Larch Valley/Sentinel Pass

Larch Valley/Sentinel Pass near Banff, AB

This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 4 out of 5 stars
12 kms
Banff, AB
User Trevbo

In late September the yellow larches along this trail are an awesome sight. But there will be hundreds of other people on the trail, because it's Banff, and in the fall this trail is one of the park's feature attractions.

On the day we attempted this hike there was a warning sign at the trailhead stating that a grizzly with 2 cubs had been sighted in the area and hikers were only permitted up the trail in groups of 6 or larger. We only had to wait a few minutes until a group of 4 women from Toronto agreed to hike with us up the trail. Luckily they were also pretty slow.

There's a nice meadow at the top of the pass, which permits views of the peaks around you (the Valley of the 10 Peaks). The trail dips back into the larches for a bit then clears the treeline at the base of Sentinel Pass. We met a Parks Canada dude sitting in a lawn chair at this location, admiring the scenery and keeping an eye out for the bears.

In the flats before Sentinel Pass there are a couple of pretty reflective pools (called Minestimma Lakes). The switchbacks to Sentinel Pass rise 500 ft above the lakes and look about an hour away, with Mt. Temple rising above. My hiking companion had been dragged practically straight off the plane from Montreal to this spot and was pretty pooped, so we called it even and turned back down to Moraine Lake. All in all a great hike.

NTS Map: 082N08

Elevation Gain: 732m (2,400 ft), 12km return.


Access Point: Moraine Lake Parking Lot (follow the lakeshore, right, to the trail marker sign).

Please check the bottom of the Description (above left; click) for the author's written directions.

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By dionkPosted By: dionk  - Wed Oct 31 21:36:10 UTC 2018 Not Rated Question Hi everyone,

I'm wondering if someone on here could help me. I recently got a tattoo based on the Valley of the Ten Peaks range and I was hoping someone could help me out with the names of the peaks that are now on my arm. I absolutely love the area and now that I have it on my arm I'm looking for more of the story behind them. Attached is the image I used that I found online that was taken from Moraine Lake road. Through a lot of research I have determined the tallest most prominent peak in the picture is Mount Babel and have stalled out at that point. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!!

Here is the link to the picture I used:

ANSWERS are in this forum:   Valley of the Ten Peaks Names
By Marametz Posted By: Marametz  - Mon Jul 30 18:56:19 UTC 2018 Not Rated Question Greetings, my husband and I are looking to do this hike the weekend after this upcoming. Can you please share with me with an overview if its safe to navugate the in pairs and if the hike is safe? Uphill cardio switchbacks are fine but we aren’t interested in mountain climbing ( via dangling from cliffs and scrambling to find our way up ). Can we easily complete the trail staring around noon ?

ANSWERS are in this forum:   Larch Valley Sentinel Pass hike
By MrisPosted By: Mris  - Mon Sep 25 02:49:25 UTC 2017 Not Rated GroupTrip We are two intermediate hikers looking for 2-4 others to join us on the larch valley / sentinel pass hike on September 28th. Please respond if you are interested :)

DETAILS are in this forum:   Sentinel Pass Sept 28th 2017
By Baby ThorPosted By: Baby Thor  - Wed Sep 20 17:27:05 UTC 2017 This trail was given a rating of 3 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 3 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 3 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 3 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 3 out of 5 stars Upside Beautiful Downside Long, boring, crowded. Comment Almost too early (Sept. 16) for the full Autumn effect. Hard to time it.
Can do in 2 hours if you're really fast, my group did in 4 hours, maybe longer if you're out of shape.
Once out of the trees into the meadow it's pretty, then into the Pass gets quite beautiful.
By 20lemonpopsPosted By: 20lemonpops  - Tue Sep 12 17:01:57 UTC 2017 Not Rated GroupTrip We're looking for a group to do some hikes in Banff and Jasper area. We heard the minimum group is 4 in case of bears.

We're 2 intermediate hikers. We're looking to do moderate and easy trails sep17-19 in banff/louise area, and sep 20-22 in jasper area.

DETAILS are in this forum:   Banff-Jasper Sep 17-22
By BradEDPosted By: BradED  - Sat Jul 22 19:23:38 UTC 2017 Not Rated GroupTrip I'd love to go back to the Valley of the 10 peaks and do the Sentinel Pass hike, but no one I know can make it as they work all week and don't want to hike on weekends! Looking for three or so people to hike with so the bears are deterred and I don't hike in a boring silence.

