BANFF – Sentinel Pass via Larch Valley near Moraine Lake

Ok, so let’s be honest. BANFF is as beautiful as every photo you see online, but it’s also really, really packed. We did one power day in BANFF, then moved on to K Country and Canmore hikes, which are similarly stunning and challenging, but less busy. If you’re going to do one thing in BANFF, check out Moraine Lake and hikes around it. We waited and went late morning / early afternoon because we read that it was largely impossible to find parking in the AM unless you got there by 4am or some other ungodly hour. We hiked around Moraine Lake, Lake Louise (which is somewhat ruined by the massive hotel stuck on it), and up Sentinel Pass via Larch Valley. This hike is moderate, and was easy for us to complete in 3.5 to 4 hours, even with a break at the top. The best part about it is that you get to see Moraine Lake’s famous turquoise waters while getting lots of views of the Valley of the Ten Peaks (both from the top and throughout the trail; however note that although you start the trail at Moraine Lake, you only see it through the trees for a short period near the bottom of the trail). One awesome thing about BANFF, like all Canadian parks, is that dogs are allowed on all trails.

Moraine Lake BANFF Canada TravelSages
Moraine Lake – Where you start the hike.


Sentinel Pass via Larch Valley Hike Valley of Ten Peaks BANFF
Sentinel Pass via Larch Valley hike with view of the Ten Peaks.


Top of Sentinel Pass via Larch Valley Hike Valley of Ten Peaks BANFF
Views from Sentinel Pass back toward Valley of the Ten Peaks.


Top of Sentinel Pass via Larch Valley Hike Valley of Ten Peaks BANFF Odin
Odin and I at the top of Sentinel Pass.


About the author

Lauren is a 'digital nomad' (for lack of a less obnoxious term) who works, lives, and travels out of her truck camper with her partner, Patrick, and dog, Odin, the one-eyed Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. She started TravelSages in the summer of 2013, and has since founded a digital marketing consultancy, called LyteYear, and a sustainability brand, called RePrint. Before moving into her tiny mobile home, Lauren lived in Chicago for 6 years, pursued two graduate degrees, studied abroad at Oxford, worked for a summer in Hong Kong, and traveled to various countries in between. She has a mildly unhealthy love of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Netflix, and breweries with good New England IPAs.


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