Image: Mike/Wikimedia Commons
This is peak-bagging made simple—skip the large-scale mountain expeditions and make tracks for these weekend peaks:
- Elevation: 2,065 metres
- Strathcona Provincial Park, BC
As Vancouver Island’s Highway 28 winds west toward Gold River, your destination of Strathcona Provincial Park will appear—as will a challenging 15-km route to the summit of Kings Peak. Find the trailhead near Elk River Road; the route leads past a cascading waterfall, then into the alpine for the final summit-scramble. If you’re looking to break up this strenuous trek, backcountry camping is available en route.
- Elevation: 2,083 metres
- Squamish, BC
The toughest part of this nine-kilometre, eight-hour scramble might be finding the trailhead, accessed from Chance Creek Forest Service Road, on Highway 99 about 30 km north of Squamish. Done in the late-summer and early autumn, it’s a moderate route—hike past wildflowers toward a glacier field, don your helmet and scramble to the exposed, jagged peak for a world-class view.
- Elevation: 3,000 metres
- Jasper National Park, Alberta
This scramble is an athletic daylong effort, but it’s manageable by most experienced hikers. Track down the trailhead on Icefields Parkway, at Tangle Falls, and follow the marked route for 1.5 km until it veers left. From there, it’s eight kilometres and 1,100 metres of elevation gain to the summit and a knee-weakening view atop some of the Rockies’ best scenery. (PICTURED AT TOP)
Mount St. Piran
- Elevation: 2,649 metres
- Banff National Park, Alberta
Let the tourist hordes hike the Lady Agnes and Little Beehive routes—Mount St. Piran is where locals trek. This 13-km day-hike starts near the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, meandering on the south shore before it leaves the trees for a view of stunning peaks like Mount Temple and Mount Lefroy. The summit push is next, followed by a downhill ramble to Lady Agnes Teahouse for a beverage, if you so desire.
- Elevation: 642 metres
- Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Provincial Park, Ontario
Make this trek on a four-day-weekend—the summit hike to Maple Mountain, one of Ontario’s most prominent peaks, is only 3.2 km, but you’ll have to canoe about 40 km (Mowat Landing to Tupper Lake) to get to the trailhead. Have lunch at a decommissioned fire tower and enjoy the vista atop what many mistakenly believe to be Ontario’s high point, before the long trek home. (Nearby Ishpatina Ridge is 51 metres taller, but less dramatic.)
- Elevation: 820 metres
- Mount Carlton Provincial Park, New Brunswick
Set amid 1,700-sq-km of Acadian woodlands and the continent’s oldest mountains, this Maritime high point offers a boundless view atop its namesake provincial park, stretching to nearby Mount Sagamook and Mount Head. The 10-km route presents an intermediate-level challenge, and the peak is adorned with an old fire tower. Two trail options lead from the parking lot to the top; make this summit-hike a loop for a change of scenery on the return jaunt.