Hermit Trail

If you have ever driven the stretch of highway between Revelstoke and Golden I’m sure you have been mesmerized by its towering peaks and glaciers. We have spent years looking up towards the mountain side and dreaming of hiking the trail.

Our girls have been hiking some good distance and elevation gain this year so thought we would finally give it a go. The Hermit Trail is known as one of the steepest in Glacier National Park.

We left our home around 7:30 am and arrived at the trailhead ready to hike by 10:30 am. It was a crisp fall morning and +7°C starting out. The girls had their puffy jackets on along with their merino wool mittens. The hike started hard and fast with switchbacks in the trees.

Very quickly we were peeling off the layers as we rapidly climbed higher and higher. Lots of quick breaks for water and the odd “hiking candy” for motivation were had. After a couple hours the trail flattened out a bit with the trees thinning and allowing for some amazing views of various waterfalls in the distance. From here, we wove amidst the shorter trees lined with blueberries and huckleberries galore. It was tough to get the girls moving at a steady pace as they needed to stop every few seconds to pick and eat all the berries. These bushes soon dwindled and the rock stairs started that led up to a large boulder with a rope to assist you on your assent. From here is was just another short distance up to our lunch spot/campground of the Hermit trail.

So much beauty to take in here. Unbelievable 360° views of everything from rugged mountains topped with Glaciers to cascading waterfalls and even a babbling brooks running right through the lunch area.

There is an 8-pad campground along with bear caches, a grey water dump and a fly out throne toilet. Someone had even balanced together a makeshift picnic table out of big boulders and wood. Hiking this trail in the fall results in less crowds, crisp mountain air, and breathtaking fall colours from every point on the spectrum.

We really wish we would have brought our camping gear as we could have stayed a few nights. There is so much to explore once setting up camp here. This could be the perfect “basecamp” for climbing the surrounding mountain peaks, and exposing what lies on the other side of every ridge. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, no bugs, no smoke and nothing but blue sky.

It was tough to convince the girls that it was time to go down. They really wanted to relax in the sun and stay the night in a tent. Finally the time came to head back the way we came. One of the girls was so excited to be first she ran ahead and tripped and fell. Lots of waterworks resulted with a need to snuggle and little ride in the Trail Magik (use code “RESTLESSCRUSADE” for 10% off).

But that was short lived. Within a few minutes we found ourselves back at the boulder section with the rope assist. She was out so fast doing that section of the trail, not once or twice but multiple times over. From here both girls pretty much ran down as fast as their little legs could take them. The ground was a bit slippery with the dry dirt and well worn trail making it challenging for them. Hiking side by side holding their little hands was a challenge as the trail was really only wide enough for one in spots. Ducking back into the woods we encroached on the multiple switchbacks again, this time the quantity seemed to increase. I guess we didn’t really pay attention to them on the way up. They seemed to go on and on and on until we heard the creek and then saw the parking lot.

The creek was in the perfect position. As you finish the trail you could cool down, wash your face and hands and feel refreshed.

This hike definitely lived up to all the hype. Also, our girls have become quite the strong hikers this year having no issues hiking the 3.5 km up and 3.5 down with nearly 900 metres of elevation gain. This is making things a lot easier on us not needing to carry them, but is also testing our patience as we are now hiking at their speed and not ours.

One of our favourite day hikes this season. We will be back to spend a few consecutive nights here in the future.

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