Rising sharply above Banff townsite, Mount Rundle is a Canadian Rockies icon. It has the dramatic appearance of a wall between worlds, separating vertical Banff National Park from the horizontal prairie just beyond.
But Mount Rundle's dominating presence attracts hikers who would be much better off admiring the peak from afar, then hiking elsewhere.
Where the Mount Rundle trail ends at 5.3 km (3.3 mi), an ordeal ensues: half slog, half scramble. It requires persistence and caution. The route is relentlessly steep, climbing 949 m (3113 ft). That's in addition to the 630 m (2066 ft) you initially gain via trail. Add it up. If you've never vanquished that much elevation in a day, this is no place to try it for the first time.
Don't be misled by the seemingly short distance necessary to summit Mount Rundle. Scree will slow your pace. There's a narrow, airy section that many find gripping. Toiling for hours above treeline, you'll be exposed to whatever the sky throws at you. Once the snow melts, the route is desert dry.
Even the trail on Mount Rundle's lower reaches deserves two thumbs down. It's a crushing bore. Totally in trees. Your impatience compounds on stretches where you can see far ahead and you realize no surprises await you on this treadmill. You're granted only a few porthole views across Spray River Valley to forested Sulphur Mountain.
Interested in Mount Rundle? You'll find everything you need to know in the one-of-a-kind guidebook titled Don't Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies, The Opinionated Hiking Guide. It will warn you away from trails like the one on Mount Rundle, and steer you toward enjoyable, rewarding experiences.
Go to http://www.hikingcamping.com/hike-rockies.php to learn more about Don't Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies, The Opinionated Hiking Guide.