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Mosquito Creek, Quartzite Col, and Fish Lakes Loop

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Banff National Park

Mosquito Creek, Quartzite Col, and Fish Lakes Loop is a 25.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from June until October.

Distance: 25.4 miles Elevation Gain: 6,112 feet Route Type: Loop












off trail
Mon Apr 22 2019

My hiking partners had done this hike in the summer and loved it. Nice gentle 5km saunter through the woods, not too much elevation gain, and nice backcountry campsite once you get to Mosquito Creek. Unfortunately our experience this time around was very different. The first half of the trail was perfectly fine but the second half was a little bit challenging as the snow pack wasn’t very good, so we had to crawl a decent amount of it just to get to the campsite because the snow was so deep. Once we got to the campsite, we set up camp but there was absolutely no dry firewood to be found, everything was soaking wet. We tried many times to light a fire to no avail. We decided to just have an early night and plan to hike out first thing in the morning. This is where the real fun begins: The snowpack changed significantly overnight to the point where we were waist deep in snow for the whole 5 km back. It was absolutely brutal and miserable and we seriously contemplated calling for a rescue as we were very scared of hypothermia setting in. We ended up jumping into the creek/river about halfway back and decided to follow the path of least resistance. Wading through a river was better than trying to create a path through 4 feet of snow with 70 L packs on us. We eventually got back of course but it took us 7 1/2 hours to go 5 km. Definitely the most brutal hike and camping trip we’ve ever done, and we are very experienced. It’s a beautiful hike in the summer but please for the love of God do not go on shoulder season and think long and hard for going during the winter time as well. I’m sure things would’ve been very different if we decided to take a cross-country skis in, but still the snow pack would’ve presented a significant challenge as it was all rotten snow.