Hike to Sentinel Pass

Larch Valley Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Brenda Lin

Hiking to Sentinel Pass is a 10.5 mile one-way shuttle hike (16.5 miles RT without shuttle). Enjoy panoramic views of craggy peaks, glacial lakes and valleys

This popular hike starts out by the one the most iconic lakes in Banff National Park, Moraine Lake. Though the trail from Larch Valley attracts herds of tourists, this is a majestic hike you don’t want to miss.

Before your hike, contact the park office at Moraine Lake about possible hiking restrictions due to bears. For your safety, as well as that of the bears, please obey these restrictions. It is also highly advised that you carry bear spray as an added precaution.

Start your hike at the Larch Valley trailhead past the Moraine Lake lodge. The wide well maintained path switchbacks as it ascends moderately through forest. The ascent gradually flattens to a gentle grade and soon you arrive in the open meadow of Larch Valley at 2.2 miles. The striking, distinct Ten Peaks that loom over Moraine Lake now come into full view. To feel the full impact of this glorious scene, continue up the tight switchbacks on open talus slopes cresting Sentinel Pass at 3.6 miles. From unusual rock spires to which the pass gets is name, to the craggy peaks and the valley below, the views down both sides of the pass are just too incredible for words.

North of the pass, a trail descends into Paradise Valley. Pay attention to your footing as it is a rocky descent with boulders strewn about. Continue northeast onto the Paradise Valley Trail where it meanders through forest and crosses small streams. En route to the trail head you will pass the splendid Lake Annette at 6.8 miles. From the lake it is a heavily forested 3.7 mile descent to the Paradise Valley trail head and parking area.

Finally, catch a ride for the six miles back to Moraine Lake. I highly advise to stick around for sunset at the lake. It is the most stupendous view you will ever witness and a fitting end to an ever glorious day.

Distance

10.5 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

2381 ft Gain

Type

Point-to-Point

Activities

Hiking

Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Wildlife

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Alex Thomas

almost 2 years ago

Unbelievable

We are from Seattle and Sentinel Pass was our first hike in Banff. Trail starts with steep switchbacks, which eventually level off, leading to mountain meadows. After the mountain meadows you will hit the upper Alpine Lake which was still mostly frozen over. The view from here shows you the daunting Sentinel Pass switchback route. Highly encourage making it to the top of the lass, as views are stunning looking in both directions. The opposite direction we heard constant thunderous avalanches. Very cool. No micro spikes needed, though they would have been helpful near the top. Hiking poles also not needed, but would have been helpful.

Canada's Wild Is Calling!

You don't have to go far to feel a million miles away. Banff and Lake Louise are a short flight from anywhere in North America. And once you’re here, you’ll see why this perfect combination of raw wilderness and pure luxury is truly special. Located in Canada’s first National Park, it’s home to Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise and Mt. Norquay, the three world-class ski resorts included in your SkiBig3 ticket.

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