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.
September is nearly upon us, alongside all that comes with the changing of the seasons.
One of the most spectacular visual cues that fall is on its way is how the trees of Larch Valley change colour, going from their usual forest green to a vibrant orangy-yellow colour.
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The best way to see these spectacular views is by taking on the Sentinel Pass Trail in late September, though this is also — understandably — when the trail is at its busiest, so busy in fact that an overflow parking lot is often filled by eager hikers.
Which is why we’ve decided to give you the heads up now, right at the start of September. We can’t guarantee that the trees’ colours will be changing anytime soon, but if you want to be among the first to see the bright orange of fall, we’d suggest making a trip out to the Lake Louis area sometime in the next few weeks.
…Before everyone starts posting photos on Instagram and the trails get completely crowded, that is.
Here’s how to 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.
The trailhead begins just past Moraine Lake Lodge, and from there it is a 5.8-kilometre one-way 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 round-trip.
As always when enjoying the Rocky Mountains, be bear aware by bringing the proper tools and information with you when making any journeys into grizzly country.
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 Albertaparks.ca 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.