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A Local's Guide to Conquering Ha Ling Peak

A Local’s Guide to Conquering Ha Ling Peak 

Ha Ling Peak is a real gem for hikers, offering challenging trails and awesome views. If you’re in Canada and want to hit the mountains, this one spot you shouldn’t miss!

But, it’s smart to get the lowdown on Ha Ling Peak before you go, to make sure you have the best time possible. 

Luckily, our guide’s got you covered, from what to expect on the trails to how to enjoy those incredible views. Ready to dive in? Let’s get started on making your trip to Ha Ling Peak unforgettable.

Time Zone

Canada Standard Time (GMT-5)

Things to Know

Currency: Canadian Dollar (CAD)

(Check the current exchange rate)

Language: English 

Calling Code: +1

Address: Kananaskis, AB T0L 2C0, Canada

Start and End Point: Begins and ends at the Goat Creek Car Park.

Trailhead Location: Across from the parking lot, requiring crossing Smith Dorrien Road and walking up a gravel road to reach.

Cost: Free of charge.

Pets: Pets are allowed.

Facilities: No facilities, we suggest packing your own water and snacks.

Wildlife Encounters: Be prepared with bear spray for safety.

Hiking Boots: Sturdy hiking boots are recommended for steep and slippery sections.

Parking Information: Available at Goat Creek Car Park, with a required Kananaskis Conservation Pass. A single-day pass costs $15, and an annual pass, which can register up to 2 vehicles, costs $90.

Trail Map and Navigation: The trail is well-marked. Carrying a map or GPS device is a good practice.

How to Get to Ha Ling Peak 

From Canmore

  • Starting Point: Canmore town center.
  • Directions: Drive towards the Canmore Nordic Centre. Once you’ve passed the Nordic Centre, continue on the Smith-Dorrien/Spray Trail (Highway 742). The Goat Creek Day Use Area and Ha Ling Peak trailhead will be on your left after a few kilometers.

From Banff

  • Starting Point: Banff town center.
  • Directions: Take the Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W towards Canmore. Exit towards Canmore and follow the signs for the Canmore Nordic Centre. 

Continue past the Nordic Centre on Smith-Dorrien/Spray Trail (Highway 742). The trailhead parking area will be on your left.

From Calgary

  • Starting Point: Downtown Calgary.
  • Directions: Head west on the Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W. Exit towards Canmore and locate the turnoff for the Canmore Nordic Centre. 

Then, proceed on Smith-Dorrien/Spray Trail (Highway 742) beyond the Nordic Centre. The parking for the Ha Ling Peak trailhead will be on the left side of the road.

Best Time to Go to Ha Ling Peak 

The best time to hike Ha Ling Peak is between June and September. This is when it’s warm and the trail is mostly snow-free, making it easier to walk. You’ll also get to see great views without snow blocking them. 

But, it’s a popular time, so the trail might be busy, especially on weekends. If you like a quieter hike, try going on a weekday. Before you go, check the weather because it can change fast up there. 

How to Hike Through Ha Ling Peak 

Media from helcat79

Distance8 km (5 miles) round trip
Elevation700 meters (2,300 feet) gain
Duration4 to 6 hours, depending on pace and breaks
Trail TypeOut and Back
Surface Mostly well-maintained dirt paths, with some rocky sections closer to the peak

Step 1. Start at the trailhead to the first viewpoint

Media from helcat79

When you start the hike to Ha Ling Peak from the trailhead, you’ll follow a clear path going through a green forest. This part goes up slowly but can have some steep bits that might make you a bit tired. 

The ground is mostly dirt with some roots and rocks here and there, so watching where you step is a good idea. Because of the trees above, this part is usually cooler, which is nice if the sun is out.

As you go up, there are spots where the trees open up, and you can see the wide valley and high mountains around you. 

These spots are great for taking a short break and just looking at the view. Try to keep a pace that feels good to you; there’s no need to hurry. Enjoy these breaks and the beautiful views they offer.

Also, you can see a lot from here—it’s a great spot to drink some water, eat a snack, and take pictures. The viewpoint is right at the edge of a cliff, giving you a clear view that makes it feel like you’re on top of the world.

Step 2. Pass by the staircase to the saddle 

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After the first big view, your hike takes you back into the trees for a bit. Soon, though, you’ll notice there are fewer trees, and then you’ll see some big staircases going up the side of the mountain. 

These stairs are there to help you get up to the saddle part of Ha Ling Peak faster. Instead of having to climb over rocks, you just have to go up these stairs. It’s like a big outdoor staircase right in the middle of nature.

Also, this pathway makes this part of the hike different from walking through the forest or over rocks. 

You’ll feel like you’re climbing straight up the mountain on these steps. They can be a bit tiring, though, because it’s just up, up, up, but they also make you feel like you’re making good progress towards the top.

Step 3. Scramble to the summit 

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Once you reach the saddle after those big stairs, the path to the top changes a lot. This is where you need to start scrambling, which means you’ll be using your hands as well as your feet to climb over rocks. 

This bit can be a bit more difficult because the rocks aren’t always stable and can move under your weight. Also, if it’s rained recently or if there’s snow, these rocks can get slippery, making it harder to keep your balance.

The wind can also get stronger as you get higher, which adds another challenge to keeping steady on the loose rocks. 

But remember, reaching the summit isn’t a must if the weather’s bad or if you’re not feeling sure about the scramble. The views from the saddle are still pretty amazing and worth the hike.

Step 4. Reach the peak summit 

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When you make it to the top of Ha Ling Peak, the hard part of the hike pays off big time. Up here, you’re surrounded by a huge, open view that goes on for miles in every direction. 

