The Miners Peak hike is an excellent alternative or add-on to the very popular Ha Ling Peak hike near Canmore, Alberta. Miners Peak and Ha Ling follow the same steep hiking trail up Ha Ling Mountain but they diverge at a T-intersection at The Saddle.
The overwhelming majority of hikers on Ha Ling Mountain turn left and complete the Ha Ling Peak hike up to the summit. I have hiked Ha Ling many times in my life, but had never tried the alternate Miners Peak trail until recently. Wanna know a little secret? Miners Peak is better… shhhh!
The Ha Ling hike is popular for a reason – it’s huge 300m towering vertical cliff face makes Ha Ling Mountain one of the most recognizable mountains in Canmore. But ironically, when you hike to the top of Ha Ling Mountain, you can’t see Ha Ling Mountain.
When you hike to the summit of Miners Peak, not only will you enjoy some solitude not found on the Ha Ling Peak trail, but you’ll have outstanding views of Ha Ling Mountain! Win-win!
Tempted to follow the crowd? No worries – we have lots of great info on the Ha Ling Peak trail too!
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Miners Peak Trail Highlights
If you love Rocky Mountain scenery, the Miners Peak trail is a very rewarding hike. It’s a challenging hike and is not for everyone, but if you are in decent shape, chances are good that you’ll love it. It’s one of the best hikes in Canmore.
The Miners Peak hike shares the same trail as the Ha Ling hike for the first 3.6km, until you reach the Saddle. When you are at the Miners Peak trailhead, follow the signs for the Ha Ling hike.
The first section of the Miners Peak trail crosses a channel for a hydro-electric dam. Have your camera ready for pictures of mountain reflections in the glass-smooth water. Before long, you will enter a dense forest with a carpet of green moss and wispy lichen swinging from the branches of evergreen trees.
After 2.5km of mostly uphill hiking, you’ll be treated to a nice place to rest at a lookout. Follow the short trail with safety chains to a spot where you will enjoy views of Mount Rundle, Mount Lady Macdonald, Goat Creek and parts of Canmore. If you enjoy these views, just wait, as they are only going to get better!
At 3.4km, get ready for some hard work! You’ll encounter three sets of newly constructed wooden staircases which take you straight up the steep upper slopes of Ha Ling Mountain. These wooden steps are a huge improvement over the steep, slippery switchbacks which used to be on this section of the Ha Ling trail.
At 3.7km the maintained section of the hiking trail ends. The trail surface becomes loose scree and angled rock, which takes some getting used to after the nicely manicured hiking trail to this point.
At 3.8km you reach “The Saddle” – the first point where you can see the views on the other side of the mountain. From the Saddle, you can choose to turn left and follow the crowds to the summit of Ha Ling Peak, or turn right to Miners Peak.
After you turn right, take a moment and look back at the crowds hiking the loose scree trails to the top of Ha Ling Peak and smile. Your hike to the top of Miners Peak is going to be more enjoyable.
(Zoom in to see the crowds on Ha Ling Peak)
To get to the summit of Miners Peak you follow a path along the top of a ridge, allowing you to simultaneously enjoy the views of the Bow Valley to the north and the Spray Valley to the south. At the end of the short ridge hike, turn left when you reach the set of cairn rock piles.
From the cairns, it’s a short walk along another ridge to Miners Peak summit. Watch your step along this section as the drop is precarious.
The 360-degree views from the summit of Miners Peak are breathtaking. You’ll enjoy the same views as those who chose to hike Ha Ling, but as a bonus you’ll soak in the incredible views of Ha Ling itself!
Another little bonus is that the Miners Peak elevation of 2,450m is 42m higher than Ha Ling Peak. I was surprised by this as I found the final push to the top of Miners Peak to be easier than the final leg of the Ha Ling hike.
Miners Peak Trail Upgrades
As you hike up Ha Ling Mountain, take a moment to notice the excellent condition of the Miners Peak / Ha Ling hiking trail, which went through nearly $1 million in upgrades in 2019.
Upgrades to the Ha Ling / Miners Peak trail include:
- Thoughtfully located benches with amazing views
- A well-groomed hiking trail with most roots and rocks removed
- Safety chains have been added where appropriate
- Smooth stone steps have been added to the trail
- Footsteps have been chiseled in rocks
- Three long wooden staircases have replaced the old, steep switchbacks near the top
These trail upgrades by Alberta Parks not only make your journey to the top of Miners Peak easier and more enjoyable, but more importantly they control erosion and protect the endangered Whitebark Pine trees which grow on Ha Ling Mountain.
Miners Peak Hike Stats
Distance: The round-trip distance of the Miners Peak trail is 8.1km (one-way distance of 4.05km).
Elevation Gain: The total elevation gain you’ll encounter along the Miners Peak hike is 829m (for an average of 207m elevation gain per 1km). The trail starts at 1,660m above sea level and the Miners Peak elevation is 2,450m.
Difficulty: The hike up Ha Ling mountain starts uphill and it never lets up. It’s a short, but very steep hike but the trail is in amazing condition.
