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98 Geikie Street, Jasper, Alberta, T0E 1E0
Canmore Inn & Suites
1402 Bow Valley Trail, Canmore, Alberta, T1W 1N5
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Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass from Canmore, Alberta.
By Canmore Inn & Suites
October 01, 2021
Fall in Canmore is a short, but astounding season. This time of year, people from all over the world flock to the Rocky Mountains to witness the golden glow that colors the hills. When the needles of a larch tree are almost ready to drop to the ground, they give off their last little breath of life by changing their color to a warm yellow, dare I say gold.
Around the end of September and the beginning of October, hiking trail parking lots overflow very early in the morning. Photographers, avid hikers and families alike come from all over Canada to visit our beautiful mountain town in the hopes to catch a glimpse of this spectacle Mother Nature puts on.
For me personally, fall is my absolute favorite season. When I think of fall, I think flannel, cozy sweaters, tuques and pumpkin spice everything. With the days getting shorter and temperatures dropping lower, nothing stops me from digging up my boots and jackets after putting them away for summer.
Because you already have me reminiscing, I’m going to take you on one of my favorite fall adventures to date. I decided to hike the famous Larch Valley in Banff National Park. We hiked Sentinel Pass via Larch Valley Trail, a hike that offers views of Larch Valley, Paradise Valley AND Moraine Lake. It is not without reason that this is a heavily trafficked hiking trail, this hike takes you to viewpoints like no others.
The trailhead is located on the right side of Moraine Lake (a scenic 12km drive from Lake Louise), meaning we had to park our car in the Moraine Lake Parking lot. Because this parking lot fills up really quick at any time of year, we made sure to be there before sunrise.
So after we left from Canmore in the early morning, sipping our sleepy eyes away with a well-deserved cup of coffee, we drove to Moraine Lake to watch the sunrise and get going on our hike!
The hike is rated as difficult, and I do believe this is because of the first part of the hike. The trail takes you on a steep switch-back through the forest before you get to the flatter area where all the larches are. We struggled for a little bit, but got the climb out of the way pretty quick. After that it was all mountain peaks, larch trees and literal paradise. And it was all yellow.
We were smart enough to dress warm. With harsh winds and occasional snowflakes falling down, we were well equipped to brave the weather. The thought of getting a hot chocolate from one of the shops in Lake Louise Village also helped to keep us focused!
After an enchanting walk through the yellow forest, we got to the plateau that has some of the best views of the Valley of the Ten Peaks. After taking some pictures and enjoying the peace and quiet away from society, we started our decent back to Moraine Lake!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Do I need bear spray to go on a fall hike?
Even though this is a heavily trafficked trail, we always recommend carrying bear spray, because you are still in bear country. Make sure you know how to use it before bringing it on a hike, just in case you need to use it responsibly.
- Will I need I park pass to do this hike?
If you plan on parking anywhere in the Banff National park (this includes Moraine Lake and Lake Louise), you will be required to have a valid Park Pass. Passes can be purchased online or at the gates driving into the National Park.
- Can I bring my dog on the trail?
Your furry friend is welcome to tag along on your hike, but must be kept on leash. We saw lots of dogs on the trail, and they sure made our day!
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