Sentinel Pass via Larch Valley Trail

HARD 338 reviews
#5 of 136 trails in

Sentinel Pass via Larch Valley Trail is a 10.9 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada that features a lake and is rated as difficult. 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.

DISTANCE
10.9 km
ELEVATION GAIN
792 m
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

scramble

snow

3 days ago

Arrived a few weeks ago at 630am on a Friday. Parking lot was full at that time. Amazing views of the peaks. Some of the most scenic backdrops I have seen in a larch forest. Make sure to continue to Sentinel pass for more amazing views.

hiking
11 days ago

This hike requires to be in a good shape.
You will find incredible views.

My friends and I we left the car in a parking lot that is located 5 minutes ago. In the parking lot there are free buses that takes you to Lake Moraine and this hike. I heard that this hike will we open until 8th October.

13 days ago

Great hike!

hiking
16 days ago

Did this hike sept 29th and it was great! Larch trees looked amazing with the snow too. Wear good shoes as people started to slip due to freezing conditions and whiteouts are happening more so check conditions before going up

hiking
16 days ago

Great hike, wasn’t the best weather today as soon as we got into the larch valley the snow started, making the way up the pass a little sketchy. Crampons 100% necessary. Saw people slipping all over the place even with hikers. Back down the patch between larch valley and moraine lake got super slippery as the snow started to pack on the trail and we saw a ton of people going up in only sneakers...*shakes head*. Took us a total of just under 4 hrs, with a mini break in the larch valley for food. Didn’t stay up at the pass due to the snowfall and whiteout conditions. I bet the views are unreal on this hike in good weather, will be going back next summer to enjoy the 10 peaks as we unfortunately saw none today.

hiking
17 days ago

Did this hike 3rd week of September and was incredible! Valley of Ten Peaks appeared on and off through the clouds. Snowed for 3/4 of the hike But we didn’t mind! Two Aussies in the snow! We couldn’t complain! The larch trees were super neat!

hiking
17 days ago

Always a favourite of mine. First time seeing sentinel while the larches were out, one word — WOW!!! Completed on Sept 19, 2018. Starts with steep switchbacks, opens to the valley which is stunning. You make your way to the final stretch to reach the pass. The views of the 10 peaks are one of a kind. This hike can easily be completed by people of all ages and skill levels. We had poles and our shoes spiked, and they definitely came in handy, once the sun came out the final set off switchbacks became quite slippery. As others have mentioned, slow and steady wins the race! Bring snacks, stay hydrated and your golden.

If you want to park at Lake Moraine, it’s VERY limited. We got their at 7:00A and grabbed literally the last spot. The shuttle from lake Louise runs every 15 minutes and it’s free, so that’s a solid alternative. If you’re thinking of a 5-7 hike to do while in Banff, you have to put this one on your list!

17 days ago

Amazing experience! Hard and slippery but so worth it!

hiking
18 days ago

This has got to be one of the most incredible views I have ever seen. I didn’t actually know what was at the top other than the larch trees with beautiful gold colored leaves (needles?) due to the changing of the seasons. I visited the last week of September. It was a cloudy day with little visibility, and very few people on the trail as it was still pretty early in the morning. The trail up to the top is a series of pretty steep switchbacks. I didn’t really see much of Moraine Lake heading up. Once you reach the top, it flattens out a bit, and you will see the beautifully colored larches. It was quite foggy when I went, and I couldn’t see too far, but as I continued on and headed up a more gentle incline, the fog seemed to clear and it appeared that I was above the clouds. The incredible and breathtaking view of mountains surrounding me on all sides appeared. It was truly stunning. I’ve heard that they call Moraine Lake the Valley of Ten Peaks, and now I know why. Truly, truly stunning, and a must-do when you’re at Moraine Lake. There is also a lake which you will see if you glance back down to your right after you reach the valley where you can see the peaks. This trail continues on towards Wenchemmna Pass which hopefully I’ll have the stamina to reach one day.

hiking
18 days ago

21 days ago

Great hike, one of the most scenic and rewarding ones in Banff area, especially doable for not such experienced hikers. Anyone in moderate/average shape can do it (you just go slower). People of all ages including children and toy dogs were even making Sentinal Pass! The trail starts with a incline, turning into switchbacks to ease the elevation gain (this makes it a lot easier for the average person). It then opens up into a much flatter valley with larches, incredible in late September with golden colors and a super view of the 10 peaks. The flat valley gradually opens to a slight incline over a km or two until you reach some lakes, one at the base of Sentinal Pass. When I went in the morning on Sunday Sept 23/18, Banff area had a week of rain/snow and there was fresh snow that fell that night. I did use my microspikes due to the snow/ice up the pass (I also had poles), and it made the trek far far easier. The incline up the pass is steeper in parts with scree slope down the sides but looks worse at a distance than it is. Having the right equipment makes it very easily managed although some people were going up the pass with just sneakers but were slipping and sliding more. Most people that went stopped at the lakes and did not go up the pass that day due to all the snow/ice and poor traction. Extremely busy on a weekend in later September (larch season) shows just how manageable this trail is for most anyone. Go on a clear day for outstanding views and have the right equipment just in case. The weather can change as you go up, too. It was raining as we went up, changing to snow but luckily cleared by the time we got to the top rewarding us with great views. Enjoy this classic hike that will make you want to get out even more!

