Banff Basecamp Hiking Tour

NOTE: This trip is now available to book!

Location: Banff, Alberta, Canada

Length: 4 Days

Availability:
– July 26-29, 2020
– August 16-19, 2020

Type: Guided

Grade: Moderate

Price: From $1,590 CDN + 5% GST

Banff Basecamp Hiking Tour Overview

On this backcountry basecamp adventure, we’ll begin at the foot of the Lake Louise Ski Resort located on the other side of the valley from the iconic lake. Our porters will carry the food, shelter, and cooking gear to our base camp at Hidden Lake campground. The campground is located on the way into the historic Skoki Valley and is a wonderful jumping-off point from which to explore the numerous alpine valleys, lakes, and passes in the areas.

The hike in is a very manageable 8.5 km. (5 miles) but gains approx. 670 m (2,200 ft) of elevation en route, getting us to the edge of the alpine zone when we reach camp. From camp, we can easily explore the lake itself and its surrounding hills. Over the next 2 days, we’ll cross 3 passes including Boulder Pass, Deception Pass, and Packers Pass and visit numerous high alpine lakes – all of which have not only spectacular names – Redoubt Lake, Zigadenus Lake, Myosotis Lake, but also spectacular views! Back at camp at day’s end, our experience is similar to a backpacking trip but since porters have brought the supplies in for us, we’ll enjoy a greater diversity of fresh foods.

Who Will Enjoy This Tour?

You’ll enjoy this trip if you are seeking a back country hiking adventure but without having to carry everything yourself.

Landscapes in Banff Hiking Tour
Hikers exploring Banff National Park

Highlights of the Banff Basecamp Hiking Adventure

  • 4 day backcountry trip with light day packs
  • Beautiful wilderness camp for 3 nights at the edge of the treeline at Hidden Lake
  • Hike to numerous high alpine lakes
  • Fields of alpine wildflowers
  • Spectacular views from Boulder Pass, Deception, Packers Pass
  • Seclusion and solitude

What’s Included

  • Transportation to and from trailheads on Day 1 and Day 4
  • Professional hiking guide
  • All food and cooking equipment
  • Tent and thermarest sleeping pad
  • Use of hiking poles
  • All taxes, backcountry permits and campground fees
  • All food and camping equipment transported to and from trailhead to campground
Hiking in Banff on a guided tour

Day 1: Arrive in Banff – Lake Louise

Hikers exploring Banff National Park

The Banff Basecamp Adventure begins with an 8:00 meeting in Banff at our office at 137 Eagle Crescent. This morning you’ll meet your guide, the portering crew, review the trip itinerary and examine all of our equipment requirements. Once we’ve done this, we’ll take your extra luggage that is not needed over the course of the next 3 days and store it at our office and head out to the trailhead.

The hike into our camp begins at the Lake Louise ski area and climbs steadily through the forest until the back of the ski area is reached in 5 km. From here the trail becomes narrower and the forest begins to open up until we reach the broad open meadows below Boulder Pass. We’ll find our campground just a little way beyond. Once we’ve sorted ourselves and our gear out, we’ll have time for afternoon tea, to read a book, or to walk the short distance to the lake and explore. Our porters will have set the tents up for us and we can unpack our gear right away, and relax. The elevation we’ve gained today is worth it since the next 2 days will be largely at or above treeline!

  • Shuttle to Trailhead
  • Hiking Distance: 8 kms (5 miles)
  • Elevation Gain: 670 m (2200 ft)
  • Hiking Time: 3-4 hours

Day 2: Boulder Pass – Ptarmigan Lake – Skoki Lodge

Hiking in Banff

After breakfast, we will head out from camp and walk towards the jumbled rocks at the foot of aptly named Boulder Pass. The route through the boulders is much easier than it looks and once at the top we gain an excellent view of Ptarmigan Lake directly in front of us as well as both Deception Pass and Packers Pass both of which are part of today’s route. We’ll make us up to Packer’s Pass where we can gaze down at the Skoki Lakes (Zigadenus and Myosotis) and take a break. From here we make our way down to the lakes and through beautiful meadows and eventually find ourselves at historic Skoki Lodge, built-in 1931. The return route takes us over Deception Pass and along Ptarmigan before descending Boulder Pass and returning to camp.

  • Hiking Distance: 9 km (5.5 miles)
  • Elevation Gain: 300 m (1000 ft)
  • Walking Time: 5-6 hours

Day 3: Redoubt Lake or Fossil Mountain

Hiking in Banff

Today we will choose from an easy option taking us to Redoubt Lake and Baker Lake or a more challenging loop around Fossil Mountain. No matter what our choice, the day will be filled with incredible views of meadows, lakes, and mountain peaks as we walk through open alpine meadows and lightly forested Larch forests. Redoubt Lake is tucked directly below Redoubt Mtn and though it is only a few hundred feet higher than our camp, it is almost permanently in shadow and has ice lingering on its surface until late mid-July. The entire area is perfect for great alpine walking!

Hiking distance: 10-18 kms (6-10 miles)
Elevation Gain: 300 m (1000 ft)
Walking Time: 4-6 hours

Day 4: Hidden Lake

Hiking in Banff and Lake Louise

Today’s hike out will be back along the route we came in on and since it’s all downhill, it shouldn’t take us very long. Let’s hang out at camp for a while and enjoy another visit to Hidden Lake before heading back down! Once back at the trailhead, we’ll be met by our porters and driven back to Banff. Farewells and long goodbyes are in order.

