Larch hikes are a staple for outdoor enthusiasts in Alberta every fall, and one in Banff National Park has tons of views without a massive amount of people, too.
So get ready to add this hike to your autumn to-do list, it truly is something sweet to see.
Most people from Alberta descend upon Larch Valley near Lake Louise to catch a glimpse of the larches; however, it tends to be super busy with parking spaces being gobbled up wickedly early in the morning.
So if you are on the hunt for a calmer experience, look no further than Healy Pass Trail near Sunshine Village ski resort. There is plenty of parking due to the hike starting at Sunshine, which is a huge plus. It’s always a drag showing up for a hike and parking is already a hassle!
The hike is about 21 kilometres roundtrip, with most of it a casual walk until the final few kilometres when the incline starts to kick in.
Once you get closer to the lake larches slowly start to creep up, and just when you hit them you enter a lovely open area that berths tremendous views of the Rockies and larches that surround the area.
Past the first meadow is the apex of the trail Healy Pass which provides dazzling views out to the surrounding peaks. Hopefully, you go on a gorgeous calm day, and you can see one of the most picturesque mountains in Banff, Mount Assiniboine clearly. The massive mountain in contrast to the golden hues is to die for!
You can really go for it and check out Healy Pass Peak, which offers impressive views. We found the peak much quieter than anywhere else, so if you are looking for a little slice of the Rockies all to yourself, head here.
Due to the length of the hike, you are also separated from large groups of people it seemed, making it feel less busy and quieter.
While the hike is lengthy and we found an elevation gain of around 900 metres during our travels, it can be completed in four to six hours with plenty of chances to stop for photos and admire the scenery.
You did all that work to get up there, you better stick around and enjoy some of the best larch views the Banff area has to offer!
Where is Healy Pass Trail?
To get to the Healy Pass Trail, drive about eight kilometres west of Banff on the Trans-Canada Highway and take the Sunshine Village exit. Drive a little over eight kilometres on this road to Sunshine Village Ski Resort, where you will find plenty of parking. You are all set from there!