Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Skoki Mountain Loop Trail is a 23.4 mile moderately trafficked loop 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 July until September. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Length 23.4 mi Elevation gain 5,892 ft Route type Loop

Dog friendly

Backpacking

Camping

Cross country skiing

Hiking

Horseback riding

Nature trips

Bird watching

Forest

Lake

River

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Snow

Description
Waypoints (0)

Permits must be obtained by all backcountry visitors and no random camping is permitted. Please inform yourself about safe travel in bear country, hang all food and travel with bear spray at all times.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (86)
Photos (224)
Recordings (65)
Completed (170)
Evan William
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jul 07 2020
BackpackingFloodedMuddySnow

Great hike, and lots of folks on this trail. Spent a couple nights out here in early July. Lots of snow once you get into skoki valley but passable because the snow is hard. Lots of the scrambles in the area are not recommended because of waste deep and melting snow on the routes to the summits.

Anita Hildebrandt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Jun 29 2020
MuddySnowWashed out

I have been on this trail before and it was magnificent! I just attempted to go threw Skoki Mountain Approach yesterday and you CANNOT GET THREW! There is way too much snow (up to waist deep) and streams which have covered the path. It is not passible at the waterfall at all. I wouldn't go on this part of the trail until late July.

David Lamontagne
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Oct 11 2019
HikingMuddySnow

the views were amazing! I definitely recommend this trail to anyone. I did the loop in three days. slept at Baker lake the first night and Merlin meadows the second day. I did the loop at the end of June but I'd recommend to go later. The weather was a lot colder than I expected and there was still a lot of snow at higher altitude and the trails were really muddy at lower altitude.

Mike Harris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Oct 06 2019
BackpackingSnow

Absolutely an amazing hike. didn't enjoy the 4k hike up the service road to start but awesome beyond that. night 1 at Red Deer Lakes, night 2 at merlin meadows. great day hike opportunities as options if you want more mileage. it was pretty cold at night but that is what you get in october!

Daniel Linderman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Sep 21 2019
Hiking

Sep 21, chilly in the evening. We camped at baker lake. you can reserve a spot online. No campfire and there are poles to hang food. beautiful with the tamaracks turning colour!

View Daniel's Recording
Evelyn K
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Sep 21 2019
HikingRocky
View Evelyn's Recording
Ryan Myers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Sep 13 2019
HikingMuddyNo shade

Three days (Sept 13-15) and two nights (Baker Lake then Merlin Meadows). I would rate this hike as medium (not hard) because there are no inclines/declines that seemingly last forever. The bulk of the elevation is done before you get to Ptarmigan Lake, unless you scramble to the top of Skoki Mountain. As such, this would be a great introduction to backcountry hiking. THE GOOD: I didn't encounter 1 mosquito the entire trip. With a high of 10 and a low of -2, I just needed a light rain jacket and long johns under my pants while hiking. The larches are already turning yellow, which make for some stunning sights beside orange shrubs, grey peaks, green pines and at least one blue lake (via Packers Pass). I agree with other comments that Packer's Pass is well worth it. That was the most interesting part of the three days with the lakes, glacier, mini cliff and terrain. THE BAD: The downside of going Merlin Meadows before Baker Lake is that it's more difficult to make it to Skoki Lodge for the 2-4pm appies and beer. I left Edmonton at 6am and passed the lodge at 6pm on my way to the campsite. Also, going down the 10m cliff in Packer's Pass after the two lakes can be tough to spot from the top. You need to go down to the left towards the waterfall and under a large rock. I imagine going up the rock face is more obvious. For three days in the Rockies, you don't arrive at any distinct lookouts since most of the elevation is done on the road and the hike up to Ptarmigan Lake. There are still spectacular views from the valley floor and the odd ridge, but there is no pinnacle moment without scrambling and, to be honest, I'm too scared to scramble the peaks in that area! Between Merlin Meadows and Baker Lake via Red Deer Lakes, the trail is quite muddy from horse tracks.

Hugh Yar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Sep 01 2019
HikingMuddyNo shadeSnowWashed out
View Hugh's Recording
Eric Kang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Aug 29 2019
HikingBugs

Amazing views and well worth the effort. Serene environment away from the busy trails of Lake Louise and Banff. It’s true what they say about the mosquitoes, they truly come alive in these areas especially in merlin meadows campground and baker lake. We used a thermacell, it took a while to work but it kept them away. We took deception pass on the way back to fish creek parking lot. It was quite an adventure as the trail is not clearly marked, follow the cairns, once you reach the waterfall, the trail goes up through the rocks, literally at the left of the waterfall. The trail will essentially lead you up to two lakes, and one lake is beneath a glacier, hike up to the pass and then you’ll see Ptarmigan lake. No photos and words could describe the majestic waterfalls, crystal blue glacier waters and wildlife you’ll encounter on this hike. Pause and take in the wonder, it’s a gift presented to those who seek it.

Robert Turner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 21 2019
Hiking

Great scenery, great weather. very few slightly muddy spots. Done with two kids (12+14yrs), they loved it too.

