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Hike from Lake Moraine over Sentinel Pass to Lake Louise, Canada

Updated: Apr 29

Insider tip for a hike in Canada's most famous national park, Banff: From Lake Moraine over the Sentinel Pass to Lake Louise.

Lake Moraine Banff Canada Lake Mountains Hiker
Getting up early is worth it!

If you take the first shuttle bus (must be booked in advance on the Parcs Canada website ) to highlight number 1, Lake Moraine , you can still admire the beautiful turquoise-blue lake in relative peace.


View from Sentinel Pass, Banff Canada Hike Lake Moraine
From one highlight to the next

The hike from Lake Moraine over the Sentinel Pass to Lake Louise in Canada is full of highlights: The trail continues steeply up to the Sentinel Pass (highlight). The rock formations here are simply spectacular. But watch out for falling rocks. The rock is not very solid. By the time you descend into Paradise Valley, you have left the other hikers behind. This path is rarely used. Once you reach the valley, it is worth taking a detour to the Giant Steps waterfall , another highlight. Highlight Lake Annette awaits further down in Paradise Valley (of course a highlight). The hike ends at the famous highlight Lake Louise. From here you can take the shuttle bus back.


As I was hiking, an avalanche came loose from the cliff just before Lake Annette. Snow, rocks and water crashed into the valley with a loud roar, not far from me. You can watch the video here. My temper cooled down a bit afterward...


My tip: Be sure to reserve the shuttle bus to Lake Moraine early, as the road to the lake is closed to private vehicles.


Key facts about the hike from Lake Moraine over Sentinel Pass to Lake Louise, Canada

-Factor: ♡♡♡♡

Walking time : 8 hours

Altitude : 937 m up and 1,071 m down

Length : 22.2 km

Accessible by public transport? Yes with the shuttle bus from Lake Louise town

Getting there: It is not possible to get to Lake Moraine by private vehicle . Here you will find the link to the shuttle bus to Lake Moraine. The parking lots at Lake Louise fill up quickly. It is better to book a place on the shuttle bus.

GPS data: I have uploaded the GPS data for the hike to the Outdoor Active website

Starting point: Lake Moraine

End point: Lake Louise

Safety note: Canada is a bear country. In my blog post " Safe hiking and camping in bear country Canada " you will find tips on how to avoid the bear and how to behave if you do encounter him.

Equipment: I recommend hiking boots for this hike, as the descent is via a gravel gully. Hiking poles can also be helpful here. Rain gear, warm clothing and bear spray are a must in Canada.

Further information and links: On the Parcs Canada website you will find all the information you need about Banff and Lake Louise National Park.

ENTRANCE NATIONAL PARK

The national parks in Canada charge admission. Each day costs $10.50. If you want to stay longer or visit several national parks, the Parcs Canada Discovery Pass is worth it for $72.25, which is valid for one year in all Parcs Canada facilities.


Directions:

From the parking lot of Lake Moraine, it is worth taking a short detour to the lookout point on a small hill to the left of the parking lot. From here you have a beautiful view of the lake. Back to the parking lot, you walk a bit along the right bank of the lake before the well-signposted path branches off to the right towards Sentinel Pass. The path leads steadily uphill for two and a half kilometers. At the crossroads, continue right towards Sentinel Pass. After just under 4 km you reach Minnestima Lake. From here, the climb to the pass is clearly visible. It gets a little steeper for a short stretch. From the pass, you have a gigantic view of the rock formations on the other side of the valley. The descent initially leads steeply over large boulders into the valley. Be careful of falling rocks. In Paradise Valley, it is worth taking a detour to the Giant Steps - a waterfall that splashes down into the valley over huge rock steps. Back on the Paradise Valley Trail, you go down the valley to Lake Annette. From here, the path leads a little steeper downhill until it reaches Paradise Creek. The trail follows the stream down the valley to the right. There are three ways to get to Lake Louise: either you climb up Saddle Mountain to Lake Louise, or you follow the flatter trail at the end of the ridge to the left to the lake, or you hike down to Moraine Lake Road and wait there for a shuttle bus. If you take the last option, you should check in advance whether the bus stops on the road.


Click on the first picture to start the photo gallery:

INFO

All information on the Parks Canada website is available in English and French.


GETTING THERE

There are several scheduled flights from Germany to Vancouver or Calgary every day. An electronic travel document (eTa) is required to enter Canada.

Lake Moraine Louise shuttle Banff Parcs Canada

The easiest way to continue your journey is by rental car, e.g. via www.billiger-mietwagen.de


BEST TIME

The best time to hike in the Rocky Mountains is from early July to September. Depending on the altitude, however, you can expect snow even in summer.


LITERATURE

Canadian Rocky Mountains by Rother Verlag, edition 2023


ACCOMMODATION

The Lake Louise Campground by Parcs Canada is located in a young conifer forest. It's okay but doesn't offer great views. It still gets booked up quickly.

The small spot on Protection Mountain has better views. However, you can't make a reservation. It's first come, first served. It's open from June 20th to September 2nd. When I was there, there was still plenty of space.

We told other travelers that they found Silverhorn Creek Campground the nicest of all. For me it was fully booked. You can reserve it on the Parks Canada website. It is located 40 minutes from Lake Louise in the direction of Jasper.


MAPS

If you would like a detailed hiking map in addition to the Parks Canada maps, you can order a waterproof and tear-resistant hiking map for the region from Gem Trek or buy one locally.


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