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Walcott Peak is in Yoho National Park and sits just north of the Trans-Canada Highway about 1km east of the town of Field. Walcott Peak is one of two summits that make up Mount Burgess. With 1300m of elevation and some fun scrambling along the way, summiting Mount Walcott is a challenge! From the summit, at 2575m above sea level, you have spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and Emerald Lake.
Time Required: 5-7 Hours
Location: 1km east of Field
Distance: 12km round trip
Highest Elevation: 2599m
Elevation Gain: 1350m
Difficulty: 7/10 – Route finding, scrambling, loose footing
Season: June to September
Additional Requirements: N/A
From Calgary: Take the Trans-Canada (Hwy 1) west approximately 210km to the trailhead. The parking lot is on the North side of the highway 1km east of the town of Field. Take a quick left after turning off the highway and follow that road to the end. There’s an open area where you can park.
WHAT TO BRING
- Comfortable Footwear: Hiking shoes. Make sure your shoes are broken in prior to tackling this hike to prevent unexpected blisters. A good pair of hiking shoes is important to ensure good grip when scrambling.
- Water: This hike is long with lots of elevation gain to reach the summit. Be sure to bring enough water for 5-6 hours of physical exertion.
- Snacks: Bring some of your favorite snacks to enjoy along the hike and maybe a lunch to enjoy at the summit. Some of our favorite snacks are trail mix, bananas, beef jerky and licorice.
- Weather appropriate clothing: You will be exposed to the elements throughout this hike. Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
- Sunscreen: If it is sunny and you’re like Mattson, who easily burns, bring sunscreen!
- Insect Repellent: Insect repellent can greatly improve your hiking experience.
- Bear Spray: You are in bear country. Always hike with bear spray that is easily accessible.
- Camera: There are numerous photo opportunities you won’t want to miss.
- This Guide: Print a copy of this guide to reference throughout the hike
Wildlife: You will be hiking in bear country. It is always advisable to check in at the local Visitor Information Center to learn of any trail closures due to wildlife. Carry bear spray in an easily accessible location. Travel in groups of multiple hikers and make lots of noise to avoid an unexpected encounter.
Leave No Trace: It is important that we enjoy the outdoors responsibly and sustainably. Some key principles to consider when hiking to “Leave No Trace” are:
- Plan ahead and prepare: Proper planning allows adventurers to hike safely while minimizing damage to the land.
- Travel on durable surfaces: Stick to the trail when possible. If there is no trail, or you must travel off trail, stay on durable surfaces to reduce your impact.
- Dispose of waste properly: Pack it in, pack it out.
- Leave what you find: Leave rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest as you find them.
- Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance. Never feed wild animals.
- Be considerate of other visitors: Be courteous to others to allow everyone to enjoy their outdoor experience.
To learn more about “Leave No Trace” visit http://www.leavenotrace.ca
Summary: Walcott Peak is the northern summit of Mount Burgess. The hike is relatively straight forward but does involve some scrambling and ascending steep scree slopes. After making your way up switchbacks to the tree line there is an obvious gully to ascend to reach the summit.
From the parking lot (Route marker #1 on the map) head west on the trail into the forest. This hike begins with an easy consistent ascent of switch backs through the tall forest. You will pass a small water source after about 20 mins of walking so fill up while you can.
Soon you will come out of the forest to a wide-open avalanche area. From here you can see the steep walls of Walcott Peak and Mount Burgess. Walcott peak is the northern peak while the high point of Mount Burgess is the south peak. Make note of the gully (Route marker #2 on the map) to the right of a “treed island”, this is where you will want to ascend to reach Walcott Peak.
While in the gully, stick to the right hand side. There is some scrambling at this point and lots of loose rock that can be frustrating. We ended up climbing out of the gully to get off of the loose rock but the safer and easier approach would be to stay in the gully.
Once you’re through the gully the hard part is over and there is a scree slope to ascend to the summit! (Route marker #3 on the map)
At the top you’re treated to panoramic views of the other peaks around Field plus a bird’s eye view of Emerald Lake.
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Have fun out there!