Sentinel Pass via Larch Valley Trail

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Banff National Park

Sentinel Pass via Larch Valley Trail is a 6.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from June until August. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length6.8 miElevation gain2,598 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashCampingHikingNature tripsBird watchingForestLakeRiverViewsWildflowersWildlifeMuddyScrambleSnow
Description
Waypoints (0)

Please see the park page here for information about current COVID-19 and road closures: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/banff/visit/covid-19-info The parking lot at Moraine Lake fills up early in the morning. Once it fills up, the park closes the road and makes people utilize the shuttle to reach the lake. To read more about the shuttle, please see https://roamtransit.com/2020/03/important-roam-service-information/ The Larch Valley is an amazing trail, but the final 1.5km to Sentinel Pass can get slippery if there is snow, so be prepared. The hike up to Larch Valley is short with consistent incline. The trail to the Sentinel Pass needs a little bit of effort. A good pair of hiking shoes, hiking poles and shoe cleats for snow are must haves. Temperature drops at the top so extra layers are highly recommended. Going down from the trail can be a bit challenging with the traffic of people going up. The trails are really narrow so patience and kindness are expected. Do not expect much social distancing!

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (1,228)
Photos (1,548)
Activities (834)
Completed (3,400)
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Landon Hayes
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Hiking

Worth all the work

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Veronica T
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Did this in October and it was wonderful. A lot of “bang for your buck”. Very very very busy. It felt like a mall during the holiday season. Go up to the pass. It was stunning. I had a nap in the sun at the top. Last year I’ll go back in early October to catch the larches in all of their glory.

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Michael Friesen
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HikingGreat!

One of our favourites! Completed at the end of August this year. Have to get to the lot early in order to get a spot, but the hike is totally worth sacrificing some sleep for. There’s a set of switchbacks about 1k into the hike that are a little mind numbing but after that the hike is beautiful. Trail is a little narrow is you near the top and was a little snowy when we went, so wouldn’t advise doing this much later in the year without proper gear. The top was very windy but the view was spectacular

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Arcel Haile
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HikingGreat!Icy

It was a fantastic snowy hiked! Trail was a little slippery.

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Louann Gagnon
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Hiking

Coup de CŒUR à Banff j'ai adoré ! Vous devez la faire absolument

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MMegaan Gendron
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Hiking

Belle randonnée! Beaucoup de smog dû au feu des USA. Mais, le sommet en vaux la peine

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Andreiv Blanc
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Hiking

awesome view totally worth it

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Krysten B.
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Jo Nanninga
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HikingGreat!

Oct 8/2020 Great views. Although missed the Larches by a week. It was brutally windy the last part but made it. I love the hike!

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Sam Kherani
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Marilyn Kehl
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Hiking

First third were moderate switchbacks up to the Larch Valley. Sadly the Larch Trees are no more for the season, I could see their needles all over the ground. Middle third pretty gradual incline as you approach the hike up to Sentinel Pass - great views of the valley and lake. Final third of switchbacks were easy to get to the pass. Great view! About 2 hours up, 1 hour 15 down (though I was moving fast on my way down to make up for taking my time taking photos). Temp was nice, minimal layers but 100% gloves. Enjoy!

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Jim McDonald
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HikingGreat!

Started at ten Lots of parking Save some energy for the last zig zag climb Went up in shorts n tee shirt once on top started to hail , very windy dress for the summit as you arrive or before Spectacular views not an easy trail but not too difficult if you pace yourself !

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Jonah Braaksma
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Daniel McQuillan
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Hiking

Busy, even on a weekday but parking at 9 am. The Larches are just about done for the season.

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Keanna Gerke
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HikingGreat!

Really gorgeous! We went last Saturday and had tried to get up early, but unfortunately the parking lot was full before 5:30am. Took the shuttle down at 8 and had an amazing hike! It was a sunny day& slight wind at the top. The last bit looks intimidating but isn’t as bad as it looks. Would recommend!!

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Shae Mo
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HikingGreat!Scramble

Oct 7,2020. We got there at 9am and the parking was half full. This is an amazing hike. The last 500 m looked very intimidating but it wasnt bad at all. The trail was pretty busy even tho it was a Wednesday. Trail was in great condition although it was raining the same morning.

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Margaret Markle
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HikingGreat!

Oct 6, 2020. Slight drizzle most of the day. We got there at 10 am and parked no problem. The valley was nice despite most of the larch needles had fallen off. We continued to sentinel pass and glad we did. Not that windy at the top and still a stunning view. Took only 4 hours 15 min and we are not that fast. Glad we did it.

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Jaelynn Sciotti
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Hiking

We went to the entrance at 5:20am and it was full. Was told to wait half hour so we did, and it was still full. We were then told to take the 8:00am shuttle from the overflow parking (we’d been up since 4:30am). The shuttle got us to Moraine Lake at around 8:20. The hike was very very busy so we constantly had to side step people , literally jam packed. Once we got to the valley it was beautiful but somewhat disappointing due to the larches has already lost 70% of their needles. The hike was nice but I wouldn’t do it again. Get there around 4:00am if you want to park.

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John Kingsley
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Hanna McNeill
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Hiking

Really touristy. We got there around 5:15 and parking lot stayed pretty empty until around 7. Still lots of spots when we left at 11. Larches are pretty naked but the walk through larch valley was pretty. Didn’t make it to the top due to blowing wind and rain and dense fog blocking any nice views. Would be much nicer on a sunny day!

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Chantelle Chornohus
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HikingGreat!

The larches have lost a lot of their needles and I expect almost all needles will be gone by mid week, but it was still gorgeous! We got there early as many previous reviewers suggested and there were already a decent amount of people on the trail (but nothing compared to the amount of people coming up on our way down). It took us about 3.5 hours with lots of photo stops.

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Laurie Courchesne
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Emilia Kuczma-Porębska
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Gillian Holly
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Marie Ancheta
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HikingScramble

Beautiful, breathtaking, amazing 360 degrees view to explore!!! My husband and I hiked this trail on October 3/20, at 6am the parking lot was full so we took the shuttle from the Lake Louise overflow parking Park and Ride. First bus leaves at 8am. Trekking poles and good hiking shoes are a MUST! The trails are steady incline zigzag and becomes narrow very steep scrambles after the second lake all the way to Sentinel Pass peak where you get to see the most awesome view of the valleys on both sides surrounded by mountain peaks and hoodoos! I highly recommend this trail.

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Amna Haque
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HikingGreat!

Beautiful, beautiful trail. Did this on Saturday Oct 3rd. The larches have lost some of their needles as the reviews suggest but it’s still beautiful up there. The morning was chilly and we started with gloves and jackets but within an hour it got really warm and it was summer tees for the rest of the hike.

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Anjana Brierton
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HikingGreat!

Love the hike this was my second hike here in Alberta Canada. I loved the larches valley, even though we were two weeks late they were still yellow bright needles and it looked like flame on trees after having a little break there we went up to the Sentinel pass I remember doing something like this as a child in India but this was amazing the view from up there was amazing spectacular I have no more words to say if you haven’t done this it’s a must do.

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Amanda McGarry
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HikingGreat!

Saturday oct 3- got to the parking lot around 4:30am, still lots or parking spots- started hiking around 8:30 which reduced the amount of people heading up. Larch valley is beautiful. If you head off the trail there is a small creek which is a beautiful spot for lunch. Well worth the views from sentinel pass. Hikes rockpile in the afternoon- great views of the lake. Very busy hike, not for those who want seclusion.

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