My Failed Attempt at Summiting East End of Rundle (EEOR)

Hahaha I’m literally starting out this trail guide laughing because my attempt at East End of Rundle (EEOR) was such a flop. Normally my trail guides consist of victorious hiking stories filled with gorgeous mountain top photos. I’ve definitely got the photos – but not the victorious story to go along with them.

In this post I’ll tell you all about how I didn’t reach the EEOR summit, but I’ll also tell you everything you need to know in order to successfully summit East End of Rundle. To this day I still can’t believe I let Rundle get the best of me.

DON’T MISS my trail guide for Ha Ling & Miner’s Peak – the “sister hike” to EEOR.

Now, let’s go hiking!

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This post contains affiliate links; see my full disclosure. If you click these links and make a purchase you’re supporting The Holistic Backpacker. Thanks for your support & happy adventuring! – Taylor 


How to Get to East End of Rundle (EEOR) Trailhead

The East End of Rundle is located in Bow Valley Provincial Wildland Park, just outside of Canmore and about 30 minutes from Banff. There’s no shuttle to the East End of Rundle trailhead, so if you don’t have a car you’ll need to rent one to get there.

There’s very limited parking at the actual EEOR parking lot, so most people park at the Ha Ling trailhead (which I’ve marked on the map). This is only 1 minute down the road from the East End of Rundle trailhead.

Important – as of 2021 you need a conservation pass to hike in Kananaskis Country.

Whiteman's Pond & Ha Ling from East End of Rundle (EEOR)
Whiteman’s Pond and Ha Ling from East End of Rundle

Quick Story

EEOR was my first real hike in Banff. I remember the morning I set off for EEOR my friend from Brazil and I hopped in my other friend’s camper van; he also happened to be from New Zealand. We drove from Banff to Canmore, then up a mountain road inundated with mountain goats licking salt off the ground.

We then met up with some other people from Australia and the UK and started hiking straight up a massive mountain. My only thought was “pinch me I’m dreaming.”

This was an “omg I can’t believe this is my life” moment and pretty much also the moment I realized I would spend the rest of my life bumming it in the mountains and travelling the world to meet new people.

More: I lived in Banff, here’s how you can too!

About East End of Rundle (EEOR) Hike

  • Distance: 4.8km
  • Elevation gain: 832m
  • Rated: hard
  • Type of trail: out & back
  • Estimated time: 3hrs

Alternate Route – the EEOR traverse takes you from Rundle 8 (the East End of Rundle) to the true peak of Mount Rundle (peak 3). This is an intense scramble and should ONLY be attempted by very experienced hikers


The East End of Rundle is a challenging and steep hike. There are a few technical sections and a scramble toward the end that will definitely test your limits. For this reason it’s essential that you have proper hiking gear and sturdy hiking boots. I’ll talk about proper hiking gear and clothes for the Rocky Mountains next, but first I want to quickly go over appropriate footwear.

For scrambles you’ll want a boot that’s sturdy and provides ankle support. I have the Scarpa Kailash (men’s version) which I’ve used for 600km+ now in all types of terrain. They’re waterproof, they have excellent grip, and they stand the test of time. If you’re scrambling, this is the type of boot you want to ensure you feet stay protected and your ankles stay “untwisted.”

What You Can Expect

Initially, the East End of Rundle trail starts out in the trees with minimal views. Eventually the trail will turn rocky and may require some scrambling. After this you’ll have a short break in a meadow style area, then a steep ascent/scramble to the summit.

Oftentimes you may find snow/ice early or late in the season. If you plan to hike in these conditions make sure you bring micro-spikes and snowshoes if necessary.

A word on the descent – the decent can become quite confusing. Hikers oftentimes traverse too far right and end up on a different (and somehow even steeper) trail down. I’d recommend downloading the Alltrails map to ensure you stay on track and don’t get cliffed out.

East End of Rundle (EEOR)
Overlooking the Spray Valley from East End of Rundle
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Hiking East End of Rundle (EEOR)

Okay, oh boy. Now I’m reliving this nightmare of a hike – here we go.

The East End of Rundle trailhead is marked by two flagged power poles across from Whiteman’s Pond.

The EEOR trail goes straight up. Like not joking this hike is steep. I kept making excuses for the group to stop, saying lame stuff like I needed to “take my sweater off” or “put chapstick on.” Lies. It was more because I was f*ing dying. Like actually dying.

I had a bugger of a time adjusting to the altitude when I first moved to Banff AND I was totally not in the physical condition I needed to be in for hiking mountains; especially the East End of Rundle. I’m from Ontario, okay? The “steepest” thing I had access to before moving to Banff were the 2 stairs leading into my family room. Now you expect me to climb mountains!?

The Beginning

The trail initially follows switchbacks up a wooded area. The path is well worn and features downed trees from both human and goat use. For this reason it’s quite easy to follow, however keep an eye out for the odd piece of tape, painted rock, cairn, etc.

This part of the hike is a bit of a mixed bag which may require a few handholds here and there, but most hikers should be able to navigate this section with no problems.

The First Scramble

After the wooded area you’ll come to a quick and easy scramble.

The first scramble begins when you’re still in the tree line. The terrain becomes rocky and you need to boulder up a few sections. It’s nothing too challenging though and there’s a classic viewpoint overlooking Whiteman’s Pond & Ha Ling – you’ll definitely need to stop and take some photos here.

^I say it wasn’t “too challenging” – reality is at this point I was so light headed from the altitude I thought I was going to pass out/throw up and fall straight off the mountain. We had to stop and take a long break so I didn’t die.

Also for reference, the EEOR hike isn’t actually that bad. In reality it’s totally doable, but at the time I was not ready at ALL for what the mountains throw at you.