The Ha Ling / Miners Peak trail is mostly well-groomed with no big rocks or tree roots to contend with. Once you reach the end of the maintained trail at “The Saddle”, there are some loose rocks, but the trail surface is much easier than the loose rocks and small boulders all the way to the Ha Ling summit.
We rate the Miners Peak trail as “difficult”.
Duration: It should take a typical adult about 3 hours to hike the full round-trip distance of the Miners Peak hike. We’ve done it in as little as 2h 40m.
Miners Peak Trail Location
How to Get from Banff to the Ha Ling / Miners Peak trailhead: The nearest parking lot to the Miners Peak trailhead is the Goat Creek parking lot.
The fastest way to get to the Goat Creek parking lot from Banff is to cut through Canmore to the Smith-Dorrien Trail Highway (Alberta Highway #742). This very scenic drive should take you approximately 35 minutes. (It’s a 17-minute drive from downtown Canmore)
Along the way you’ll pass Grassi Lakes, a short and very popular hike near Canmore. The Grassi Lakes are an incredible color on a sunny day and it takes less than an hour. If you have anything left in your tank after hiking Ha Ling peak, a quick hike up to Grassi Lakes is worth it, especially on a sunny day.
Also watch for the Canmore Nordic Centre (home of the Nordic events for the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics). As you climb the steep, winding road past the Nordic Centre, watch for herds of Bighorn Sheep which love to cling to the rocky slopes next to the highway. If you are interested Alberta wildlife, get Banff wildlife sighting tips from an excellent local wildlife photographer.
The Goat Creek parking lot is home to several other popular Kananaskis recreation options:
- The East End of Rundle trail (EEOR) is another of the best hikes in Canmore. EEOR is a local’s favorite, but it’s less polished than the Ha Ling hike. This challenging Canmore hike takes you to the south-east summit of Mount Rundle.
It’s conveniently located right across the highway from Miners Peak. It’s less popular than Ha Ling, making it a good alternative if you are looking for a bit more solitude on your hike.
- The Goat Creek trail is a popular mountain biking trail which runs along the valley bottom south of Mt. Rundle. The Goat Creek trail runs all the way from Canmore to the historic Banff Springs Hotel.
Miners Peak – Canmore & Kananaskis Hiking Maps
As mentioned earlier, Alberta Parks recently closed Ha Ling Mountain to extensively upgrade the Ha Ling / Miners Peak trail. Waiting for the trail to reopen was difficult for those of us who love this favorite Canmore hiking trail, but now that it’s over, the wait was worth it.
The newly upgraded Miners Peak hiking trail is really easy to follow. Once you reach the Saddle, the trail is no longer maintained, but you are so close to the summit of Miners Peak that it’s near impossible to get lost if you simply keep going up.
We used the AllTrails app while hiking to the Miners Peak summit, but to be honest, we didn’t need it for navigation purposes.
We use AllTrails for all our hiking and biking in the Canadian Rockies and around the world. In addition to helping stay on the trails, we like the ability to track your stats (distance, elevation gain, etc.). To find the Miners Peak trail map, simply search for “Miners Peak” within AllTrails.
You are close enough to Canmore that you should get intermittent cell service while hiking Miners Peak, but just to be safe, be sure to download your hiking maps prior to leaving.
(We’re not being compensated by AllTrails for this endorsement – we’re just really like the hiking app).
A paper map isn’t required for hiking Miners Peak, but if you prefer to hike with a paper map and compass as an additional safety layer, we highly recommend Gem Trek hiking maps. We own the entire set of these excellent Banff and Kananaskis hiking maps. They are exceptional 3D topographic maps which I love looking at for hiking inspiration.
The Miners Peak trail map is found in the “Canmore and Kananaskis Village” map. You can order it on Amazon before your trip, or you can it up here as they are widely available.
Hiking Miners Peak Trail with Kids
Our kids have grown up in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and at age 5 & 7 are pretty normal kids, but are capable little hikers. They have successfully hiked Wind Ridge (one of our favorite Kananaskis hikes) and the Lost City in Colombia. We haven’t attempted hiking Miners Peak mountain with our kids yet, but given they accomplished Wind Ridge, I expect they could also do Miners Peak (with enough time and patience, of course).
Tons of super cute squirrels and chipmunks call Ha Ling Mountain home. They are experts at getting humans to feed them, but please do the right thing and not feed them – a fed animal is a dead animal.
Before attempting the Miners Peak hike with kids, we recommend:
- Looking at the Miners Peak hike stats above and making sure your kids are capable of such physical exertion. You’ll be gaining 207m of elevation for every 1km hiked towards the top of the Miners Peak hiking trail. This is an average 20% incline – it’s not easy…
- Even more important than their physical capability, assess your kids listening & obedience levels. The final push towards the summit of Miners Peak is along a mountaintop ridge, with sharp, potentially dangerous drop-offs on both sides. Only very good listeners should proceed beyond the Saddle.
Where to Stop for Lunch or a Break
Another nice benefit of the recent Ha Ling / Miners Peak trail upgrades was the addition of many benches along the trail. These benches are strategically placed to enjoy the scenic views of the surrounding mountains of Kananaskis Country.
