East End of Rundle is easily one of the most popular hikes in all of Kananaskis. It’s also the best effort to reward in all of the regions with breathtaking views of Spray Valley and Ha Ling Peak. Given it’s proximity to downtown Canmore, and relative ease it sees heavy foot traffic. It’s a beautiful hike up that provides visitors with astonishing views over Canmore, the Bow Valley, and Ha Ling Peak.
Although, just because East End of Rundle (or EEOR, or “Eeyore” as locals like to call it) is close to town doesn’t mean it’s an easy climb up to the summit. Here is all the info you need to know about hiking EEOR.
East End of Rundle (EEOR) Hike
Mount Rundle is an icon of Banff National Park and dominates the sky over both Banff and Canmore. It has seven distinct peaks over 12km and the East of Rundle refers to the last peak to the East over the town of Canmore. The EEOR summit is 2,545m (8,350 ft) in elevation and is an easy scramble with 875m (2,870 ft) of elevation gain.
The hike up East End of Rundle starts at Whiteman’s Pond dam at the top of Canmore Hill. There are two parking areas, but the latter from Canmore is the best for access to EEOR. The trail starts right between two flagged power poles you can see in the photo below.
The trail begins a quick ascent up through the woods through a series of switchbacks. Make note of the well-worn trail and downed trees to mark the way as it easy to end up on any number of trails used for climbers, goats, or both.
The trail is a bit of a mixed bag through the ascent as it makes several switchbacks, changes in trail material, before several rocky sections that may require a handhold or two. It’s nothing difficult and any hiker should be able to handle the terrain. It’s is fairly easy to follow with the small pieces of tape, painted rocks, and cairns leading the way to the peak.
On the way up you begin to see views down Spray Valley to the East, Ha Ling Peak, and Mount Lawrence Grassi. With this in mind, there are a ton of off shots and goat trails from the main trail that leads to various viewpoints.
The hike up comes out of the first section of treeline to a small ridge. This section has some route finding and small portions of scree. It’s not too difficult and the most advanced section comes on a large rock slab that can be bypassed by heading to the left.
Once you get above the final bit treeline you’ll find a steep wide open scree section waiting for you. Once you make it past the scree (hiking poles helped me!) you’ll find two paths leading up to the summit.
We took the one to the left which seemed to be the easier trail up. Once you get to the rockband you’ll want to put your gloves on (and helmet if you have one) as you’ll be walking along the cliff for about five minutes using your hands and careful footing. The helmet is more necessary on a busy day as it would it’s easy for clumsy hiking groups above to dislodge rocks.
After this scramble, you’ve reached the summit and get to enjoy the views over Canmore! The view was particularly exciting for us as we could see our home way down below.
With a summit beer in hand, we watched a marmot wander around the peak and flipped through the very full summit register.
The descent was the same as our accent as the other way looked more treacherous. We tried to run down the scree, but the well-trodden trail only had small rocks on hard dirt and caused us to slip multiple times. With that in mind so we grabbed our poles and walked fast down the scree.
East End of Rundle (EEOR) Duration
EEOR trail is a 5.8 kilometer out and back trail. We are reasonably fast hikers and completed the trail in three and a half hours with summit beers at the top and about 15 minutes extra for sunset photos. If we were really moving with no long stops we could have easily done EEOR in under three hours.
The average hiker will probably be able to summit in two hours and descend in 1.5 hours. If you are slower five to six hours round trip is a safe time to estimate. We were in no rush and took 1.5 hours for us to reach the summit and an hour down.
We came across two other pairs of hikers who completed the trail with a proper summit. There were many others that stopped at the countless number of viewpoints along the way.
If your main priority is to take photographs you could stop at any number of the viewpoints over Ha Ling, the Bow Valley, and the Spray Lakes Resoivor after about an hour of hiking and descend in an hour making the whole trip just two hours in length! In fact, photographs are better from down below.
East End of Rundle Difficulty
AllTrails has rated this hike as hard, but I would put it in between moderate and hard. It’s certainly a steep and strenuous uphill battle for almost the entire hike. There are hardly any flat parts and the climb starts right from the car park.
There is a modest amount of exposure and some scrambling required, but nothing too scary or difficult for the average to an advanced hiker. Poles are recommended for the scree ascent and descent, and gloves would come in super handy as well as you’ll be using your hands in a few sections.
If you are new to hiking and scrambling then this will definitely be a difficult climb for you. If you’re in reasonably good shape and hike a bit, EEOR should be no problem for you. It’s a great workout, with great views the entire way. You’ll be gaining 870 meters of elevation in 3km – a leg burner for sure!
When Can You Hike EEOR?