  • Hiking distance: 8 km (5 miles)
  • Elevation Loss: 670 m (2200 ft)
  • Walking Time: 3 hours

BEST OF CANADIAN ROCKIES HIKING TOUR INFO

Availability

This trip is available the following dates: – July 26-29, 2020
– August 16-19, 2020

Booking in Advance

Book as soon as possible to ensure that accommodation is available on your start date. This region of Canada is very popular and accommodations often fill up months in advance. Space is limited to 8 guests.

Luggage 

We recommend checking with your pre- and post-trip hotel(s) to inquire about luggage storage. Most of the time hotels are happy to accommodate.

Pre and post-trip lodging is your responsibility. We recommend the accommodations listed below while in town.

Banff Inn
Irwin’s Mountain Inn
Red Carpet Inn

Grade and Terrain

Grade 2 (medium). This Banff hiking adventure involves hiking for up to 6 to 7 hours per day, usually with distances of 10-20 kilometres. Elevation gains will vary from 300 m up to 670 m. (2,200 ft) on the first day.

Professional Guided Tours

Your guides are experienced professional hiking guides with certification from the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and/or from the Mountain Parks Heritage Interpretation Association. They are chosen for their enthusiasm and interest in sharing their knowledge of these mountains.

Location

We meet on Day 1 at our Banff office at 137 Eagle Crescent at 8:00 am. We can arrange to pick you up from your hotel in Banff if you request this. (no charge). We will be happy to help you arrange pre and post trip accommodation in Banff for you. There is hourly shuttle bus service from Calgary International Airport (YYC). The travel time is approx. 1 ¾ hours.

Fitness Level

You should be in good physical condition and be a regular walker or hiker. The route is not technical so no prior expertise is required. You will need to carry a daypack large enough for spare clothing, your camera, lunch and something to drink each day.

General

This trip operates during the main months of summer, though snow can linger at high elevations until well into the season. Weather is unpredictable at any time of year, but is generally quite warm in July and August. Daytime highs range from 15-25 C and nighttime temperatures can drop to 5-10 C. Temperatures in June and September can be cooler with nighttime temperatures occasionally dropping below freezing. As with alpine environments throughout the globe, the higher you go, the lower the temperature becomes. Ensuring that you have the correct clothing for an alpine environment is crucial.

Hiker in a Boulder in Banff National Park
Trekking in Banff National Park

Hikers exploring Banff National Park

PRICING AND INCLUSIONS

Pricing

From $1,590 CDN + 5% GST

Inclusions

  • Transportation to and from trailheads on Day 1 and Day 4
  • Professional hiking guide
  • All food and cooking equipment
  • Tent and thermarest sleeping pad
  • Use of hiking poles
  • All taxes, backcountry permits and campground fees
  • All food and camping equipment transported to and from trailhead to campground

Payment Info

$500 CAD is due at the time of booking.

The remaining balance is due 8 weeks in advance.

Extras

  • Personal hiking equipment including clothing, footwear, sleeping bag and hiking pack
  • (sleeping bags can be rented at a cost of $30)
  • Gratuities for guide and porters (suggest 10% gratuity)
  • Pre-and post-trip accommodation
  • Insurance
  • Transporting of personal gear or sleeping bag
  • Travel and trip cancellation insurance. We recommend World Nomads since it includes mountain rescue and repatriation insurance which are required and not covered by all insurance policies.

ACCOMMODATION DURING THE BANFF HIKING ADVENTURE

Availability

We’ll be camping during the whole tour. The backcountry campgrounds are usually quite small, having only 5 to 10 campsites in total. At each campsite there will be a flat tent pad for setting a tent up on and either bear-proof storage bins for gear and food or poles with ropes for hanging food from.

There will be a small outhouse and drinking water will come from a nearby stream. (we purify the water) Campfires are generally not allowed. We will provide 3-person backpacking tents for couples and 2-person tents for singles. This means that tents will have enough room for you and your personal gear only.

We will provide thermarest sleeping pads for your comfort and if you wish, you can rent a sleeping bag. If you bring your own sleeping bag it must be rated to -7 Celsius (though it shouldn’t get anywhere near that cold!) As a pillow we suggest that you use the sleeping bag stuff sack and put your extra clothes in it to form a pillow. We will also supply hiking poles if you require them.

Storage of Personal Items

Many guests choose to store any extra luggage with the hotel
they’ll be using before and after the trip. You are also
welcome to leave any luggage with us for secure storage while
you’re on your trip – just inform your guide.

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Hikers exploring Banff National Park

Hiking in Banff and Lake Louise

TRAVEL TO CALGARY

By plane:

The most convenient airport is Calgary International Airport (YYC), which is served by most major airlines.

I find the best deals on Skyscanner and book most of my flights through them.

Note: We highly recommend waiting to book your flights or making other travel arrangements until you receive an email from us notifying you that all your accommodation has been confirmed.

 

Click on the “Contact Us” button below and we’ll email you the booking form and terms and conditions, or for further information on booking this trip.

When you book this trip through us, you’ll also receive the following bonuses:

  • Packing list of the essentials
  • My secret list of easy to pack luxurious non-essentials
  • How to make the most of your hiking experience by going within

This trip is operated by our trusted Canadian partner, White Mountain Adventures.

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