Awesome Alberta: Larch Valley is a must hike (PHOTOS)

Sep 21 2020, 7:45 pm

COVID-19 still presents a very real and dangerous threat to public health. While much of Alberta’s outdoors have been reopened to visitors, it is recommended to plan ahead, check local restrictions and current public health measures, and avoid any areas that may be too crowded. 

The colours of Larch Valley alone will have you reaching for your camera.

Nestled into the mountains surrounding Lake Louise, Sentinel Pass brings you to Larch Valley’s forests of yellowing trees and dazzling views.

The best time to experience the colours is in September, though that also means there will be a few other travellers to share the trail with.

It is recommended to call ahead to ensure that there is space in the overflow lots by Moraine Lake – there’s a free shuttle that takes you to the trailhead from there, but the lines might be long at this time of year.

A small sacrifice to make for a breathtaking day trip.

For your own safety, please make sure you are prepared before heading out on your next adventure. Information on how to prepare for your trip and stay safe while on your hike is available from and AdventureSmart. Parks Canada visitor guidelines are available here. 

Always remember to leave no trace, pack out what you pack in, stick to designated trails, and refrain from feeding wildlife — and please note that irresponsibly taken selfies (even if they look great for the ‘gram) can be fatal

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Where is it?

The trailhead begins just past Moraine Lake Lodge, and from there it is a 10.9 kilometre in and out hike through the Sentinel Pass to Larch Valley. Elevation gain is 725 metres, and it’s recommended to give yourself at least five to six hours to complete the roundtrip.

How do you get there?

Roughly two hours west from Calgary along the Trans-Canada Highway, arrive at Lake Louise and exit onto Lake Louise Drive. Take that towards Lake Louise, but turn off at Moraine Lake Drive. Follow that road until you reach the trailhead, or head to one of the overflow parking lots and catch the shuttle.

Those driving from Edmonton will need to take the two-hour journey south to Calgary before following the instructions above.


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What’s there?

Stunning views of the Rocky Mountains act as a natural backdrop to the forest of orange and yellow trees through which you’ll be wandering. The hike itself is classified as “Difficult” so be sure to come prepared, research where you’re going, and give yourself extra time – just in case.


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DH Calgary StaffDH Calgary Staff

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