Ha Ling Peak is a short but steep hike switchbacks through the forest before leaving the tree line to a full exposure section with epic views down the Spray Lakes valley. Make it right to the peak, and you will have 360-degree views over Canmore as well. If you are looking for a short, early season hike, this is a great option.
To get to the trailhead, drive through Canmore past the Nordic Centre and up the gravel Smith-Dorrien Trail. Drive 5km until arriving at the Goat Creek Day Use Area, and look for the trail across the road. Head up the gravel service road and cross the bridge over the stream, the trail is marked by the boulder with a small plaque.
The trail will begin in the forest, and then switch back repeatedly, gaining steady elevation. There are a few quick glances at mountain views, throughout the forest and the coverage is nice while it lasts. There are lots of exposed roots and rock, so watch your step.
Eventually, you will pass the tree-line into a fully exposed area of spree that continues up the backside of the mountain, with fantastic views down the valley. The higher you climb, the better the views will get. Watch your footing on the loose rock, but there is no need to scramble here. Make sure you pack sunscreen because it will be 100% exposure from here till the top.
Follow the path all the way to the peak for an amazing panoramic view. Just be very careful at the top, so you don’t fall down the 600-meter drop off the mountain. Also be cautious not to knock rocks over the edge, as rock climbers frequently climb the front of the cliff. Have lunch here and enjoy the views. If it’s a clear day, it’s incredible how far you can see, and if you are lucky, you may also see mountain goats grazing in the alpine meadows. The return is the same way back down, but much faster to descend.