First Come or Reserve
Trailhead: Park in the Paradise Valley trail head parking lot located 2.5kms from the start of the Moraine Lake road west of the Lake Louise Town site. Banff National Park.
Description: This is a backcountry hike in campground. The campground is generally closed from July to the end of August due to Grizzly bears in the area. This leaves a very short window for camping here. If it’s not snowed in, you only have a few week’s to do so. Interesting to note that on July 1st, 2013 I hiked in with a backcountry permit. Just after setting up my tent I was flown out by helicopter on the premise there was a Bear in the area.
Paradise Valley backcountry campsite is beautiful. Tent spots are wood framed level gravel pads with nearby food lockers, picnic tables and outhouses. The giant steps water falls are located next to the campsite and one of the nicest set of water falls in the parks. Lot’s to explore here. If you’re planning a trip into Paradise Valley you might want to consider leaving a vehicle at Moraine Lake so you can hike out over Sentinel Pass over Larch Valley to Moraine Lake. This would make for an unforgettable Rocky Mountain experience.
First section to Lake Annette is a shorter moderate day hike, 5.7km one way with an elevation gain of 245m, allow 3 to 4 hours return for Lake Annette. To avoid Grizzly encounters in this area Parks Canada has a mandatory “Hiking in groups of 4 or more required”.
From the Paradise Valley trail head follow the well groomed trail, within a few kilometers Paradise Valley will come into view and you’ll quickly see why it was named so. Views of Mount Temple and the valley ahead are stunning. Stay on the trail as it crosses a few wooden bridges over Paradise Creek then heads up towards Lake Annette. After a few hours of elevation gain, Lake Annette’s turquoise gem like colour will suddenly appear right at eye level. You’ll be standing just under a natural dam.
If you’re planning on continuing on towards the Giant Steps at the end of Paradise Valley this is an excellent spot to rest and eat lunch. From Lake Annette, follow the trail onward as it climbs higher through the subalpine forest. After another 1.5Km’s the trail enters the bottom talus slopes of Mount Temples west face. Magnificent views of Mount Hungabee and the end of Paradise Valley will keep you company as you hike along the bottom of Mount Temple’s towering cliffs. After a short distance you’ll arrive at a signed fork in the trail. From here, you can hike up to Sentinel Pass towards Moraine Lake or drop down 1.7kms towards the Giant Steps and Paradise Valley Back Country Campground.
If you’re planning to stay overnight book your campsite before the summer months. Access to Lake Louise may be by bus shuttle only. Check before heading out.