Sentinel Pass Trail
In the Valley of Ten Peaks
Banff National Park-Alberta, Canada
Hiking Sentinel Pass Trail
Hiking Sentinel Pass Trail will get you the best views of the famous Valley of Ten Peaks that surrounds the picturesque and equally famous Moraine Lake which is near the most famous Lake Louise and Lake Louise Village in Banff National Park, Alberta Canada. That’s a lot of fame!
All ten peaks are over 10,000 feet high. They line up next to each other to create a massive mountain presence. The Wenkchemna glacier glistens below.
Spectacular views of the Ten Peaks are also obtained by hiking the shorter distance into Larch Valley and Minnestimma Lakes. Many hikers return from this point. The Larch Valley can be splendid with seasonal wildflowers, waterfalls, and of course Larch trees that turn golden yellow in the fall.
So, although there are many spectacular hiking trails near Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, this is one of our favorites.
Important Trail Information
The hike to Sentinel Pass is 7 miles (11.6 km) round trip. The elevation gain is 2378 ft (725 m)-Rated Difficult
The shorter hike to Larch Valley & Minnestimma Lakes is 5 miles (8.6 km) round trip with an elevation gain of 1755 ft (535 m)-Rated Moderate
Due to a high grizzly bear presence, this trail usually has a hiking restriction between July 15 through Thanksgiving. Hikers must trek together in minimum groups of four. There are rangers at the trailhead to enforce the restriction when it is in place. So, plan to team up if you come with less in your group. The restriction can be enacted at any time based on decisions made by Parks Canada about grizzly bear activity.
Directions to Sentinel Pass Trailhead
From Lake Louise Village, follow Lake Louise Dr for about 2 km before you get to the turn off for Moraine Lake Rd. Drive for 12 km to the parking area for Lake Moraine. Sometimes, the parking area is very full, so plan on walking an extra distance just to get to the trailhead
The first 1.2 miles (2 km) is a steady ascent through thick forest.
There are glimpses of the beautiful Moraine Lake and the Ten Peaks, but they are few.
Switchbacks, one after another finally bring you to a junction of marked trails.
Left goes to Wenkchemna Peak
There are more switchbacks above this junction before reaching the beginning of Larch Valley.
Make Larch Valley your destination for the day if you wish.
There is plenty to do wandering about the valley. It is about a mile long.
There are waterfalls, lakes, and of course a splendid variety of views of The Ten Peaks.
This is certainly a photography hot spot!
What more can you see if you make the effort to hike to Sentinel Pass?
The view back down isn’t too bad either!
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