gully to the flats, more or less following the creek until the forest edge is reached (the creek turns left at this point). From the forest's edge, leave the creek by going straight/slightly uphill for several hundred meters. At the crest, go down veering somewhat right until the valley bottom. There is no 'great way' down from here, but you will see game trails etc. Keep going until valley bottom, at which point you will hit the Mosquito Creek trail. Turn right onto trail, and continue to road. Return to car. If you thought ahead, you will have stashed a bicycle, but can also hitch. It is walkable if you want to do another several kilometers.