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Rock Isle Lake via Sunshine is a 5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Banff, Alberta, Canada that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until August. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 5.0 mi Elevation gain 1,013 ft Route type Loop
Dogs on leash Hiking Nature trips Snowshoeing Walking Bird watching Forest Lake Views Wild flowers Wildlife
Description
Waypoints (1)

Please note that the road leading to this trailhead is currently closed (06/22/2020). The lakes loop is different from most hikes in the area as you start at the top and work your way down so the steep part is on the return. It's a nice easy hike with lots to see from the lakes, to the rolling hills to the vast valley and mountains at Simpson viewpoint. There is an outhouse along the way, along with restrooms at both ends of the gondola. Overall it's a great family hike with people of all ages being able to complete it. The experienced hikers won't be too bored with it and newbies will love it. Lots of people out there, but never too crowded or overrun.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (153)
Photos (136)
Recordings (108)
Completed (353)
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Chel Urcia
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 6, 2020
HikingGreat!

Because we wanted to see the Rock Isle Lake, we hike this 2 weeks ago. The Gondola is not operating so we just follow the gravel road where the shuttles goes up to village. The views of meadows, mountains and lakes are amazing.

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Kevin Griffiths
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 10, 2020
Hiking

For 2020 the bus service and gondola are not operating to Sunshine Village. However you may walk up the 6 kilometre service road (bus route). This is a long, steep gravel road, that can have some ski hill summer maintenance worker's vehicle traffic on it. Once at the village ( no services open in 2020), you walk another 1.5 kilometres up a steep trail. You then may walk the official trails to in this fantastic valley, around three small lakes, with a great variety of wild flowers, and magnificent views.

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Krizza Mae Villamor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 20, 2020
Hiking

Road closed. Went June 18,2020. 1000hrs

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Kerry Allen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2019
HikingMuddyRocky

Did this hike combined with Simpson Pass and Healy Pass about 2 weeks ago. I missed the Healy Pass trail head so hiked up gondola service road to twin cairns trailhead. It was about 18 mile hike but worth the trip.

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kulsum fatima
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 23, 2019
Hiking

it's an easy one

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Marc Ribas March
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 7, 2019
HikingNo shade

Mucha gente . buenas vistas. Para dar un paseo si estas en el hotel sunshine esta bien. Subir en telesilla vale la pena, y con la estancia del hotel es gratuito. Los lagos son bonitos.

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Sarah Illingworth
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2019
Hiking

Super easy trail with a lot of great views and lakes! It's a lovely area to enjoy

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Mark R
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 6, 2019
Hiking

Always love going to Sunshine Village whether to ski or hike. It's such a unique place. Very easy to park, get tickets, take the gondola, etc. to get to the base village. From there you can hike up a trail or take the ski lift to the top of Mt. Standish (most do this). If you take the ski lift you are just a short distance away from the viewing platform that let's you take in all three lakes and the valley/mountains behind it. We were able to see the local grizzly bear on one of the hillsides to the West romp along, but he never got near the trails (if he does then the temporarily close the trails). Lots of Parks Canada people out monitoring for bears so don't let that stop you from coming, though always smart to carry bear spray. Some stop here and go back down, but most will do the roughly 4-5 mile trail (depending if you walk down or ride the ski lift) around the lakes while others venture off on the other trails. The lakes loop is different from most hikes in the area as you start at the top and work your way down so the steep part is on the return. It's a nice easy hike with lots to see from the lakes, to the rolling hills to the vast valley and mountains at Simpson viewpoint, etc.. There is an outhouse along the way (along with restrooms at both ends of the gondola), but was not open last week. Overall it's a great family hike with people of all ages being able to do it and the experienced hikers won't be too bored with it and newbies will love it. Lots of people out there, but never too crowded or overrun like Johnston Canyon or the Lake Louise trails.

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Marco Biondo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 2, 2019
Hiking

Visiting in early Aug 2019. Took gondola and chair lift up to start the hike. Walked back down to gondola. Spectacular scenery. Grizzly activity in area. Easy walk around the lakes and back. Loved it! Not to crowded once on the trail considering the traffic in Banff area at the time.

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Joel Guy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 30, 2019
Hiking

Take the gondola and then the chairlift to begin the trail. We opted to keep ascending to the chairlift to end the hike but another path leads downhill to the gondola, bypassing the chairlift, if you'd rather go down than up. Can't recommend the scenery highly enough. Like a hidden paradise. Staff and trail guides very friendly and helpful.

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Martyn Grace
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 28, 2019
Hiking

Took the Standish Chairlift to the lookout and then hiked down to the Grizzly/Laryx loop and Rock Isle viewpoint before heading down the access road to the village. From the chairlift there is minimal elevation change (some downwards) and lots of wildflowers and squirrels. The best view is from the lookout itself so hiking doesn't present too many more viewpoints. Last chair down is 5pm and last gondola is 6pm, the route we took took 3 hours including both gondola journeys and the chairlift (1 hour of those 3 in total). The road down to the village from Rock Isle doesn't take more than half an hour, but doesn't really have much to see apart from all the ski runs and chairs. Bears are frequently seen in the meadows, on our visit we were told they'd been hanging around the back of Laryx lake recently, but no sightings.

