Hector Lake - Hiking a couple of kayaks the 2.5 km distance to reach the shoreline of Hector Lake in Banff National Park sound low key. Now factor in a gnarly trail, the 14.5' length of Dagger Stratos touring kayaks, and a swift glacier fed Bow River crossing and all of a sudden commitment, perseverance, and teamwork comes into play. Simon Coward, owner of AQ Outdoors, and I shared in a fabulous day on Hector Lake.
We each started off with boat carts but within the first km on this rugged trail both of the carts broke leaving us dragging our kayaks along the trail for the rest of the trip in and out.
The payoff for persevering on the trail, fording the cold Bow River and getting to the put in at the end of the trail is immediately realized with the first up close view of Hector Lake. The rugged mountains of the Waputik Range reflected off turquoise glass-like water. Paddle up to the north end of the lake and stretch your legs with a short walk following the stream and a large glacier with a bonus waterfall can be seen.
This trip as a paddling location can be done with touring kayaks but be prepared for a workout. It would be best done with an inflatable craft (kayak or SUP). There are 2-3 canoes (not sure of the condition of these boats) at the edge of the shore line that can be used (bring your own paddles and PFD’s).
Note: this trip is best done in late summer when fording the Bow River is easier. Doing this hike and attempting to ford the river earlier in the season when water conditions are high, swift, and extremely cold, can be dangerous.