There’s been a huge shift away from city vacations, resort holidays and booze cruises toward adventuring in the true outdoors and it’s been gaining more and more traction in recent years.

Maybe it’s the Instagram ‘mountains and fedora’ craze or maybe it’s because being in the outdoors is awesome and word of mouth is creating a snowball effect.

Whatever the reason I think it’s a good thing that more of us lean towards spending some quality time outside, away from technology and close to nature. Where am I going with this you may wonder?

I have spent more than a year hiking and photographing the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I completed hundreds of kilometres of trails on day and overnight trips. 

Naturally I didn’t exhaust the possibilities. For that I fear a lifetime of exploring wouldn’t be enough. I did however discover a few of my favorite trails, which I am going to share with you today.

Why do I favor them over others? Some due to their very limited human traffic and remoteness, others because of the great wildlife viewing possibilities, but mainly because all of them offer truly breathtaking views. Something I am a huge sucker for.

1. Smutwood Peak

Mount Birdwood viewed from Smutwood Peak

A scramble up Smutwood Peak is an absolute corker. The hike starts as an easy ramble along a creek before emerging out on subalpine meadows. Soon you will cross an unbelievably destructive avalanche path and start the steep ascent to the Birdwood Pass.

From here the two Birdwood Lakes will be right in front of you and you will get your first glimpse of the Mount Smuts, still an hour away. I spotted a sow with her cub swimming in the lakes when hiking on this trail, and many other hikers reported the sightings too.

The view of Mount Birdwood is the reason that this hike isn’t only one of the best hikes around Canmore and Kananaskis Country but makes it to the top of my list of the best day hikes in the Canadian Rockies.

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