In the Rockies, fall is about much more than pumpkin spiced lattes; fall is for getting outside and enjoying the sunshine/snow combo of higher elevations, getting days off now that it is shoulder season and enjoying the gold that is to be found in the mountains.
Did I say gold? Why yes, yes I did.
The larches are at their peak for colour right now and the weekend weather has been awesome, which makes this a great time to get out for a hike at high altitude to bask in the golden colour of these beautiful trees.
Larches are the only coniferous tree (cone bearing, has needles instead of leaves) that we have here that drops its needles every fall; and it does do with a flourish of colour! These trees are prevalent around 7000 feet above sea level, which means to really take them in, you are looking at a solid hike.
Or are you…
The Highwood Pass in Kananaskis, running through Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, is the highest paved road in Canada, with the road running at about 7000 feet above sea level. Do you see where I am getting with this? 😉
There are numerous fantastic hikes along this highway corridor, and all of them put the alpine zone in easy reach, even for families with small children. Some suggestions for hikes along the Highwood where you will get some great larch viewing are:
- Pocaterra Ridge
- Elbow Lake
- Ptarmigan Cirque
Some other great larch hikes in KCountry are:
- Rawson Lake
- Chester Lake
- Burstall Pass
All of these hikes offer spectacular views, but to take in the larches in all their glory, you have to hurry up and get hiking! The season for colour is a very brief one out here. You can also expect to encounter snow at higher elevations, so definitely bring an extra layer to throw on, and you will probably be thankful for light gloves and a buff or toque to cover your ears.
Here are some photos from my hike yesterday up Ptarmigan Cirque: