Helen Lake/ Dolomite Pass

Helen Lake/ Dolomite Pass near Banff, AB

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
12 kms
Fall, Summer
Banff, AB
User trailpeak
NTS Map: 082N09

The trip distance is return to Helen Lake. Dolomite pass is an additional 3km (18 total) away.

The trail starts out meandering through a shady, rooted forest, then cuts up the side of an open slope where you gain most of your 455m.

As the trail rounds the hillside, you are popped into a low, wide meadow with lovely views. From here the hike is awesome. You leave the last of the trees behind as you tuck gently up the valley, then cross a lively stream to some tarns, and soon, Helen lake (6km). The ground here can be mucky, and people have widened the trail to over 2 meters! in some spots to avoid the slop - don't be another wayward footprint.

Just beyond the lake, a short and sweet 100m ascent takes you to the roof of the valley. Brilliant! Perfect spot for a snack - 360' views and not a stain of civilization in sight.

The route to Dolomite pass is easy to figure out - you descend into the valley beyond, toward Katherine Lake in the near distance. The terrain is a colourful moonscape. 3km along and you will see the rocky pinnacles of Dolomite Pass.

Easy access, short trip to alpine, and stunning views the entire way. Camping is allowed beyond the pass above Helen Lake - the bowls and peaks of this area are a scramblers dream - basic routefinding skills are all you need!

In winter please check the local avalanche conditions and bulletins.


Take Icefields parkway 33km north of the Lake Louise junction. Watch for signs for the crowfoot glacier viewpoint, trailhead parking is across the highway (on your right if heading north). I recommended Waterfowl Lakes campground for the night, and get an early start in the morning - trail can get busy (but on this one, I really didn't mind sharing).

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

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By DreamchaserPosted By: Dreamchaser  - Sat Jul 07 00:50:24 UTC 2018 Not Rated Question Hi,
I am hiking Helen lake tomorrow and I am curious about camping about the pass. When you say its allowed do you mean we can just pitch a tent without permit or reservations?
thank you
Happy trails!

ANSWERS are in this forum:   Camping at Helen Lake
By JoboboPosted By: Jobobo  - Sat Aug 19 18:28:38 UTC 2017 Not Rated Upside beautiful hike, pristine wilderness, get to see coniferous forest, an area that had controlled or natural burn, an area where an avalanche took out many trees, sub-alpine forest and alpine region Downside paths are being duplicated due to erosion, mud and wear, people are depositing along the trail side and not covering up their remains etc. Comment this hike has some fantastic views, I am concerned about people walking off the single path, some areas have 3 to 4 paths (in the alpine/sub-alpine areas). I wish people we go further into the bush to deposit their waste, and be polite and bury it. I saw a lot of people hiking by themselves and without water, sort of foolish in both instances. This hike is a great connection to Cirque peak and to Katherine lake, and to watermelon Peak
By MoosebikerPosted By: Moosebiker  - Wed Aug 08 17:37:43 UTC 2012 Not Rated Question I heard that hikers must be in a minimum group size of six people. Is that correct and if so, is there a place where I can post an invite to hike with us in early September?

ANSWERS are in this forum:  Minimum of 6 hikers
By vpathakPosted By: vpathak  - Thu Jun 14 00:41:19 UTC 2012 Not Rated Question Hello everyone,
We are thinking of doing the Helen lake hike on coming weekend (16-June-2012).
Parks Canada website just says poor conditions and that the trail is snowbound. Wondering how accurate is that. Has anyone done this hike in June before? Is it really bad enough?

ANSWERS are in this forum:  Helen lake hike in mid-June
By YohohikerPosted By: Yohohiker  - Fri Mar 25 14:23:01 UTC 2011 Not Rated Upside Beautiful views, especially alongside the Dolomites. Downside Crowds. The trails are sometimes narrow channels worn down by boots, so sometimes you have to hike "single file." Comment Time you hike to avoid the mid-day crowds. It is an easy hike up to the lake and any elevation gain you make after that pays off in scenery. The marmots are real beggars, so steel yourself!
By MChaissonPosted By: MChaisson  - Mon Jul 13 20:57:44 UTC 2009 Not Rated Upside Weather was exceptional. Trail was in very good condition. Typical amazing views 360 degrees. Watched a grizzly on the ridge south of the lake 200m or so from us eating a freshly caught hoary marmot. Downside Very busy....we went on July 11th this year and we were first ones on the trail but by the time we came back from Dolomite pass there were enough dozens more at the lake. Trail is 4 and 5 abreast in places!! Comment Other than the crowds this hike is well worth the effort and one of the nicer hikes i've been on to date.
By vpigeonPosted By: vpigeon  - Thu Sep 13 04:07:36 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 Another premier hike in the Canadian Rockies. Downside Parking lot is somewhat secluded and possibly a target for thieves. Preferable to park at the Crowfoot Glacier viewpoint parking area, just on the west side of the highway. Comment A beautiful, and quite easy hike of 6-7 k each way, 450-500 m up, budget approx 4 hours.

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