Larch Valley – Sentinel Pass* (Banff)

Date: July 21, 2017

Location: Lake Louise, Banff NP

Distance: 7 miles RT

Elevation Gain: 2376 ft

Highest Elevation: 8566 ft

Moraine Lake (top) serves as the front lobby for this trail which I’ve dreamed about hiking for the past few years.

The climb from Moraine Lake to Larch Valley (aka Valley of Ten Peaks) was about 2km and relatively effortless.   From then on, it was an expansive meadowland surrounded by snow-capped peaks.

Above, our destination, Sentinel Pass, revealed itself as the ridge between the 2 peaks – Mt. Pinnacle on the left, Mt. Temple on the right.  Below, looking back to the valley we traversed.

The trail’s fame was evident by the variety and the number of international hikers it attracted this day.

Minnestimma Lake beneath the pass

 

The trail climbed in earnest.

 

Looking longingly towards the top

Looking back at Larch Valley near the Pass

Jeannette climbed steadily with Pinnacle Mountain in her background, above.  We were thrilled to reach the Pass, and at 8500+ feet, it is one of the highest maintained trail in Canadian Rockies.

Paradise Valley on the other side of the Pass.  The trail continues in a sharp descent into Paradise Valley.  It would be an awesome one way hike if transportation could be arranged.

 

The Ten Peaks accompanied us on the way back through Larch Valley.  There were plenty of ground squirrels in the meadows.