Backpack Mount Assiniboine: Sunshine Village to Mount Shark
Canada › Sunshine Village
Added by Talia Touboul
Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park is considered one of the most fantastic hiking areas of Alberta and British Colombia. This 3-6 day trek provides you with ample opportunities to soak it all in.
This trek specifically covers the distance from Sunshine Village to Mount Shark. You will need a car at Mt. Shark, as there are no shuttles from that location to Canomre or any local areas. Otherwise, you can try to hitch a ride back – your best bet is to talk with some locals or visit the Canmore visitors' center.
Day 1: Sunshine to Porcupine Campground (13.6 km, 8.5 mi)
Start at Sunshine Village parking lot and take the shuttle up to Sunshine Village ski area. The shuttle is $15 per person. You can also choose to hike up (total 5 km, 3 mi). Make your way to the Great Divide, and pass over the invisible line to British Colombia from which point you can see the peak of Mt. Assiniboine. From Sunshine to Citadel Pass is 1.3 km (0.8 mi).
Stay on Citadel Pass for 8 km (5 mi), which crosses Howard Douglas Lake in around 4.5 km (2.8 mi). When you come to Citadel Peak, follow the marker to the Porcupine campground, another 4.3 km (3.7 mi). For those willing to make it to Og Lake in one day, the total distance from Sunshine to the Og Lake campground is 22 km (13.7 mi). Porcupine campground is free and on a first come first serve basis. No reservations are possible. There are bear boxes available to campers.
Day 2: Porcupine to Og Lake (9.3 km, 5.8 mi)
Although day 2 covers a shorter distance, this is considered one of the harder days. There is absolutely no water by about 1.5 km (0.9 mi) in. The last place you can fill up is a small lake about 1 km (0.6 mi) in from Porcupine campground. The last 5.7 km (3.5 mi) to get to Og Lake Pass through the Valley of the Rocks, which can get very hot during the summer. Make sure you have enough water. When you see the peak of Mount Assiniboine coming out of Rock Valley, you are almost there.
You can also choose to continue on to Magog Lake, an extra 7 km (4.4 mi) from Og Lake. Og Lake and Magog Lake have a $10 fee, and both have bear boxes and bear hangs. No reservations are possible – these camps are on a first come first serve basis. Don’t miss out on a swim in the crystal clear water, even though it may be cold. It is well worth the refreshment.
Day 3: Og Lake to Bryan Creek (20.5 km, 12.7 mi)
The 7 km (4.4 mi) to Magog are fast and easy. Spend a day at the Mount Assiniboine Lodge, or take a swim in the cold yet stunning lake. From here, you have access to many passes and day hikes. Check out this adventure for different Mt. Assiniboine options.
From Magog Lake to Bryan Creek you have two options:
Option 1 (recommended)
Wonder Pass is an incredible 13 km (8 mi) hike down into the valley of Marvel Lake, which gives you stunning views of Lake Gloria and Marvel. This pass brings you yet again through the great divide and down into serious bear country. Please make sure you take necessary wildlife precautions, including bear spray. This hike is well named and is highly recommended. It is quite steep, however. Take an extra hour to trek the 1.2 km (0.7 mi) loop to the viewpoint, where you’ll have beautiful views of waterfalls, Lake Gloria and Marvel Peak.
Option 2: Assiniboine Pass to Bryan Creek Trail
This option is recommended when coming in from Mt. Shark. It is not as steep or difficult, but has fewer views and sightseeing point.
Once at Bryan Creek, you have the option of Br. 14 or Br. 13 as campgrounds.
Day 4: Bryan Creek to Mt. Shark (13.5 km, 8.4 mi)
The last 13.5 km (8.4 mi) of your journey will be the easiest ones yet. Take the time to enjoy the shade of the trees, and look out for bear, elk and moose.
- Bear spray
- Hiking boots
- Water filter
- Camping gear
- Sleeping bag
- Bug spray
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Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Photography, Swimming
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ReviewsLeave a Review
This was such an amazing trip! We went mid August and only had a little rain the first day but nothing too bad. Night one we had planned to stay at Porcupine but after getting a recommendation from some other hikers , we went a little bit further and stayed at Police meadows shelter. This was perfect because it had been raining and this gave us a dry place to sleep. The surrounding views are awesome and I'd highly recommend staying here. Night two and three we stayed at Lake Magog. Climbed Nub Peak on our layover day. We then hiked wonder pass to Marvel lake. Day five we hiked out to Mt Shark where we were able to catch a ride with some friends we had made on the trail. I had arranged a cab to be there ahead of time since you won't have cell service at Mt Shark but was able to pass it off to some other hikers since we caught a free ride with some other hikers. I will definitely be going back to the Canadian Rockies!
Mountains, lakes, & bears!
Easily one of the most incredible backpacking trips of my life. If you're going in September like I did be careful of early snow storms, I had over a foot of snow in 1 day that made the 18-mile hike out a long day. I also wouldn't advise going solo like I did either, I encountered 3 adult grizzlies at once on the trail near Citadel Pass. It was a bad food year and they were not happy to see me. I was false charged but luckily didn't have to use my bear spray. Signs at Mt. Shark TH recommend groups of 4 or more.
A must-do backpacking trip
You can make this as short as 4 days or as long as 10. If you are considering it, it's one of those trips you will not forget. The stunning views, lakes, wildlife and mountains will leave you with stories for years to come.
All round awesome!
This is such a great backpacking trip if you're looking to experience the beauty of Alberta and British Columbia! Just the right distance for a long weekend, a good amount of elevation and stunning views the whole way, don't forget your camera!
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