I had always wanted to see the Larch Valley in Banff National Park in its golden splendor. Although I had been to the Larch Valley previously, it was in August and you don’t realize what you’re missing in the Autumn. I’m glad I went as it would be among my best ever visits to the Canadian Rockies. Amazing and beautiful! And crowded too!
Whenever you visit the Canadian Rockies at the end of September, you could have early Winter conditions or warm, Spring-like days. There was snow and cold the week before our visit but we was lucky to arrive to sunny skies. The Moraine Lake parking lot was full early so we had to take the shuttle from the Lake Louise overflow campground along the Trans Canada Highway. Make sure you give yourself time as there may be a wait for the shuttle both ways.
We’ll start here, on the edge of Moraine Lake facing the Tower of Babel.
After a series of switchbacks, and 500 meters of elevation gain, we arrive to the Larch Valley and the golden colour.
A perfect place for a break, facing Deltaform and Neptuak Mountains on the left. These are numbers 8 and 9 in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. This was the last day of September and many people were dressed in light Summer clothing.
Eiffel Peak is prominent in the Larch Valley. Let’s take a closer look…
The mountain looks intriguing. One day I’ll return to climb Eiffel Peak 🙂
Another popular resting spot with Wenkchemna Pass in the distance. Earlier, we passed a junction with the trail leading to Wenkchemna Pass. It’s supposed to be a less crowed option to see the golden larches.
Through the Golden Larches, this is Pinnacle Mountain, a technical climb.
Facing Mount Temple which I climbed in 2011. That was another memorable day! For more, please read My Hike to the Summit of Mount Temple, Banff National Park.
With Pinnacle Mountain on the left and Mount Temple on the right, in the center is Sentinel Pass, a very popular hike. The trail to Sentinel Pass from Moraine Lake is 12 kilometers return with 732 meters in elevation gain.
A very happy me 🙂
Mount Temple is on the right.
If Pinnacle Mountain didn’t look like a technical climb earlier, it sure does here.
One of the pools known as Minestimma Lakes would be our destination for the day. Many hikers continued to Sentinel Pass.
The first section of our return was along a lesser used trail that descended to the right of the pool or small lake below and then right to the main trail. This amazing view faces the Valley of the Ten Peaks with Mount Fay with the glacier and snow below the peak, Mount Babel is on the left and Mount Little and Mount Bowden are on the right.
A favourite view of majestic Mount Fay.
One more view of Pinnacle Mountain.
Back to Mount Fay.
Another favourite view with Mount Babel and the Golden Larches.
One last view of the Golden Larches.
You won’t get much of a view of Moraine Lake from the trail. I would advise going early and climbing the short trail from the parking lot to the lookout. The light is better in the morning than later in the day.
I hope you enjoyed this post of one of my most scenic hikes ever. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
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