View Robert's Recording
Dominica Schmid-Schmidsfelden
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 18 2019
Hiking

Hike out

View Dominica's Recording
Dominica Schmid-Schmidsfelden
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarWed Jul 17 2019
Hiking

Oyster lake try out

View Dominica's Recording
Dominica Schmid-Schmidsfelden
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarTue Jul 16 2019
Hiking

Getting lost in the valley

View Dominica's Recording
William Cooper
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 06 2019
HikingBugsMuddyRocky

Description from July 2nd - 4th. The service road is pretty gruelling and nothing to see along the way. People do get lucky and get a ride from the Skoki bus. Most of the elevation is gained here. Plus side is that even in rain this trail drains well and doesn’t soak the feet/get slippy. Trail heading to halfway hut is currently wet and muddy in parts, streams and creeks running high. Halfway hut is a welcome rest, great views and a place to grab a snack and gather creek water. Couple of trails leading across the streams but stay on the main trail towards hidden lake to save any unnecessary wet boots! Little leg burner up towards ptarmigan lake, trail is mainly wet and muddy still. Most of which can be avoided with a bit of side stepping. Few snow patches lingering at the base of ptarmigan lake, nothing to worry about. Trail is rocky and really beat up from the horses, some spots heavily waterlogged. Mosquitos really come alive here! Mainly flat from here on in to baker lake, wet and muddy sections most of the way. Great views entering baker lake, mostly downhill and flat for the reminder of the hike in. Baker lake campground is very cosy, we got particularly lucky as a group must of cancelled and thus meant only another couple stayed. 2/10 spots taken! Water source is from the lake, nice eating areas and outhouses are fine (bring tissue). Couple of tent pads view the lake. No fires allowed. This camp site seems to have an abundance of wildlife, watch out for the porcupines, had 2 very bold ones hanging out near the tents and eating areas. My suggestion the same as others is hang your boots, I hung mine from the inside of my porch area and they didn’t bother to look. Bear poles to hang gear/food are in good shape. Look out for the mountain goats on the cliffs. Take in the sunset and morning reflections on this lake if you’re lucky with weather! Baker lake to Merlin meadows is a pleasant hike, barely any elevation gained, walking mostly with sprawling views of the meadows and the mountain range. Does cut into the trees eventually and it’s a very dense area. Make lots of noise here. Trail was mainly wet/dry not too much mud. Wet and muddy trails heading into Skoki Lodge. It’s open from 2pm to 4pm for non guests. Serves beer, coffee and snacks. Interesting place to see for sure. Merlin meadows camp ground is a little rundown to say the least, no tent pads, water source is a small creek area, two fire pit areas, deadfall only but very little deadfall sufficient to have a lasting fire. Perhaps parks stock it at some point? Poorly signposted, eating area is fine. Outhouses are a little beat up, bear poles are in a bit of a state, I used the ones directly opposite the main entrance and most were tangled, jammed, clips missing...etc there was another set of poles which may be better? Bring a few extra clips I’d say. Not much in the way of views at this site either. Heading back out towards deception Pass was fairly wet and muddy still, the pass itself is nothing steep, no scree. Trail is pretty wet, drains well being mostly rock, views could be had here but we had nearly whiteout conditions so I can’t comment. Few minor snow patches around. The trail is all downhill essentially from the top of the Pass, the service road sure is a slog to finish up. It never ends! Overall a pretty interesting and diverse loop. Many side hikes to do such as Merlin Lakes and Hidden Lake, few very accessible peaks as well. It rained/snowed the last day so couldn’t explore those but heard very good things about all! Will be back to explore next season

Nathan Bonslaver
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jun 19 2019
Hiking

Myself and two others did a 3 day, 2 night backpacking trip on this trail. We planned on doing Baker Lake then Merlin Meadows campsites, but ended up doing Hidden Lake Campsite the second night because of the weather. Incredible trail, but we ran into whiteout conditions, 4ft of snow, and below freezing temperatures in late June 2019. Apparently Canada only experiences summer for the month of August. So, if you choose to do the trail in the spring, you must take GoreTex Gators (can be rented at a sports shop in Lake Louise. Crampons would even be helpful on the mountains and passes. The trail can be hard to see when it's heavily snowing. All in all, the greatest and worst 3 days of my life at the same time. Know what you're getting yourself into if you choose to do it in spring. Mountain weather is completely different from the weather just down in the town of Lake Louise. It was 60 and sunny in the town while it was 40 and snowing on the trail. Most beautiful views I've ever seen. It's inspired me to do more.

View Nathan's Recording
Mallorie M.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 16 2019
HikingMuddyRockyScramble

We did a modified version of this 2-night, 3-day hike June 16 - 18 of this year. It was amazing. I suspect that we hit the sweet spot of time of year. The snow had just melted so short gaiters were sufficient, it was warm but not too warm, and there were no bugs! The forecast was thunderstorms and snow, so we booked two nights at Baker Lake, figuring that if the weather was bad, we would just do a day hike on the second day, rather than having to take down our tent in the rain. The first day we hiked in to Baker Lake. For camp, make sure you bring rope to tie up your trekking poles and boots. The porcupines are such pests, they will definitely eat anything that has your sweat (salt) on it. Baker Lake has bear poles to hang up your food, so bring a sturdy waterproof bag so your stuff doesn’t get wet. The second day we left our big packs behind and took the Grass Creek and Jones’ Pass trails to Skoki Lodge and from there climbed Skoki Mountain. The hike up the mountain is quite steep and the rocks are loose - make sure your footwear is sturdy and a hiking stick or trekking poles are very helpful. Above the treeline, it’s really easy to lose the trail. Actually the trail recommended on this map is very steep and frankly dangerous, so you’re better off to just follow the longer trail marked by cairns. We hiked back to Baker Lake - it was approximately a 20 km day. The third day we hiked back to the trailhead. The only thing we missed with this route is Merlin Lake, but you can see it from the top of Skoki. The trail is about 3 km from the Samson Mall. You can take the Lake Louise Gondola Shuttle and walk from the Gondola chalet, but it’s still a few kms to get to the trailhead. You’re better off driving there yourself (there’s a large parking lot at the trailhead) or hitch hiking.

Justin Szumlas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Oct 20 2018
Backpacking

I would recommend crampons and poles, be mindful of avalanches this time of the year as well. Expect to be breaking trail if you do the whole loop. View from Skoki Mountain is definitely worth the effort.

Showing results 1 - 17 of 86