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  • Sarah Magyar

Lady MacDonald Heli Pad Hike - Canmore

Updated: Oct 1, 2019


Since moving to Canmore Lady MacDonald is a mountain I look at everyday. Whether I'm going to work, coming home, going to the gym or the grocery store, or just walking outside my house, there it is. So once the weather got a little warmer and the snow began to melt you bet your bottom dollar I was hiking it!

The Lady MacDonald Heli Pad, also known as the Lady MacDonald Teahouse Trail, is the first part of summiting Lady Mac. The trail head is located at the Cougar Creek parking area. The hike begins with a casual and flat walk along the side of Cougar Creek until you reach the second trail marker indicating the left turn for the trail which ascends Mount Lady MacDonald. Not to be confused with the trail that begins slightly before (we initially started going the wrong way).

You are in the trees for most of the hike as the Heli Pad is just above the tree line. At some parts your climbing over some big rocks and other times you're on a trail. I can be easy to get lost when it comes to the more rocky areas but this hike is heavily traveled so it's not hard to get back on the trail.

The trail is just under 9km round trip and you gain just over 1000m elevation. It took us about 5 hours with lots of breaks and we spent about 30-45mins at the top. You get an awesome view of the Three Sisters, the Town of Canmore and the Ha Ling.

We went at the end of April, we had some warmer temps in Marchand April and not too much snow so the trail was clear of almost all snow and once you got to the final stretch it was muddy and snowy, nothing that really bothered us.

From the Heli Pad you can continue to the summit. I have not been to the summit myself but I've heard it is quite the scramble and to reach the very peak you walk across a narrow ridge, don't say I didn't warn you.

All in all this was a great hike to start off the season, it was tough as the first hike, but boy did it feel good to get back on a mountain without skis on! Highly recommend this hike in early season when other trails may be closed do to snow and weather.

BONUS! When we got to the top there was a lady with the most beautiful dogs. It was a puppy party!

Level: Intermediate/Expert

Difficulty: 7.5/10

Distance: 8.7 km

Elevation Gain: approx. 1,015 m

#Alberta #HikesinBanff #BanffNationalPark #Canmore #Mountain #outdoors #adventure #summer

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