hiking
23 days ago

Did this hike mid-sept and it was outstanding. Great views thru Larch Valley and even better when you get up the scree path (steep, but not scary, nor dangerous) at Sentinel Pass. We stopped there and did not go on to Temple Mtn because that started to get too steep for us.

hiking
23 days ago

Such a beautiful hike and great views from the pass. There was lots of fresh snow on the hike from the larch valley up to the pass, micro spikes for your hiking boots are really a must in these conditions and on that type of slope.

25 days ago

A-ma-zing. Even with bad weather (snow today) very well worth the trip. The last part, to Sentinel pass, is quite icy...so watch your step.

26 days ago

We did this hike today and it was nothing short of amazing! If you decide to go up to sentinel pass make sure you have proper gear. It is very icy coming back down and if you slip it’s a long way down!

27 days ago

We did this as part of a Loop : parked midway up Moraine lake road at the Paradise Valley parking lot (first we dropped off bicycles at Moraine Lake). We hiked paradise valley to Sentinel Pass, then over the pass and Larch valley to Moraine lake road. Then we biked back to the car. It was about 21km of hiking and 950m elevation but it was just gorgeous! Paradise Valley in particular was breathtaking.

hiking
29 days ago

Wonderful hike. A little tough up the scree path to the Pass, but not too bad and the views at Sentinel Pass are worth it. One of my favorite hikes.

1 month ago

This trail is well-trafficked and it’s clear why. The views at the top of the pass are absolutely spectacular! Be prepared for changing weather conditions on the way up, as it was sunny when we started, started snowing lightly midway up, and was snowing a bit harder up at the pass. Because of the heavy foot traffic, the trail is easy to follow. The elevation increases quickly at the start and at the end on the switchbacks up to the pass, but the middle of the trail is easy to manage. Overall, incredibly beautiful and well worth the effort!

hiking
1 month ago

The most beautiful hike of my life from start to finish. Started by doing the short flat lakeside trail around the lake, then up and up all the man switchbacks. It’s a challenging hike for the grade, and takes about an hour to an hour and a half if you’re young and in shape, but well worth your efforts. The view at the top is a perfect scene with the Ten Mountains peaks being a feast for the eyes! I recommend a later hike as the trail clears out and when you get to the bottom the light causes a great reflection of the surrounding mountains on the lake.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked to Larch Valley. The view of Ten Peaks is well worth the effort. You won't get much solitude because of heavy trail use. Definitely a challenging trail because of the steep grade.

1 month ago

Hiked to Larch Valley. Definitely one of the best views of Ten Peaks - worth the steep climb, assuming it's a clear day!

hiking
1 month ago

Best hike in Banff hands down - must do on a clear day. Try and go early, the trail is empty and Lake Moraine is best in the morning. Seeing all 10 peaks from Larch Valley is unforgettable.

hiking
1 month ago

Excellent trail - we started around 9 and it took us just over two hours to ascend to the top. There was snow coverage and quite a bit of ice. It is very windy at the top of the pass so make sure you wear a good jacket! The descent was a little tougher than the ascent because we didn't bring poles with us. We had good hiking boots, but next time we'd definitely go back with poles for a quicker descent.

1 month ago

Amazing! We started at Lake Moraine and hiked up to the switchbacks at the pass. The meadow at the top was gorgeous. We couldn’t make it up the switchbacks because it was too icy and we had no gear (you’d need poles at least), but it was still an awesome hike.

1 month ago

Made it to the meadow and started up the switchbacks but wasn’t prepared enough for the slippery snow/ice to make it very far. Definitely was still worth going that far for the scenery though.

1 month ago

Awesome hike if you’re looking for something super scenic but are not the best hiker out there.

hiking
1 month ago

loved the larch meadows in fall.

1 month ago

We did this hike this morning, and not a lot of smoke at all. Great view from the top. Relatively steep at the beginning and very end, but otherwise, it’s not too difficult. Started the hike at 6:50AM, and got down at 10:40AM hiking at a moderate pace, and 20 minutes at the top. It was chilly, so I’d recommend bringing a warm coat and a hat!

hiking
1 month ago

If you are an experienced hker, this is a moderate trail. The tiring part is the first switchback to the valley due to the elevation gain. The switchback trail to the pass is wide enough and not terribly steep. The pass is definitely worth the views. We started just before 9am and there were a few people on the trail. It was much more crowded on the way back. It took us a little over 4.5 hours to complete the hike.

1 month ago

Definitely difficult with all those switchbacks and then the final push before Sentinel, but just as everyone says, totally worth it. Went last week. It’s a bit smoky out there right now, washing out a lot of mountain backdrops, but I’m glad we went!

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