Whiteman's Pond & Ha Ling from East End of Rundle (EEOR)
Ha Ling & Whiteman’s Pond from East End of Rundle

After this point you’ll come out in a meadow-style field in which you’ll find the false summit. I hate to say I, but this was the furthest I made it. My hiking partners were freakin’ trail running I swear to god and my body legitimately gave up on me. I just could not move any further.

I hung out at the false summit with the nice boy/driver from New Zealand who literally saved my life and kept me company until the others were done successfully summiting the East End of Rundle.

False summit at East End of Rundle (EEOR)
Views from the East End of Rundle false summit

The Final Ascent

The final ascent is said to be the most challenging part of the EEOR. It’s a steep scramble where rockfall is common. Don’t be surprised if you find snow in this section until late in the season too – bring your micro-spikes!

I don’t want to lie and pretend I know everything about this section of the hike (because I don’t), so here’s a successful hiker’s experience completing the East End of Rundle Summit.

False summit at East End of Rundle (EEOR)
EEOR looking down the Spray Valley

I swear I’m actually a great hiker (now) and have lot’s of trail guides that are 100% complete – right to the end! You can find all my successful trail guides here.

Next I’ll go over essential gear and clothes for hiking in the Rockies and I’ll outline the best places to stay in Banff for every budget.


Explore More Hikes In Kananaskis

Kananaskis is an area just outside of Banff that’s made up of multiple Wildland Areas and Provincial Parks. Kananaskis is my favourite hiking destination in the Canadian Rockies, so I urge you to explore more hikes in the area!

Click here to explore more of Kananaskis.


Featured Kananaskis Hikes:
Explore Kananaskis Country by Area:
Visit National Parks Nearby:

Looking for more hikes? Click here to explore all of my trail guides.


Recommended Hiking Gear

The following items are some of my favourites – I never hit the trail without them!

PD Capture Clip

The Capture Clip by Peak Design is a sturdy, safe, and super convenient way to carry your camera while hiking or backpacking.

Find it on Amazon (CAD).

Find it on Peak Design (US).

Hydration Reservoir

A hydration reservoir is SO important. It holds 2L+ of water and keeps you hydrated on-trail. I use the 2L Hydrapak; it never leaks and has a detachable tube.

Day-pack

Things to look for in a good quality day-pack: sternum strap, hip belt (with pockets), and a breathable mesh system for your back. I use the Osprey Sirrus 24L pack (men’s version) and I LOVE it!


What To Wear Hiking in the Rockies

For a detailed guide on what to wear hiking in the Canadian Rockies, check out this post.

Choosing what to wear hiking can be confusing, but the secret to properly dressing for a hike is layering. You can mix and match the tops and bottoms you already own to make up your base layers, however in addition to those clothes you’ll need a few extra things:

Waterproof Jacket

A waterproof jacket is the most important layer for hiking – it keeps you warm and protects you from wind and rain. I use the Marmot Eco Precip Jacket (men’s version) which is totally a bang-for-your-buck. If rain is in the forecast, don’t forget to pack waterproof pants (men’s version) too.

Hiking Boots

A good pair of hiking boots are Gore-tex, provide ankle support, and are durable. I use the Scarpa Kailash boot (men’s version) and they’ve never let me down. You’ll also want a good quality pair of socks. I use Smartwool – they’re great quality and last an entire season.

Puffer Jacket

A puffer jacket acts as your warm layer. I use the hoodless Columbia Women’s Heavenly Jacket (men’s version). Alternatively you can use a fleece zip – I have this one (men’s version) from Columbia. Both of these options are perfect layers to keep you warm on windy, cold, or high elevation hikes.

Rocky Mountain hiking exposes you to different natural elements and conditions – it’s imperative that you’re prepared for whatever nature throws at you. Trust me, I’ve learned the hard way!

More: Day-hiking Gear Guide

More: What to Wear Hiking in the Canadian Rockies

Best Place to Stay in Canmore

The “best” place to stay in Canmore depends on your price range. So, here are some suggestions for every budget:

Booking.com
  • Cheap accommodations – if you’re visiting the Rockies, you can bet the cheapest option for accommodations in alwayssss camping. Here are a few popular camping spots in Canmore.
  • Mid-range accommodations – Canmore offers a slew of hotels, each coming in at a different price and each offering something a little different. I’d recommend utilizing Booking.com to compare said prices and amenities to determine which hotel best suits your needs. Some of the benefits of using Booking.com are their price match guarantee, free cancelation on almost all bookings, and clear pricing with no hidden fees.
  • Luxury accommodations – for the bougie traveller (can’t relate), a couple “quote on quote” fancy hotels in Canmore are the Peak by Samsara Resort and the Stoneridge Mountain Resort.
  • Accommodations nearby – another location offering accommodations close to Canmore is the famous Banff National Park. There are tons of hotels in Banff, the most notable being the castle in the sky (AKA the Fairmont Banff Springs).

Happy adventuring!

Taylor ♡


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About The Author


Hey! I’m Taylor – the voice behind The Holistic Backpacker.

After moving to Banff National Park in 2020 I became an outdoor adventure enthusiast and vowed to never stop exploring.

I’m now focused on travelling the world and seeing everything our beautiful home has to offer.

I created The Holistic Backpacker so I could share my adventures and help connect people like you with the same amazing experiences.

I am also an advocate for the environment and do as much as I can to take care of our planet.

Get to know me and my story more here 🙂

I can’t wait to share my adventures with you!

Keep Up With My Adventures!

Sign up for my newsletter and stay up-to-date with my latest adventures, gear guides, and eco-resources.

Taylor ♡