You can see all kinds of mountains, deep valleys, and even the town of Canmore looking tiny far below. It feels like standing on top of the world, with the wind blowing and the whole landscape spread out around you.

Being at the summit is a mix of excitement and peace. After the climb, especially the scramble part, reaching the flat top can feel like a huge relief. 

You might feel a strong sense of achievement, too. It’s a great spot to sit down, catch your breath, and just look around. Lots of people take their time up here to enjoy the view and take pictures.

Step 5. Descend from the peak all the way back 

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Heading back down from Ha Ling Peak offers a different look at the trail you’ve conquered. Descending means dealing with gravity in a way that demands careful steps, especially over the loose rocks and steep parts you climbed up. 

It’s a bit trickier and calls for a slower pace and steady footing to avoid slips. The big staircases, though a relief compared to the scramble, will test your leg strength all over again, making it vital to take it easy and pause when needed.

Once past the challenges of the scramble and stairs, the forest path feels familiar yet new, seen from the return perspective. This part of the descent is gentler but still requires attention to avoid roots and rocks. 

It’s a final stretch that allows for reflection on the accomplishment of reaching the summit and the beauty of the journey, both up and down the mountain.

Where to Eat Near Ha Ling Peak

The Bankhead Restaurant And Lounge

Media from thebankhead_restaurant

Address: 1602 2 Ave, Canmore, AB T1W 1M8, Canada


Contact Details: +14036791771

Opening Hours: Daily 7 AM–2 PM

Cost: $$

The Bankhead Restaurant and Lounge is a splendid dining spot that captures the essence of Canmore’s vibrant culinary scene. 

Located within the Northwinds Hotel by Basecamp, this restaurant offers a blend of Canadian and international cuisines, making it a favorite for both locals and visitors. 

The ambiance shifts beautifully from a welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere during the day to a mesmerizing dinner and drinks destination by night. 

Also, its diverse menu features everything from Alberta Beef Striploin steak and Atlantic Salmon to Bison Ravioli and Butter Paneer, ensuring there’s something to suit every palate.

Ankor restaurant

Media from ankorcanmore

Address: 1430 2 Ave Unit 103, Canmore, AB T1W 1M9, Canada


Contact Details: +14036752424

Opening Hours: Daily 5–9 PM

Cost: $$$

This restaurant boasts a wine list curated by sommelier Julie Hélie, designed to complement the chef’s creations perfectly. 

Whether opting for the diversified local beer selection, Canadian spirits-focused cocktail list, or the six-course tasting menu, guests are guaranteed an outstanding gastronomic experience. 

Ankor’s intimate setting, accented with plants and high style, offers a cozy and comfortable ambiance that enhances the dining experience.

The Sensory Restaurant

Media from thesensorycanmore

Address: 101-300 Old Canmore Road, Canmore, AB T1W 2X2, Canada


Contact Details: +14038120837

Opening Hours: Daily 5–9 PM

Cost: $$

The Sensory Restaurant in Canmore is a captivating dining establishment that offers an exceptional culinary experience, combining regional cuisine with stunning mountain vistas. 

This place provides a unique dining atmosphere that’s both relaxed and refined, aimed at feeding the senses of its guests. 

With a menu that boasts of seasonal vegetables, a charcuterie board, mushroom risotto, Wagyu burger, lamb shank, and bison, there’s an exquisite variety to cater to diverse tastes. 

Notably, guests rave about the ‘Trust Me Journey,’ highlighting it as one of the best dining experiences, with meticulously prepared dishes and a cozy, welcoming service atmosphere.

The Drunken Lobster Oyster Bar & Ocean To Mountain Seafoods Inc

Media from thedrunkenlobster

Address: 302 Old Canmore Road #113, Canmore, AB T1W 0L5, Canada


Contact Details: +14036792807

Opening Hours: Daily 2–10 PM

Cost: $$

The Drunken Lobster Oyster Bar & Ocean To Mountain Seafoods Inc brings a fresh taste of the sea to the heart of Canmore with its diverse offerings of seafood. 

Celebrated for its high-quality seafood and cozy, east coast vibe, this establishment has quickly become a go-to spot for seafood lovers. 

When you’re here, you can enjoy a wide range of seafood options, including freshly shucked oysters, P.E.I. mussels, crab cakes stuffed with brie, seafood chowder, and the much-loved lobster rolls. 

The Grizzly Paw Pub

Media from thegrizzlypaw

Address: 622 8 St, Canmore, AB T1W 2B5, Canada


Contact Details: +14036789983

Opening Hours: Daily 11 AM–10 PM

Cost: $$

The Grizzly Paw Pub in Canmore is a cozy spot known for its local beers and sodas. It’s a great place for anyone wanting to try the local brews or enjoy a good meal. The pub has a warm, welcoming vibe, making it a favorite among locals and visitors. 

It really doesn’t matter if you’re coming in from a hike or just want to hang out with friends, The Grizzly Paw offers a friendly space to relax. 

With a menu full of tasty pub classics and a variety of drinks made right in Canmore, it’s a perfect place to experience the town’s local flavors.

What’s the Weather Like in Ha Ling Peak 

At Ha Ling Peak, summers are the best time to hike, with temperatures in the 20s and 30s Celsius. This season offers clear trails and accessible roads. Winter and spring can be tough due to deep snow and avalanche risks, making hikes more challenging.  

Despite recent upgrades, including wooden staircases to make it more accessible, the final stretch requires some scrambling. 

Always come prepared with enough water, weather-appropriate clothing, and possibly hiking poles for a safer trip.

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