DETAILS are in this forum:   Sentinel Pass group
By hwalkerPosted By: hwalker  - Sat Mar 25 19:27:12 UTC 2017 Not Rated GroupTrip My husband and I are looking for a group for the Larch Valley and Sentinell Pass hike leaving from Moraine Lake on June 16, 2017. I read we should be in a group of 4 or more due to bears.

DETAILS are in this forum:   Larch Valley and Sentinell Pass
By FredAnnPosted By: FredAnn  - Wed Oct 01 00:43:22 UTC 2014 Not Rated Question Are there currently parking restrictions at the Moraine Lk parking area? I remember last year that they were limiting people going up this road, due to volume of visitors. Any one give me an update?

ANSWERS are in this forum:   parking during Fall colors
By cdubPosted By: cdub  - Fri Sep 26 14:50:38 UTC 2014 Not Rated Question Hello!

Can anyone please tell me if this is a dog-friendly hike?


ANSWERS are in this forum:   Dog-friendly hike?
By hughPosted By: hugh  - Fri Aug 06 18:43:52 UTC 2010 Not Rated Upside Sentinel Pass was one of the best hikes that we experienced on our recent 11 day trip to the Canadian Rockies. We went on July 10, 2010 on a crystal clear day--one of the few nice days that Lake Louise had experienced thus far. At times, the switchbacks leading up to Larch Valley were a little steep and the final climb to the pass was a little dicey, particularly with the many snow patches that were still covering parts of the swithbacks up to the pass. That being said, the effort expended was well worth the reward at the top of the pass. The views of the ten peaks, Wenkchemna Glacier, Sentinel Mountain and other surrounding mountains, and the lakes below at the base of the pass were absolutely beautiful. Even though it was July, one of these lakes was still frozen and was just beginning to thaw out. Had that been all we saw, we would have been very happy, however the views of the opposite direction (25 feet behind us) towards Paradise Valley and the amazing pinnacles and sphires of Pinnacle Mountain were equally as breathtaking. Overall, in my opinion, the 720 degree view (360 degree view towards the ten peaks and 360 degree view towards Paradise Valley) at the top of the pass was the single most beautiful spot on our entire trip. We also had a unique experience with a little chipmunk at the top of the pass. The little guy stole a ziplock bag of trail mix out of my pack and was able to run off with it and hide under a rock. He proceeded to eat all of the peanuts and would not let any of the other chipmunks share. The most amazing thing about this is that the trail mix probably weighed as much as he did. We know not to feed the animals, however this guy was able to do all of this before we could shoo him away...very quick!!!

I highly recommend this hike, particulary if good weather is forecasted. It is not particularly long and the scenery from Larch Valley all the way up to the pass is fantastic.
By desi_hikerPosted By: desi_hiker  - Sun Jan 31 00:22:52 UTC 2010 Not Rated Comment Did in September 09.Unfortunately ,larch valley was still green.Nonetheless, great hike for a day.lots of people upto the sentinel pass.some were even going on Mt.Temple.

Could be difficult for someone out of shape.
By MillnutPosted By: Millnut  - Fri Oct 02 03:38:08 UTC 2009 Not Rated Question Is it going to be a tough climb for someone out of shape

ANSWERS are in this forum:  Larch Valley
By cec403Posted By: cec403  - Wed Jun 10 01:15:55 UTC 2009 Not Rated Upside Nice hike, great views of the valley. Downside Get up to the parking lot before 10am as it fills up quickly. Also plan ahead due to restrictions in the area when bears are present.
By marvinPosted By: marvin  - Wed Oct 15 09:17:40 UTC 2008 Not Rated Comment Done in Mid September 2008 at -7 C and light flurries.
The parking lot is disastrously and the toiletts were very disgusting.
But after 200m when going up the hill the mass of tourists is thinning and only a few people are going up to Larch Valley or Eifel Lake.
The larchs look really unnatural with there black and silver bark and the yellow-orange needles but it is an impressive view. The way up the end of the valley is very well with some step sections and a lot of switchbacks.
In good weather thers should be a great view to the "TEN" and the other mountains. The trail to the pass is through a gravel field. A little bit slippery when wet but easy going.
The pass is very small and it is very windy/chilly.
We were glad to here that the 4 people restriction was canceld one week before. So we did the trail in that weather without a opportunity of great view but the larchs and the few possible view on the tops has been fantastic enough for such a day.
We will try another day in sunny weather
By HermanaterPosted By: Hermanater  - Thu Nov 01 18:27:43 UTC 2007 This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars This trail was given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars Upside Loved this hike. It was amazing. I could have sat at the top for hours.... Downside None really. Maybe the crowded parking lot at the trailhead. Comment See my profile photo.......

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