Banff, first settled in the nineteenth century during the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, is home to more than 1,100 miles of trails and some of the best hiking adventures to have here. The Banff Highline Trail, which runs through Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, offers hikers an unforgettable hiking adventure. 

Filled with rocky terrain and stunning beauty, you’ll be taken through paths that open to shining turquoise lakes, lush forests, and meadows. The trails differing elevations also ensure you’ll encounter flowers, fauna, and vegetation of various kinds, from shrubs and berries in the woods to moss in the alpine region. The trail is 100 kilometers (62 miles), and it’ll take you approximately a week or maybe less, depending on your experience. 

Read on to learn more about the different sections of the trail and what you’ll need.

Route Overview of Banff Highline Trail

Sunshine Village to Egypt Lake

Egypt Lake

Image By David & Cayleigh

Some decide to start their journey at Sunshine Village, at an elevation of more than 7,000 feet. It’s a popular ski resort that is located about 20 minutes from the town of Banff. Travel through some lovely meadows before reaching Healy Pass. You’ll end the first part of your journey at Egypt Lake Valley and the campground. This section runs approximately 23 km. There, you can swim or fish and rest. 

You can get to Egypt Lake through other access points; however, according to many, Sunshine Village is the shortest route and not to mention one of the most popular ways to get there.

Egypt Lake to Ball Pass Junction (28km)

Egypt Lake to Ball Pass Junction

Image By David & Cayleigh

After leaving Egypt Lake, you’ll emerge from the forest to the sprawling Alpine meadows and head up Whistling Pass to an elevation of 8,000 feet. Whistling Pass got its name from the marmots who whistle when they think there’s a threat. They are cute, harmless creatures who’ll check you out from afar. 

Continue on to Scarab Lake, a shimmering lake surrounded by mountains. The trail will take you to the Ball Pass Junction Campgroup after passing Haiduk Creek Valley. 

This second part of the hike is challenging because there are a lot of steep climbs. It spans about 28km (17 miles). 

Ball Bass Junction to Lake Louise (49km)

Lake Louise Columbia Glacier Alberta Canada Banff

Image by Britannica

This is the last part of the trek. You’ll head up to Ball Pass and descend into the Ten Peaks Valley. You will pass two iconic lakes, Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, two of Canada’s most iconic and visited lakes.

The trail ends at the village near Lake Louise, where you can finally rest. It’s a tiny village, but you’ll find a visitor information center, a grocery, and a bakery. It’s a well-known and popular area because of its hiking and skiing options.

 Don’t forget to take pictures and celebrate the journey you’ve made.

Plan Your Trip for Banff Highline Trail

A few things you’ll need to remember while planning your trip are discussed below. Being prepared is essential because you don’t want to forget your permits or other vital items, you’ll need to sustain you through the journey.

Experience

You don’t need any prior hiking experience for this trip, but some might help. After all, you’ll carry heavy backpacks (16kgs) for six hours. You must be in good shape to carry this weight over hilly terrains. And because the hike spans a few days, ensure you’re not pushing it. Get enough rest to avoid injury. But if you find yourself being challenged, consider it adding to an absolutely inspiring experience.

Time to Hike

The best time to hike the trail is from June to September, when daytime temperatures range from 15 to 25 degrees Celsius. However, the weather conditions can change, so be sure you are prepared for chilly temperatures, especially at night when it can get cold. Although it’s summer, rain can happen at any time. So be sure you have your rain gear with you. 

Supplies and Permits for Banff Highline Trail

Make sure you list everything you’re going to take with you, and check all the supplies you’ll need. You’ll need to bring essential items like rain gear, hiking boots, wool socks, a sleeping bag and tent, water bottles and sunglasses, and the essentials you’ll need in an emergency (first aid kits, battery packs, etc.). 

This is very important as there are no points along the way where you can restock. You must ensure you have enough food and water for your hike. 

Last but not least, have to obtain a permit for overnight stays. You can get a permit through the Parks Canada Reservation System online. Guidebooks and maps are available at the Banff Visitor Center.

Accommodations

And if you’re looking for accommodations, several campgrounds are along the way. But you must reserve these through the Parks Canada Reservation System before your trip. You can visit their website to look at the accommodations and things to do around the area if you want to make a reservation. 

Some Tips to Follow for a Safe Hike

Be prepared for encounters with wildlife. If you are going in the summer, some berries attract the bears. Make sure you have bear spray with you and know how to use it. Store your food carefully so you don’t attract their attention.

And make sure you minimize the environmental impact by throwing out your trash and packing everything you take out. Don’t leave your items behind. It’s essential to keep the trail pristine. Also, don’t stomp on or eat the vegetation in the area. Some berries can be poisonous. And stay on the track. You don’t want to get lost.  

Final Thoughts on Banff Highline Trail

The Banff Highline Trail offers hikers a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You’re sure to be in awe of the beautiful landscape and wildlife you’ll encounter along the way. Just be sure you plan everything ahead of time and follow the tips in this article. It will ensure your safety. And don’t forget to bring a camera. You are sure to take many pictures on this incredible adventure.

Resources

https://www.banfflakelouise.com/town-village

https://parks.canada.ca/pn-np/ab/banff/activ

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