The FlyOver Canada experience strives to capture Canada in all its glory as it zooms above on some of the country’s most remarkable places.
Rising thousands of metres above Lake Magog at its north side, Mount Assiniboine is a behemoth of the Great Divide. Situated along the Alberta-British Columbia border, the famed mountain was named in honour of the Indigenous Assiniboine people, once avid buffalo hunters and fur traders.
A doppelganger of the Matterhorn in the Swiss-Italian Alps—though not quite as tall—it is one of the more dominant and striking peaks of the Canadian Rockies. At an impressive 80 square kilometres (31 square miles), it was a huge draw for early mountaineers who made their first ascent in the summer of 1901.
Climb it, Hike it or Sleep Beside it
This pyramid-shaped beauty is a huge attraction for adventurers of all sorts. Hikers and backpackers have a special affinity for the area as it’s free of any road access.
To hike in to Mount Assiniboine—entering from Assiniboine Pass, Sunshine Village Ski Resort or Wonder Pass—is to follow what is touted as one of the great hikes in the Canadian Rockies. We suggest you start at the Mount Shark trailhead and follow along Marvel Lake. It's a trek is not without its challenges, but they’re outweighed by the startling beauty of the area.
Once you arrive, hiking within British Columbia's Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park is rewarding and varied in difficulty. The three main routes are informal day-hikes without marked trails, but with tremendous views. The beauty and grandeur of Mount Assiniboine and the surrounding park will astound and inspire you. So, pack a charged camera, and be sure to catch a snap of the freshwater stunner, Lake Magog, the largest lake in the park, simmering below the eponymous mountain.
For a rustic place to spend the night, the eastern shores of Lake Magog house the Naiset Huts—single-room lodges originally built in 1925. The Hind Hut, located partway up the mountain, is dedicated for climbers only. And then there's the quintessential Mt Assiniboine Lodge, one of the premiere backcountry lodges in the world, with great food, guides and hospitality. All three are hugely popular and book up fast!
The Provincial Park
Designated a provincial park almost a century ago, tucked inside the borders of Banff and Kootenay national parks, Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park is a stunning piece of high-alpine backcountry.
Mount Magog, Mount Sturdee and the Marshall Peak are some of the other sky-scraping peaks that share the area. The gorgeous boreal-forested park is full of spruce, fir and pine trees with a ground cover of white heather. Patches of fluffy rhododendrons and low-growing willow trees flourish near mountain streams. Meadows are full of Indian paintbrush and mountain daisies in the summer months.
Grizzlies lives here along with moose and bighorn sheep. Wolverines and coyotes live here too, but a little more discreetly, and more than 90 species of birds. This beloved park is on the traditional territory of the Kootenai First Nations people.
Flying Over Assiniboine
In the FlyOver Canada experience, you'll see a summer and a winter version of Mount Assiniboine's magic. In summer, the sun sets and Alpenglow turns the peak a beautiful rose. In the winter, it's the ultimate hockey rink, where a handful of fortunate shinny players pass the puck below the stunning backdrop of this stellar peak. It's the scene Canadian dreams are made of and surely one of the most epic in the FlyOver Canada film.
Mount Assiniboine cannot be accessed by car, so if a hike or bike from Canmore is not feasible, a helicopter is recommended via the Canmore Alpine Heliport or the Mount Shark Helipad. The distance from Calgary International Airport to the Canmore Heliport is 116 kilometres.
Alternately, the distance from Canmore to the Mount Shark Trailhead to hike in is just over 38 kilometres or a one-hour drive. From there, it's a full day hike at 26.1 km (17 miles).
Winter access is for strong skiers only! And remember that the scene you've seen in FlyOver Canada was a magical moment that's rarely repeated. That perfect ice sheet that hosts a quintessential Canadian game of shinny hockey in front of Mount Assiniboine during the FlyOver Canada film is a wonder of icy beauty. Discover this amazing place for yourself through the magic of FlyOver.