TRIP REPORT: EGYPT LAKE,
BANFF NATIONAL PARK
By Meghan J. Ward
Anyone willing to put in some mileage on their hiking boots should consider a multi-day trip into Egypt Lake in Banff National Park. Forested valleys, striking pinnacles, clusters of small lakes, and exciting alpine passes distinguish this area from its other backcountry counterparts. Hit it up in July to enjoy carpets of wildflowers, and warm weather that’ll make you eager to jump into one of the many lakes along the way.
Our Itinerary/ July 7-10, 2015
- Redearth Creek Trailhead to Shadow Lake Campground (12.9 km one-way)
- Gibbon Pass (6.2 km roundtrip)
- Shadow Lake Campground to Egypt Lake Campground via Whistling Valley Trail (15.3 km one-way)
- Egypt Lake to Pharaoh/Black Rock/Sphinx Lakes (7 km roundtrip)
- Scramble up Lesser Pharaoh Peak
- Exit from Egypt Lake Campground via Healy Pass to Sunshine Village Parking Lot (12.4 km one-way)
Total Distance: Approx. 54 kilometres, excluding scramble up Lesser Pharaoh Peak
- Various access points are quite close in proximity, making it easy to have a car parked at either end.
- Get there in the month of July to enjoy more wildflowers than you could ever imagine, particularly on the Gibbon Pass and Healy Pass trails!
- Impressive views from Whistling Pass, Healy Pass and Lesser Pharaoh Peak.
- Uncrowded backcountry experience, especially mid-week.
- If it’s mosquito season, remember that you’re camping, cooking and hiking in the trees. Bring repellent and mosquito coils.
- Food storage, cooking areas and water sources are located a short distance from the campsites. Get ready to put in some extra walking.
- The Redearth Creek Trail is mostly an old fire road in the trees. We recommend starting with it if you’re venturing that way.
- The Whistling Valley Trail walks through marshland and involves a bit of rock-hopping over muddy patches. Nothing the adventurous soul can’t handle.
Other Side Trips/
From Egypt Lake Campground: Mummy/Scarab Lakes or Talc (Natalko) Lake
Scan the map of this region and you’ll see many variations you could tackle, including Altrude Creek (Twin Lakes) Trail, Arnica Lake Trail, Pharaoh Creek Trail (as an alternative to Whistling Valley Trail) or Simpson Pass Trail. Hiking it in reverse is also a possibility, though we highly recommend coming out through Healy Pass. What a finish!
Additional information and reservations/permits through Parks Canada.
GemTrek’s Map to Banff Egypt Lake.
Writer, adventurer, outdoorsy mama and summit cartwheeler, Meghan J. Ward is the editor and co-founder at Crowfoot Media and lives for backcountry getaways.