Helen Lake is much smaller than you expect, and its clear waters lack the turquoise colour you come to expect from glacially fed lakes in the area. (We came late in season and the water level was much lower than normal.) The lake is at Kilometre 6.0 of the nine-kilometre trail to Dolomite Pass, which begins across from Crowfoot Glacier.
The trail is a delight: after a steep climb through forest, with occasional good views of Crowfoot Glacier behind you, you round the southern shoulder of Cirque Peak and suddenly find yourself in a marvellous open valley filled with alpine meadow. Surrounding the meadows are spectacular rock formations on either side, with Cirque Peak's southern ridge to the west and the crags of Dolomite Peak to the east. Close to the lake, if you look south on a clear day, just to the left of Bow Peak, you can make out Mount Assiniboine, a hundred kilometres away; you can barely make it out in one of these photographs. A magical place.