Larch Valley - Sentinel Pass Trail

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Distance:
12.9 km
Difficulty:
Moderate
Elev. gain:
720 meters
Time required:
2 - 4 hours
Bikes permitted:
No
Dogs permitted:
Yes

Directions to trail head

At the intersection of Highway #1 (Trans Canada) and Highway #1A exit the Trans Canada and turn west (left if you are coming from Banff). Drive approximately 1 kilometer towards the Chateau Lake Louise and turn left onto the Morraine Lake Road. Drive 14 kilometers down Morraine Lake Road and park in the large parking lot at the end of the road.

Hazards on trail

Grizzly Bears. Signs posted in the area indicate that you have to have 4+ people in a group to hike in this area. This is a change from a couple of years ago when 6+ was required.

Hike Description

The hike starts at Morraine Lake and follows the lake shore for a short distance. The trail is well marked with two intersections. At both keep to the right. The trail climbs through the forest along a series of switchbacks. At points you will see Morraine Lake below. After climbing 360 meters in elevation and walking 2.6 kilometers you will enter Larch Valley. In the fall, the needles of the Larches, a deciduous conifer, turn gold and then fall off the trees. The window to enjoy them is only two or three weeks long in the fall. The picture below shows the larches in various stages of colour change with some of the ten peaks (that appeared on the back of the old $20 bill) behind them.



From Larch Valley, Sentinal Pass is an additional 2.5 kilometers and a further elevation gain of approximately 360 meters. You will cross Larch Valley and as you approach Sentinel Pass you will be surrounded by Eiffel Peak and Pinnacle Mountain to the left and Mount Temple on your right. At the top of Sentinal Pass you will be looking over Paradise Valley. The views over Paradise Valley are awesome.



It is possible to walk down the backside of Sentinel and pick up the Paradise Valley trail. You will want to have a vehicle stashed at the Paradise Creek parking area if you are going to try hiking down the backside of Sentinel and out.



Hike Photos

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