The best time to hike EEOR is between May and early October. If you decide to tackle this in the winter you will need crampons to get you through. It’s steep and slippery. Hiking poles are never a bad idea either. See my section at the bottom for what to wear hiking.
We hiked EEOR in late July and had great conditions, however, it is one of the busiest trails in the area. It’s typically a great early season objective as it receives plenty of sunlight to melt away the snow.
Hiking EEOR in the winter means that you won’t find many other people on the trail, but you’ll need to be extremely cautious. During the peak summer season this trail is heavily trafficked given its ease and proximity to Canmore.
How Busy is EEOR?
AllTrails rates this as a heavily trafficked trail, and it is. It’s a hard hike that is exceptionally close to the town of Canmore and offers breathtaking views over the Bow Valley.
Don’t come here expecting to be alone. Your best bet at having a crowd-free experience is coming mid-week at either sunrise or sunset. We started this trail on a Thursday at 4 pm wanting to catch the sunset light. We passed a lot of people coming back down from the trail, but were the last to summit for the day.
Dogs and Kids on the East End of Rundle (EEOR)
Only kids and dogs with experience scrambling should tackle the summit of EEOR. The crux is the last hundred meters to the summit and requires hands and sure footing. However, most teenagers and pets should be able to make it to the viewpoint without issues!
Parking for East End of Rundle (EEOR)
Yes! Vehicles should park along Whitemans Pond. There are typically always cars here unless you’re one of the first ones here. EEOR is a very popular hike and rock climbing area, but I’ve still never seen it get so busy that there is no available parking. If there happens to be no parking there is a larger designating parking area for Goat Creek trail. From here you can walk to the trail start point.
Across the road from the parking area you’ll find a ribbon attached to the tree indicating the start of the trail.
Wildlife Awareness On East End Of Rundle (EEOR)
If you’re on any hikes in Kananaskis you should practice proper wildlife awareness. In the region, there are frequent sightings of black bears, grizzly bears, moose, coyotes, and cougars. They all a potential threat to humans and we should reduce our impact on their natural lives.
Before any hike or walk in Kananaskis Country, you need to have bear spray. Remember that the bear spray is worthless if it’s in your pack, you’ll need to be able to grab this in two seconds or less in an emergency. We wear our bear spray on our hip.
The likeliness of seeing wildlife on this trail is high. It is a heavily trafficked trail, but bear sightings have occurred. Always check the park websites for wildlife information (Parks Canada and AB Park), and then check again for notices at the trailhead.
When you’re on the trail make noise by banging hiking poles, talking, whistling, clapping, or singing. This is particularly important around blind bends and corners. You’re through the deep woods during these times, and it’s prime time to sneak up on a bear. Once you’re at the summit, you’re safer as you can see wildlife from afar, but still, don’t let your guard down and keep the bear spray on you just in case.
As always while hiking, you need to stay alert, travel in a group, mind children and pets, and finally carrying bear spray and knowing how to use it. If you’ve come to the park without bear spray Valhalla Pure Outfitters in town sells spray and holders with employees who will demonstrate how to use properly.
Besides bears, it’s common to see mountain goats on EEOR and then of course marmots. We saw lots and lots of cute marmots!
Things to do in Nearby Canmore
- Grab a bear (beer) at Grizzly Paw Brewing Pub: Our favorite post ski ritual is to check out the local brewery, something you can only find in North America. It doesn’t matter the season, but to end any day with a local beer in the stunning Rockies is the perfect day. The drink and food here are great and we loved their Grumpy Bear Honey Wheat and Rundlestone IPA. There are also seasonal draughts on offer, like gose, wheat, specialty IPA, and other guest brewers.
- SUP Paddle Boarding: There is no secret that Canada has some stunning lakes, more than any country in the world. Canmore has a wide selection of waterways itself and there are so many water activities that visitors can do in the area. One of those things that have made its way from the coast is stand up paddleboarding. Bow Valley Stand Up Paddleboarding has been operating in Canmore for the past five years and offers rentals, lessons, and sales.
- Grotto Canyon: An easy hike that’s good year-round is Grotto Canyon. Even in the winter, this famous canyon with rock art is possible to walk along the frozen creek. In the summertime, it’s popular for families seeking to enjoy the narrow slot canyon and climbers looking to scale its walls. At only 4km in length, you can check this one off the list in an hour or two.
- Indoor Rock Climbing at Elevation Place: Though rock climbing isn’t for the faint of heart, you don’t have to put your life at risk clinging to a sheer rock face thousands of feet up to experience it. That’s just what they had in mind when they created Elevation Place – the place to go in Canmore to see what the climbing hype is all about. It’s also a great place for expert level climbers to practice their moves.