The best spots to stop for lunch on the Miners Peak trail are the Saddle and the summit. Both locations provide amazing views of the Bow Valley from Banff National Park all the way to Exshaw.
The Ha Ling summit can get really crowded, but chances are good you’ll have the top of Miners Peak to yourself, making it a perfect spot for a break. If, by some chance, it’s also crowded at the Miners Peak summit, taking a break at the Saddle is a good alternative.
(photo from Ha Ling Peak)
The Miners Peak Trail is very close to Canmore, so be sure to reward yourself after this difficult hike at one of the excellent restaurants in Canmore.
Miners Peak Hiking Safety
- The newly restored hiking trail to the Ha Ling Saddle should be reasonably safe for those with proper hiking footwear. The short unmaintained hike from the Saddle to Miners Peak is a little more difficult and perhaps scary for some. Stay safely on the hiking trail along the ridge and you’ll be fine.
- Once at the summit of Miners Peak there is a 300+ meter tall cliff on the north side of the mountain with no safety rails preventing a fall. There have been several deaths on Ha Ling Peak from a variety of activities: rock climbing, wingsuits and even hiking. Please be careful near the edge.
- Kananaskis Country is prime bear habitat. Please take the time to educate yourself on How to Be Bear Smart.
- Not to pile on the scary stuff, but in 2019 a cougar killed an off-leash dog on Ha Ling peak. Sadly, the cougar was put down as a result of this avoidable incident. Learn more about Cougar Safety in Kananaskis Country.
- Chances of a negative wildlife encounter are very low, but the key message is you never know what will happen with wildlife, so be prepared.
- Watch for “Avalanche Zone” signs while hiking Miners Peak – stopping in these areas is not recommended.
- There isn’t a dedicated Miners Peak Trail Report, so we recommend you check the latest Ha Ling trail report for trail conditions and possible closures before you head out.
For recommendations on what to bring on the Miners Peak trail to improve your safety, see below.
Miners Peak Hike Logistics
- On-leash dogs are allowed on the Miners Peak trail.
- Mountain biking is not allowed.
- There are several washrooms in Goat Creek parking lot. There are no toilets on the Miners Peak trail and the crowds make it hard to duck into the trees to water the flowers. It’s best if everyone goes before they begin.
- There are no drinking water facilities on Miners Peak mountain, so fill your hydration packs before you leave.
- With many popular hikes and mountain biking routes, the Goat Creek parking lot fills up very early, even on weekdays. No matter what day of the week you come, get here as early as possible.
- You should get intermittent cell service from Canmore for most of the hike, but never count on it for your safety.
What to Bring While Hiking Miners Peak
Generally speaking, you don’t need a lot of hiking gear while hiking in Alberta. We have shared our a list of hiking essentials with the hiking gear and clothing you’ll need to enjoy your hike, regardless of the variable Kananaskis weather and trail conditions.
The Miners Peak trail is a difficult Kananaskis day-hike, so we would like to reinforce the importance of a few items from our hiking essentials list:
- Bear spray is a must. Cannisters are available to buy or rent at many locations in Canmore and Banff.
- Water – the Miners Peak hike is difficult, and you’ll sweat a lot. A hydration pack is an effective and eco-conscious way to bring enough water for a hard hike.
- Bring several layers of clothing with you. The Miners Peak trail is on the north-west side of Ha Ling mountain, so it is in full shade in the mornings. The weather can be quite variable hiking in Kananaskis, no matter the season.
For hiking in Kananaskis, we typically wear convertible hiking pants, T-shirts, a fleece top and rain jackets. You can expect to put on and take off layers all day.
- Even in summer, it can be cold near the top of Miners Peak trail. Case in point, it snowed on us while on the summit of EEOR (the adjacent mountain with a similar elevation profile) in late June. It never hurts to throw a small toque and a pair of gloves into the bottom of your hiking daybag.
- We don’t use trekking poles, but you will see many people using them on the Miners Peak hike to help with balance and to take pressure off their knees on the steep descent.
Miners Peak Mountain Footwear Recommendation
If you only plan on hiking to the Ha Ling / Miners Peak Saddle, you can probably get by with your regular walking shoes if they have good grips. The new hiking trail is well groomed, but you’ll still need to navigate a section where the trail is smooth rock.
Chances are that if you make it to the Saddle, you’ll want to hike the remaining 300m to the Miners Peak summit. The trail is not maintained beyond the Saddle and you’ll be walking on loose rock on a mountaintop ridge. We recommend you wear a good quality pair of hiking shoes or boots to give you proper traction for this potentially dangerous section.
More Kananaskis Hiking Trails We Recommend
- Chester Lake Hike
- Karst Spring Hike
- Blackshale Suspension Bridge
- Heart Creek Hike
- 9 Best Kananaskis Hikes for Social Distancing
Banff Hiking Trails We Recommend
- 9 Easy Banff Hikes
- Johnston Canyon Hike
- Tunnel Mountain Hike
- Stewart Canyon Hike
- Plain of the Six Glaciers Trail
- Saddleback Mountain Hike
- Sheol Valley Hike
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