This page outlines the approach to the Three Sisters from the Hartley Lake side of Heiko’s Trail and the hike to the summit. This is virtually the only approach used to summit the Three Sisters as a day outing. To attempt the summit of the Three Sisters as a day hike from Island Lake would be a prohibitively long day for most people. Eventually, my goal is to update this page to include a history of the creation of Heiko’s Trail and to detail the full length of the hike for those wishing to do a multiday traverse of the hike with a diversion up to the summit of the Three Sisters along the way.
The route up the Three Sisters is a straightforward hike. Although the slope gets steep near the summit, you will never need to use your hands more than once or twice. Wet or snowy conditions would make the rock slippery. An ice axe may be needed for an early season attempt. Expect to take from 3-5 hours to get to the summit. It is 6.4 km (4 miles) to get to the saddle from the trailhead and I would estimate another 1 to 1.5 km to get to the summit. In total, there is 1370 m (4500 ft.) of elevation gain from trailhead to summit.
The area around Heiko’s Trail is home to both black and grizzly bears. Please be sure to make a lot of noise as you hike in order to avoid a surprise encounter.
Topo Map: Fernie 82G/11
Cranbrook Forest District Recreation Map #23
Hartley Lake Road Trailhead
See the “Getting There” section of the main page
for information on getting to the trailhead.
Unless there is snow on the ground, the entire route to the summit of the Three Sisters is quite obvious and easy to follow. Follow Heiko’s Trail for 6.4 km (4 miles) to a saddle
just west of the Three Sisters. Along the way, you will pass a waterfall, the impressive Bisaro Cave, Bisaro Canyon, and hike through beautiful meadows.
Google Earth Map of Heiko's Trail Showing the Saddle
After reaching the saddle, follow the trail leading you up the mountain as opposed to continuing on Heiko’s Trail. You will be hiking counterclockwise around the mountain. Eventually, the trail will meet up with and hug the ridge leading up to the summit and then veer right as you near the top. Again, the top is quite steep, but should only pose a problem if the rock were to be wet or if there were lingering snow patches.
A large transmitter and incredible views in every direction will greet you at the top. Return the same way on your descent.
Standard day hike gear
Proper hiking footwear
Ice Axe - May be useful on an early season attempt if there were lingering snow patches.