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Allyse Rodriguez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 26, 2019
Hiking

Completed 2:30pm 8/26: Loved this walk!!!!! The only unfortunate thing is that it’s uphill on the way back and the aggressive starting elevation made it feel pretty challenging. We had a beautiful sunny day. It’s pretty gusty at the top, so definitely bring layers (I had hiking pants, SmartWool short sleeve, light long sleeve, and a medium-weight long sleeve on top with a buff, hat, and gloves) . It calms down a bit as you work your way down. We got off the chairlift late in the afternoon so we’re we’re moving at a pretty brisk pace and finished the hike in 2 hours...definitely recommend getting here around noon if you want to take your time. Parking was absolutely no issue.

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Jess Traynor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 25, 2019
Hiking

awesome hike with great views. grizzly bear in the trail. we took the chair lift up did the loop around the lakes and than hiked down, and stopped at the Healy pass trail at the overlook.

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Shelly Vold
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 18, 2019
Hiking

Great hike ideal for the whole family. There is nothing difficult on this trail and there are many benches and lookouts. The only downside is the price of the gondola, but then it saved the hike up so definitely a plus. The wildflowers are in full bloom it was incredibly beautiful.

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Stephan Mayer-Klenk
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 14, 2019
Hiking

The hike is fabulous with an astonishing view of the Rockies and so beautiful lakes. The wild flowers are absolute gorgeous. It is an easy hike. Through the altitude you should not do the hike after you just arrived in the Banff AB area. After the hike you get a feeling about the size of the Canadian Rockies.

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Remi Danmura
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 7, 2019
HikingBugs
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Ada Funes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 4, 2019
Hiking

Beautiful hike with beautiful wild flowers and excellent views of Canadian Rockies.

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Rob and Karin Lawler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2019
Hiking

Beautiful day today. It was a bit windy and crowded, but worth it! For 2 adults and 2 kids, the cost of the gondola was $100, but worth it. The trails are well maintained and there’s plenty of room for photos and viewing. The wildflowers were amazing.

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Gomi Ratnayake
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2019
Hiking

Great hike. if you are taking the trail back to sunshine village might run into mosquitoes at few places. Overall great hike with some fabulous views.

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Shontel Kivlehan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 30, 2019
Hiking

Easy hike, with minimal elevation gain and nothing technical, but offers amazing views! I completed this hike via the standish chairlift, went down to the viewpoint and started the trail from there. The loop takes you around grizzly lake, laryx lake, and rock isle lake. It was a very popular trail, with large crowds so be prepared and start as early as you can!

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Jordan Dyck
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 28, 2019
Hiking

Great hike for a last full day on vacation. It starts with a good incline that will get your blood pumping and then levels out for a nice afternoon hike with great wild flowers and gorgeous views. Would have also liked to take this trail earlier in the morning - felt like it is a good chance for more wildlife and less people. We saw a deer and your normal chipmunks and prairie dogs. It is a good mix of open field trails that are level and trails in the woods as well. Once you get to the loop it is one way only. So, once you are in you’ll need to complete it as there are a lot of wooden plank walk ways to go over streams that would be difficult for two way traffic. Remember, there are few ways to get to the trail head. You can either take the gondola (requires fee) which is what we did since we were pressed for time and the ride up takes about 25 minutes one way or 50 minutes both. We were told there is an access road that you can take which is about 5 km and a good incline the whole way up or if you have a full day there is another trail near by (not access road, but can’t remember the name). Ask the front desk before purchasing gondola ticket and they will have all the info you need.

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Nina Gabruch
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 26, 2019
HikingBugs

I would do this again for sure. We took the gondola up to the sunshine village which is about 45$ per adult. But it was honestly worth it. The entire walk you have views that are breathtaking.. you never get bored or tired. I would rate this more easy than moderate. Kids or elderly could do do it. The lakes have a great loop to do. It took three of us 2.5 hours and we had lots of stops to take pictures and have a little snack. Trail is all marked very well.

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Samuel Pauch-Nolin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 19, 2019
Hiking

Beautiful beginner level hike through the Sunshine Meadows. Took the gondola and chairlift to the trail and completed the entire route in about 2.5 hours. The weather wasn’t fantastic but still was worth it. Not the most interesting hike in the area but certainly one of the best for beginners.

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Andrew Janz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 14, 2019
Hiking

Fantastic hike today with the whole family. Never been up here - so beautiful!

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Jenny Longlais
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2019
Hiking

Fantastic. Take the guided tour, it’s very informative.

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Jason Egervari
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 8, 2019
Hiking

Spectacular scenery, well worth the trip up, the viewpoints monarch and Simpson were amazing. All lakes are worth the visit. If it’s a clear day and not smoky your in for a treat

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Rabid Llama
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 7, 2019
Hiking

Great views at this trail and well worth the gondola fee. We started hiking toward Simpson Pass via Monarch Viewpoint, but bad weather forced us to turn around about half-way near where a waterfall crosses the trail. There are a number of slick mud spots on the steeper sections which could lead to falls if you’re not careful. Overall well worth it!

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Amanda L
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 11, 2019
HikingSnow

To be fair, there was poor planning on our part. 90% of the trail is under like a metre of snow. The gondola also isn't open yet, so we had to hike up. once we lost feeling in our feet, we had a great time!!

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Ryan Steil
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 11, 2019
Hiking

Wasn’t sure about this when I planned it and it was awesome, Absolutely recommend and make sure to find your way around to the Twin Cairns route and go to the top to the lookout. Amazing place to take a short break and enjoy the view.

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