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5 to 6 hours / 11.5K return

Elevation Gain



Trailhead: Park at the Chateau Lake Louise parking lot at Lake Louise. Trail head is located on the west side of the parking lot towards Lake Louise. Banff National Park.


Description: Follow the well worn Saddleback trail as it slowly gains elevation through and old growth forest leading towards Saddleback Junction and Fairview Mountain. As you gain elevation the views of the Bow Valley below you will refresh your energy.

The crosses a few avalanche slopes before entering the lower meadows below the Saddleback. Work your way up the scenic switchbacks that climb over the headwall to Saddleback Junction. From here you can continue on to Fairview Mountain or drop down Sheol Valley to Paradise Valley.

Fairview Mountain will be in clear view to your right. It’s a lot higher then it looks from the junction and is a good example of false summits. Expect another 460m of elevation above what you see. Follow the trail leading towards the bottom of Mount Fairview. Once you’re on the scree the trail starts to braid in several places due to hikers wearing poor footwear. Stay on worn sections or choose a safe route to the top keeping in mind you need to descend the same way. Once you arrive at the summit you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Mount Temple, Haddo Peak, Mount Aberdeen, Mount Victoria, Lake Louise and the Bow Valley.

You’ll also find a metal plaque bolted to a large boulder warning you to return the same way down the Saddleback trail. Take this sign seriously, several hikers have tried to shortcut the route by descending the Northeast ridge only to find themselves stranded above high cliffs and awaiting a rescue the next day. Mount Fairview holds it snow well into July. Mountaineering experience is necessary for early season attempts. Expect to see crowds of people here during the summer months. This Is Bear Country.

Bow Valley Parkway Map PDF

Items Reviewed - 1

5.0Very Good
Mark Townsend

Long day hike but well worth the effort. Great views of the Bow Valley below.

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