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4 to 6 hours / 18K return

Elevation Gain



Trailhead: Park at the Glacier Lake trail head parking lot across from the Saskatchewan Crossing Resort. Approximately 77kms north of Lake Louise on the Icefields Parkway. Banff National Park.


Description: Locate the trail head on the back side of the parking lot. Within 1Km you will reach the foot bridge that crosses the North Saskatchewan River. Cross the bridge and continue on another 1.2kms until you reach the Howse River View Point. Interesting to note that David Thompson who led a group of fur traders camped at this very spot for several days in 1807.

From this historical viewpoint you can see Howes Pass, Mount Murchison, Mount Outram, the Sir James Glacier and the beautifully colored Howes River. Follow the trail to your right as it drops down towards the river. The trail meanders upstream along the banks of the Howes River for another 2Kms or so then enters a lush spruce, fir and pine forest. Lots of wildflowers and mushrooms can be found on this section of the trail.

In approximately 4.5kms you’ll reach a signed trail junction that points towards Glacier Lake Campground. The trail splits here towards Glacier Lake and the dangerous Howes River crossing that joins the historic Howse Pass Trail part of the great divide trail. From the junction it’s a short distance down to Glacier Lake. Glacier Lake is the fourth largest lake in Banff National Park. It is 4.6kms long and .9kms wide.

The lake is fed from the massive Lyell Glacier that is whispering your name 8.5kms west of here. It’s very tempting to continue on towards the Lyell Glacier however it would be a very long day trip, 36kms return. If you’re spending the night at Glacier Lake campground a trip to the Lyell Glacier is a must or better yet you can overnight near the glacier.

There is an old log cabin located within the Glacier Lake Campground that is still in use. The cabins door is missing so in the middle of the night you might be sharing it with local wildlife. The backcountry campground has a few picnic tables located near the lakes shore and there are several flat spots for a tent. Expect it to be windy here as it is located at the east end of the lake below the Lyell Icefields Valley. This Is Bear Country.

Bow Valley Parkway Map PDF

Items Reviewed - 1

Mark Townsend

Beautiful lake with a nice backcountry campground.

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