This seven-day trip travels through the heart of Banff National Park and continues on to Assiniboine Provincial Park, traversing through the continental divide. It is a majestic trip with abundant alpine passes, wildflower filled meadows, lakes and wildlife. We’ll start on the west and travel eastward, keeping the majestic Mount Assiniboine in view. This is a one-way trip so we will arrange for a shuttle to both the starting and finishing trailheads.
This trip is rated as challenging. We will have two resupply points enroute so our packs won’t be too heavy with food, but we’ll be challenged by the length of the distances traveled each day and by the many days of hiking. Each person will be carrying a share of the group equipment and food, with pack weights up to 45 lbs, depending on how lightweight you can pack. You will need to be fit enough to carry a backpack for multiple days in mountainous terrain.
We will be staying in lightweight backpacking tents and in established national and provincial park backcountry campgrounds. Each campsite is equipped with outhouses and food storage facilities. You are responsible for supplying your own tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad, however, we will arrange for rentals on your behalf if you require, extra charge will apply.
Meals will be lightweight backpacking dried food, although we will have some fresh food earlier in the trip and at our two resupply points. Each day will consist of three nutritious and tasty meals and some snacks to keep us fueled throughout the day.
Meet in Canmore the evening before the trip start date to sign waivers, discuss the logistics and to ensure everybody has appropriate equipment for the trip.
On day one, we drive to the Vista Arnica Lake trailhead on Hwy 93S, about 1 hour from Canmore. From there our day will be filled with an abundance of beautiful lakes as we visit Arnica and Twin Lakes, and then continuing up to Gibbon Pass where we get our first glimpse of Mt Assiniboine. From there we descend to our camp at Shadow Lake. The distance is 14 km, elevation at 1,100 meters up, 300 meters down.
Day two will see us leave from Shadow Lake and travel with Mount Ball in our view, through the Whistling Valley and up to Whistling Pass. From there we will drop down to our camp for the night at Egypt Lake. The distance is 14 km with an elevation of 480 meters up, 300 meters down.
After breakfast on day three, we’ll leave Egypt Lake and head towards Healy Pass. Today is a day filled with alpine meadows and wildflowers galore, as we travel through Sunshine meadows and then along Quartz Hill and to our campsite at Howard Douglas Lake. The distance is 19 km, elevation of 630 meters up, 350 meters down.
Day four is another incredible day as we wind our way over Citadel Pass and through the Golden Valley to our campsite at Og Lake. The distance is 16.5 km with an elevation of 400 meters up, 600 meters down.
On day five, we have only a short distance to cover, so we can either have a little sleep in and a leisurely breakfast, or get an early start and have some relaxing and exploring time once we reach Magog Lake. Here we’ll marvel at the high peak of Mount Assiniboine towering above us. The distance is 7 km and elevation of 120 meters up.
We have a few options on day six. There are several options for day hikes and exploration in the Assiniboine area or you can take a well deserved rest day to gain some energy for the final day.
On our final day, we will travel the furthest that we have yet. We’ll head up and over Wonder Pass, past the Towers and down to Marvel Lake. From the end of the lake we’ll meet up with the Bryant Creek trail and head down valley to the Mt Shark trails and the parking lot. The distance is 26 km with an elevation of 280 meters up, 700 meters down.