What to Wear On the East End of Rundle (EEOR)?
Just because EEOR is a popular hike doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared. It’s still a tough climb up and proper clothes and shoes should be worn. Don’t attempt this one in sneakers – there is a lot of loose rock! Proper layering should be in effect as it’s often cold and windy at the summit!
The most basic principle of what to wear hiking is layering. Anyone that has spent time in wilderness or mountains can speak to the fact your temperature can fluctuate a lot on a hike. You can easily start off cool at the base of the mountain and get hot as soon as you begin moving before getting cold at the summit again.
The goal of hiking clothes is to regulate your body temperature, provide element protection, and manage moisture. Temperature management is best done through a layering system if you want to learn more about what to pack for a day hike or what to wear on a hike, you can see our full post!
Outdoor Research Ferossi Pant
The pants are really lightweight but similar to a softshell pant with great water resistant and windbreaking capabilities. With that in mind, it keeps you warm in cool weather, but the breathability of the pants keeps you cool in hot weather. They also have a lot of water resistance and are more comfortable than a pair of rain pants.
Outdoor Research Shirt Echo Series
I have six Outdoor Research Echo shirts and rotate them on all my hikes. They are lightweight and moisture wicking. Seriously, you don’t want to be stuck with a cotton shirt while hiking it traps all your sweat and then when you get cold it becomes a problem.
Outdoor Research shirts provide full coverage with their long sleeve collections, but you won’t get hot under the sun. These shirts are built with UPF sun protection, AirVent™ moisture management, and ActiveFresh™ odor control technology.
I ALWAYS have a down jacket with me on every single hike I go on. It’s a just in case jacket that I usually end up wearing when I reach the summit, and it gets cold. Down jackets pack up light and small so there is no reason NOT to have one in your bag. Seriously it could save your life in a bad situation. We wrote a whole post on our favorites (hint – Arc’Teryx Cerium LT Hooded Jacket, Patagonia Down Sweater, REI Coop Down Jacket)
We’re building up a collection of shell jackets. We always carry one in our pack and they’ve come in handy a number of times. They are lightweight, durable, packable, waterproof, and windproof. We have a bunch of different shell jackets after several years, but my favorite right now is from Arc’teryx. Any jacket can do the job, but the top-dollar ones will hold up and really help in inclement weather.
We both have a pair of Outdoor Research gloves in our hiking packs at all times. They are great for when you are scrambling and I always end up using them. I never want to come back with bloody hands and they protect against that.
We’ve learned to love our feet with a good pair of merino wool hiking socks. You will want to keep your feet nice and dry while you walk around. Most importantly wool socks stay fresh for several days as they have natural antimicrobial properties.
We travel with a couple pairs of the Darn Tough Merino socks and our feet have never felt cold or wet. As a bonus, they’re produced in Vermont!
If you’re not on a long hike a large multiple day hiking backpack may not be necessary. Expect to still carry several pounds of gear on your pack so it’s important to have a backpack that sits well on your back with good suspension. However, you don’t need a 50L+ backpack instead opt for a size around 35L that should be enough to carry all of your necessities.
We have a large number of hiking backpacks and they range in sizes. If you have plans for other short treks that may or may not have a porter you can go with a 50L that will lend more versatility without being so large its unnecessarily cumbersome on the trail.
We personally like to use between a 30-40L pack for most day hikes in the mountains as it allows for us to carry everything we could need. Major plus side is a large bag means we can bring things like a stove to make coffee or a hot meal for a nice rest. As far as our recommendation on smaller backpacks we love the Traverse from REI and the Exos/Tempest from Osprey.
While I like having a water bottle on my hikes I like having a bladder even more. A bladder keeps me drinking regularly since I never have to stop hiking and take out my bottle. It’s always readily available for when you need it.
You should consume at least two liters a water a day while hiking in the mountains, often this means you either carry two bottles of water. The better option for carrying that much water on your treks is to carry a water bladder. A water bladder additionally allows for you to carry extra water if needed.
Most hiking backpacks and even daypacks designed for hiking have a sleeve for carrying your extra water.
Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun since you’ll likely spend a lot of time hiking in the sun at elevation. There are a lot of options for sunglasses and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes. Sunglasses are particularly important if you plan to visit any glaciers or high alpine passes as sun reflection from the snow is damaging to your eyes.
We made our first investment in quality polarized sunglasses with a pair of SMITH Optics Lowdown 2. Truthfully, not everyone needs to invest $150 in a pair of sunglasses; however, we love ours and will never buy cheap ones again. Polarized glasses are great at enhancing vision in bright environments and removing glare from windshields and the water.
