Alberta Parks

Golden Larch Season - Guide to Fall Hiking in Alberta Parks

It's that time of year again! Golden Larch season has arrived at Alberta Parks. Here's your go-to guide for a successful adventure, along with some staff-recommended hikes to ignite your fall-time trip inspiration!
September 19, 2023

The autumn season gives summer hiking a run for its money in terms of popularity. As the blanket of gold begins to cover the landscape, one sight stands out among the rest: alpine larches. 

Photo Credit: Karen Ung (Play Outside Guide)

Unlike almost all other conifers, Larix lyallii or alpine larches have soft needles that turn yellow in the autumn and fall off before the winter, making them appear distinct alongside other evergreens. Popular larch hikes are primarily found in Kananaskis Country. However, you can still find alpine larches in other areas of Alberta, but they tend to be found in lesser-known areas or tucked away deep into forested areas. The prime window for witnessing the larch trees in their golden glory typically spans from mid-September to early October, although this timeline may fluctuate from year to year due to varying weather conditions. 

We invite you to discover the beauty of Autumn in Alberta Parks, but before you lace up your boots, remember that planning ahead is key to your hiking success. Here are some tips to consider:  

Want to discover more great fall hikes in Alberta Parks? You’re in luck! There are dozens of picturesque trails worth checking out this season. Below are some of our staff suggestions to help plan your trip to an Alberta Park near you!  

David Thompson Corridor: 

Amerada Trail, Crimson Lake Provincial Park 

Landslide Lake Interpretive Fire Trail, Kootenay Plains Ecological Reserve 

Tuff Puff/Kinglet Lake trail, Kootenay Plains Ecological Reserve 

Northern Rockies:  

Athabasca Lookout Trail, William. A Switzer Provincial Park 

George Kelley Trail, Rock Lake Provincial Park 

Rock Lake Viewpoint, Willmore Wilderness Park 

Sulphur Gates Lookout Trail, Sulphur Gates Provincial Recreation Area

Central Region 

Grouse Loop, Miquelon Lake Provincial Park 

Neon Lake Trail, Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area 

North Region 

Jack Pine Trail, Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park 

South Region 

Reesor Hills TCT Trail, Cypress Hills Provincial Park 

Barnaby and Southfork, Castle Provincial Park 


Kyra Palylyk (Parks Staff)

Updated: Sep 22, 2023