Birding · Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Gentle trail. Good for beginner to moderate backpackers.
A Banff area classic that leads through beautiful larch meadows and provides sweeping views of the Rocky Mountains. Also offers views down into Egypt Lake and its valley, and you can continue past Healy Pass towards Egypt Lake, which makes for a great campsite and basecamp for a multi-night backpacking trip.
The hike begins at the Sunshine Ski Area a short distance West of Banff. The first 1-1.5 km of the trail are on a packed gravel road, but you then drop down to the north and into the Healy Creek valley onto the trail proper. The trail is well-graded the whole way and winds it's way along the creek valley, steadily gaining 300-400 m of elevation for the first 6-7 km while in the forest.
Eventually you break into the larch meadows where the larches are stunning in the fall and the views begin to open up. From the first bit of the meadows, you the continue west for approximately 1.5 km and gain another few hundred meters of elevation before you reach Healy Pass with truly breath-taking views of the Rocky Mountains. Continuing past the pass will lead you to Egypt Lake, with the basin and valley around it providing endless backpacking/hiking opportunities.
Flora & Fauna
One of the major highlights of this trail is the larch meadows for the last few km before the pass. The larches turn a beautiful golden yellow in the fall (late September to mid October) before they drop their needles. Plenty of wildflowers in spring and summer, and wildlife could include: grey jays, bears, chickadees, bighorn sheep, and many more.
Shared By: Tony Redford