I always have a baseball cap in my bag in case the sun gets too intense. I’ve been out too many times without one and my forehead gets too toasty for my liking – even with sunscreen. A baseball cap protects against that and I highly recommend having one in your bag.
Unless I am hiking in leggings I need a belt to secure my pants. The newest one I just got is a Jelt Belt. Jelt is a women-owned social enterprise that produces belts made from 100% recycled plastic bottles with an innovative patented flat buckle that won’t show a bump under tops or tees. Both Cameron and I have a few of these bad boys and they are SO much better than regularly clunky belts.
If you have plans to take part in a long day or multi-day hikes a pair of hiking poles are a great way to save your knees and prevent injuries. If you’re on a full day of hiking in the mountains you’ll gain and descend a lot of elevation. So, it’s easy for your legs to get tired so a pair of hiking poles will pay off. Although I don’t always need hiking poles, they are always in my pack. I ended up using them while hiking the ridge and descending on this hike.
Black Diamond is a company dedicated to mountain sports and has worked hard to craft wonderful products. I personally use the Black Diamond FLZ Hiking Poles, but there are some other great poles out there produced by companies like REI and MSR. “Z” poles are fantastic as they’re lightweight and can be stashed inside a backpack should you not need them.
Peak Design Capture Clip
This is has been one of our favorite additions to our camera equipment and hiking outfit. The Peak Design capture clip allows for a camera to be clipped on to your backpack strap or belt.It has to be one of the best accessories we’ve ever used for carrying our camera.
The clip feels secure and robust with a straight forward design that makes switching straps easy. We’ve brought it on several hikes around the Canadian Rockies now and it has changed the way in which we photograph hikes. The access it provides to your camera is so much better than a camera strap that allows a camera to swing and banging into everything.
It’s super handy and a must for anyone who want to carry their camera on hikes, but not have to fumble around in their bag every time they want to take a photo.
Camera (We have the Fujifilm X-T3)
This beautiful and reasonably priced camera is both weather resistant and mirrorless. It is easily the best ASP-C camera on the market and gives a serious run at many of the full frame cameras. After all, is a full frame camera really a necessity? In my opinion, not at all! We love photography, posting to Instagram, and posting on this website so we always have a camera on us on any hike.
This is a non-negotiable item if you’re in bear country and in some parks, it’s actually required by law. Bear spray should be on your person and not in your pack. We each have a neoprene sleeve that holds our bear spay on our belt pocket. It’s easy to reach in case of emergency which the most important detail.
It’s a good idea to make noise while hiking in bear country whether that is singing, ringing a bell, clapping, or banging your hiking poles. Be wary of blind spots on your hikes such as tight bends and forested sections of the trail.
On any trip where we’ll spend time outside, almost every trip, a headlamp is on our packing list. I typically don’t plan on using it on a day hike, but it’s always there just in case.
We have several, but one of our new favorite is the Black Diamond Spot. It took several recommendations online before settling on this one because of its affordable price and durability. It delivers 325 lumens, costs $40, and will likely last a decade or longer sweet deal if you like to spend time outdoors.
Skin cancer is for real! Not having sun protection can lead to sunburn and in the long term skin cancer/skin aging. You will spend a lot of time outside and therefore under the sun. We highly recommend getting an eco friendly sun cream that does not contain harmful chemicals.
They’re mineral based and usually only cost a few dollars more to help protect our natural bodies of water. If you’re not going to swim just go with a reliable name brand — granted runoff often still ends in our oceans and lakes.
High Calorie Snack
Pack some high-calorie snacks for your hike on the trail. Popular options are energy gels, bars, or balls, jerky, nuts, or even a Snickers. Hiking at elevation can burn a lot of calories so it’s important to maintain your glucose levels.
It’s advised to eat as much as 200-300 calories per hour of exercise. If it’s a long day on the mountain you can always bring a packed lunch with a sandwich and high calorie like dried fruits. (I’m pretty much a kid and still love a peanut butter and jelly sandwich).
Speaking of a chill it’s a good idea to bring a small mat to sit on during breaks if you’re in the mountains. The stone and ground can often be much colder than the air so it conducts heat and will make you cold. A pad can serve a lot of purposes to like back rest, pillow, cooking surface, or a place to change your clothes. We had it on this hike and came in handy when we wanted to just relax and enjoy the view. They are light though so make sure they don’t blow away.
This is where preparation for spending a night out in the wilderness comes into effect. If you’re on a short loop around town it’s probably not necessary, but any significant hike in a national park or wilderness area presents the risk of spending the night outside. When temperatures drop at night it presents the very dangerous threat of hypothermia or frostbite.
Last Updated on