Hiking The Alberta Rockies - Paradise Valley Trail
Paradise Valley is found by Lake Louise - you drive through the town of Lake Louise and then turn towards Moraine
Lake. Watch the right hand side for the Paradise Valley Parking Lot. The trail leads up a hill from the parking lot along a
creek and then levels into the valley. As you are hiking in there is a fork in the trail - the left goes up to Annette Lake and
the right goes up the valley towards the campground.
We chose the left fork and went to Annette
Lake first. There is some elevation gain
climbing to Annette Lake but is well worth
the trip. We stopped for lunch at Annette
Lake and enjoyed the scenery at the base
of the peaks. The lake is crystal clear and
slow growing as is all vegetation in the
mountains from both the short growing
season and thin top soil.
As we left Annette Lake and continued climbing we came to an avalanche area. The peaks are always breaking up from the water
freezing in the cracks. We went around this slope and came out on a ridge overlooking paradise valley and the horseshoe glacier. The
view was awesome! The trail continues along the slope and there is a junction in the trails. Take the lower trail heading down hill into the
valley.
As we continued on down the slopes to the valley bottom the terrain opened up into  a flat delta type of valley. At one time the glacier  
extended all the way out into this area but now it is threaded by small creeks and rivulets that form paradise creek. There is a back
journey heading back down the valley towards the junction of the trails.
There is a side trail that goes to a spot called
the giant steps.  These  are huge slabs of
rock that have split off and are jumbled all
over the place. The creek coming off this
slope cascades over these steps and then
over a waterfall to the valley below. This is a
great spot to stop for a snack and enjoy the
views. The water is clear and clean so a few
of us took our boots off and cooled our feet in
the frigid mountain water. Refreshing!!!
we continued down the valley following the creek towards the parking lot.
The entire hike was approximately 20 km in distance with a total elevation
gain of less than 500 meters. It is a beautiful hike that I would consider to
refreshments and reminiscing about the days hike.