Attack of the Wildflowers (Healy Pass, Banff)

by - Saturday, July 18, 2015

"Wow....   wow.... this is crazy! I don't even know where to shoot! Wow! They're everywhere! Whoaaa!!" This may sound like the opening scene of an alien invasion horror movie, but it's what I said to my friend about the surreal wildflowers at Healy Pass, Banff National Park (18 km return, 655 m elevation gain). Everything was in bloom at the same time and we couldn't believe it! Blame it on the rain or the hotter than usual summer, or forget all that and just get out and see them before they're gone. 

Healy Pass Trail
Not familiar with this hike? It's adjacent to Sunshine Meadows which was voted the #1 hike in North America by the Lonely Planet! The views are stunning and the alpine meadows are some of the most extensive in the Rockies. A straightforward out and back trail, Healy Pass can be turned into a backpacking trip (with a campground en route and another on the other side of the pass) if you'd like to stay longer and explore further. Since we were only visiting for the day, we did the pass with a small side trip to a beautiful lunch spot on the ridge. The elevation gain is gradual and the trail is well maintained (there are no streams to ford), so you can make time quickly. We completed 19 kilometres in 6 hours including a snack break, lunch break and several photo stops. 

Healy Pass is truly a feast for the senses! Words cannot do it justice, so please enjoy this photo tour!

Arnica (yellow) and Yarrow (white) on Healy Pass Trail
A Fairy Garden near the pass
Smooth blue asters, arnica and red paintbrush - lovely even in the rain.
Healy Pass Trail
Healy Pass Trail
Red and pink paintbrush and arnica lit up the meadows!
Image Credit: Carolyn Fisher
Image Credit: Carolyn Fisher
Smooth blue aster
Western Anemone (aka Fraggle Rock Heads in my family)
Healy Pass Trail
I spy something furry! Did you find it? It's a marmot!
When the "hills are alive",  pack a European lunch.
For more wildflower hikes in the Canadian Rockies, please check out this post.

Happy Trails! 

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