My cousins were in town and wanted to go hiking, so I took a day off work and decided we were going to scale to the Vimy Peak.
Mt. Vimy is one of my favourite mountains in Waterton as it is the one you always see from the town site. I went online to get information and they SAY it’s a 4 mile bike ride to the trailhead and a 3 mile hike up with the last mile being a scramble. Let me warn you now, they are WRONG! My cousins and I both ran cross country (which is 5km or 3.1 miles) and we know what it feels like, this hike to the top was at least 5 or 6 miles! Double what we expected. I want anyone who plans to do it to be prepared because it is tough!
In order to scale Vimy Peak (7805 ft / 2379 m) you need to start off on the Wishbone Trail, which is on the Chief Mountain Highway heading to Montana. The trailhead is hidden in the bushes on your right hand side right at the road closure gate they use in the winter. If you pass the green sign for the Belly River Campground you have gone too far.
Once on the Wishbone Trail you can walk or bike this trail for approximately 4 miles (6.5 km) where you will encounter the Vimy trail which is a steep trail up a valley and onto the mountain.
This was a super fun trail, it was relatively flat, but still gave the impression of some serious mountain biking. You have to watch out for ruts! The trail is very narrow and kind of steep, so we were playing bumper cars on the ruts. It would be super easy for an experienced mountain biker, but for us inexperienced folks, it was tough.
Hafway through the trail, you come upon Pass Creek which you just have to slog through with your bike. Watch your footing because my cousin Quinton fell in.
You pass through two big beautiful meadows full of wildflowers. Watch out for all the growth over the path as well.Grizzly bears are frequent in this less traveled section of the park, so be sure to use caution and make noise.
After 4 miles (6.5 km) you will notice a junction in the trail. The Vimy trail is not open to bikes so leave your bike here.
The trail itself is not very challenging for the first half. It seems like an every day hike. You can tell it is not used often though because a lot of the lower trail was covered in vegetation.
You will want to try to wear waterproof boots as you have to cross through three streams. The first is on the Wishbone Trail and the second two are halfway up the Vimy trail. They aren’t overly big, but when you are trying to conserve your energy for a scramble to the peak, you would prefer to slog right through the water and save yourself the effort of jumping over.
We actually drank out of this stream as we were not prepared and didn’t have enough water. So far I feel fine, so I think we were at a high enough elevation that beaver fever won’t hit us. And it was delicious! So cool and refreshing.
Right before we hit the last mile scramble, the trail was covered in snow! It’s been a cold summer in Waterton.
After the snow, we hit the peak. We had about a mile to climb. There is no trail, you have to create your own. By this point I was so tired and had been stopping every 5 minutes, I really didn’t know how I was going to scramble up this steep peak. But we took our time and up we went!
After a lot of breaks and huffing and puffing and thinking I couldn’t push myself any further, I finally made it to the top. And as always. It was completely worth it!
On the bike ride home, be very mindful of the paths, there is a fork that is hard to notice, and you may wind up taking a trail to the lake, not back to the trail head.
It was an exhausting but unforgettable experience and I think more people should bag this peak.
VIDEO FOOTAGE FROM THE TOP