Banff & Kootenay Mountain Parks Hiking Tour
(includes all lodging, all meals, park entrance fees, van shuttles between Calgary and Lake Louise, leaders, trail maps & narratives)
In so many ways, Lake Louise symbolizes the magic of the Canadian Rockies. The lake itself, the backdrop of Victoria Glacier, towering Temple Mountain and its glacial cap, the proximity of stunning Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks< Lake Louise, at the very least, is the portal through which we enter a true alpine fantasyland.
And so, Lake Louise was the obvious choice as the focal point for a Canadian Rocky Mountain hiking trip. We'll gather in Lake Louise early-afternoon of Day 1 (we'll provide a van shuttle from the Calgary airport early-morning) in time to hike leisurely along and above the lake to Agnes' Teahouse before dinner. We'll spend our first of two overnights at the Deer Lodge in Lake Louise.
On day 2, we'll shuttle the short distance to Moraine Lake and trek through the flowering meadows of beautiful Larch Valley, surrounded by the spectacular spires of the Ten Peaks that hover above the valley, to the awesome switchbacks leading to majestic Sentinel Pass. The views from Sentinel's summit are incredible; the expanse of the awesome Paradise Valley unfolds before us to the north while the snowclad summits of the Ten Peaks fills the southern horizon. We'll return to Larch Valley for a visit to nearby Eiffel Lake along a trail that perhaps offers the most spectacular views of Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks (12 miles).
We'll depart Lake Louise early morning of day 3 to begin a 3-day backcountry adventure you won't soon forget. We'll van shuttle to the Vista Lake Trailhead at the summit of Vermillion Pass near the Continental Divide and descend immediately to Vista Lake. As you may have guessed, we'll then climb to beautiful Arnica Lake, whose shores are ablaze with the abundant blooms for which the Lake is named. Our trail leads to the picturesque Twin Lakes and then climbs to the tundra at timberline astride Gibbons Pass. A rapid descent and we're at magnificent Shadow Lake, a backcountry jewel in the heart of Banff National Park, and our home for the next two nights (9 miles).
Painful though it may sound, an incredible reward awaits those hardy souls willing to leave the delicious warmth of down-quilted beds at sunrise and hike the 1/2-mile to Shadow Lake. As the sun rises and illuminates the crown of rugged Ball Mountain, its reflection in the glassy, still waters of Shadow Lake is a photographer's fantasy.
We’ll return to the lodge for the usual hearty breakfast that is a Shadow Lake tradition, pack lunches from a sumptuous spread, and then hike from the Lodge beyond Shadow Lake to beautiful Haiduk Lake, nestled at the base of Whistling Pass (10 miles).
On Day 5, following another incredible Shadow Lake breakfast, we’ll hike leisurely along Redearth Creek in a long descent into the Bow River Valley (9 miles). Enroute to our final overnight destination at the remarkable Storm Mountain Lodge, we’ll pause at Johnston Canyon and hike along the falls that tumble through this narrow chasm (2 miles).
Among those of our guests who are veterans of many of our prior hiking trips, Storm Mountain Lodge, perched majestically at the Continental Divide at Vermillion Pass, is a perennial favorite. We’ll try our best to pry you out of there in the morning for a final hike into the Stanley Glacier Basin and a close-up view of Stanley Glacier prior to our return to Calgary (5 miles) where our Banff and Kootenay Mountain Parks Hiking Tour concludes.
|Day 1||Group assembles in Lake Louise, hike to Agnes Teahouse; overnight at Paradise Lodge||3 miles|
|Day 2||Moraine Lake - Larch Valley - Sentinel Pass - Eifel Lake; overnight at Paradise Lodge||10 miles|
|Day 3||Vista Lake - Arnica Lake - Gibbons Pass - Shadow Lake; overnight at Shadow Lake Lodge||9 miles|
|Day 4||Haiduk Lake; overnight at Shadow Lake Lodge||11 miles|
|Day 5||Red Earth Creek; overnight at Storm Mountain Lodge||7 miles|
|Day 6||Stanley Glacier Basin||6 miles|
Total Hiking Mileage - 46 miles