• Activities:

    Camping, Fishing, Running, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    18.7 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    3822.2 Feet

Forest
Lake
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Backpack along quiet trails and through alpine meadows, even on busier parts of the summer in Banff National Park. Enjoy non-glacial fed lakes, great for swimming later in the summer and lakes stocked with fish if you brought your pole. 

The Mosquito creek trailhead is on the east side of the Icefield parkway road just across from the Mosquito Creek Hostel. You park in front of the hostel, and hop across the road to begin the trek.

The trail winds up the Mosquito Valley, occasionally popping into a clearing where you get good views of the river and Noseeum Mountain. 

Around 4km you come across the first campground. This is a perfect stop for kids as it a lovely site where two rivers meet, and the distance is perfect. There are tables and outhouses. 

Continuing across the bridge you start to gain elevation gently. Increasingly the trees drop away, and the views get better. At 6.5 km you come to a fork. Take the eastern fork, heading for Fish Lake. The gradient steepens as you progress into a spectacular alpine meadow. In early summer once the snows are gone the flowers are overwhelming. There is a marshy lake around 8km that offers warm, but muddy swimming. 

The steepest section is up here as you work your way up the trail through boulders, gargoyle shaped rocks and scree up to a col between two sub peaks. The sub-peaks make for a straightforward scramble if you take the ENE ridge. 

It's all downhill from here as you make your way down towards fish lake. The views and meadows remain exhilarating with Marmots and Pika to keep you company. 

Pack List

The normal backpacking gear is required for this trip. Keep things lightweight as you have uphill both there and back. 

  • Banff Backcountry Map
  • Solid hiking boots
  • A layering system (Base, Mid, Shell, Warm)
  • Fitted, 50-65L backpack
  • Lightweight tent
  • Sleeping bag and mat
  • Stove, pots, bowls, utensils, cups
  • Lunches x2, Snacks, Dinner, Breakfast, warm drinks. 
  • Bear Spray
  • The "Five Essentials" ( https://www.theoutbound.com/ta...)
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Tam McTavish

Long time outdoor industry worker, based in Vancouver, BC. Certified gear nerd, just trying to legitimize my addiction by actually taking stuff outside. On foot, skis, crampons, nylon, wheels, ropes or water, as long as I'm in topography I'm happy.

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