Optional pre and post trip accommodation packages are available from $80 per person per night for shared room lodging ($160 for single occupancy). Purchase with booking. Subject to availability.
How difficult is it?
How fit and experienced need you be?
This backpacking series is designed for all levels of experience with beginners encouraged to join us for the first trip to the Egypt Lake Circuit and then continue on with the more strenuous Rockwall South trip and finally the challenging Kananaskis Alpine Loop. These trips are designed to be hiked in sequence with each program increasing the difficulty of the trail and distances/elevation travelled.
By keeping personal gear light, pack weights need not exceed 14kg (32lbs) on the 1st backpacking day, thereafter weights drop as we eat through our food supplies and burn fuel. Please read our Travelling Light & Making Backpacking More Fun for information and suggestions for clothing and equipment.
Prior hiking experience is not a prerequisite for any of these departures, but is recommended for the Kananaskis Alpine Loop. Participants must be in good physical condition and be able to carry a backpack over hilly terrain for a succession of days.
Long Weekend Backpack Series
The Canadian Rockies surrounding Banff and Canmore offer some of the best backpacking of anywhere in the World! In order to better showcase some of these incredible routes and locations, Yamnuska is happy to offer our Long Weekend Backpacking Series. We choose a from a variety of different Easy, Moderate, and Challenging backpacking itineraries each summer to help guests get out and enjoy the wonders of the Canadian Rockies!
Designed for those who do not have the time for one of our longer trips, or just want to get out and give backpacking a try for the first time, this progression of programs will have hikers enjoying the sense of remoteness and beauty that comes from stepping into the vast wilderness of these wonderful mountains.
This summer we highlight three of our favourite parks: Banff National Park, Kootenay National Park and the local secret: Kananaskis Country! Come and join us for a brief brush with the wild side of these Rocky Mountains and enjoy the ambiance that backcountry camping and hiking has to offer!
Egypt Lake Circuit (Banff National Park - Easy):
Day 1: Sunshine Parking Area to Healy Creek Campsite
At 8:00am we meet at the Yamnuska Mountain Adventures office in Canmore. We then drive to the trailhead (45 min) through the eastern gate of Banff National Park and up the Sunshine access road. The trail begins at the Sunshine Village lower base station and leads up through sub-alpine forests along Healy Creek to our first campsite. Distance 5.5km. Elevation gain 275m.
Day 2: Healy Creek to Egypt Lake Campground
We continue up into the alpine along Healy Creek and into the flower speckled meadows that blanket the slopes around Healy Pass (2330m). From this brilliant viewpoint we can see into the wilds of British Columbia extending south and west along the continental divide. The trail continues down into the lush Alpine valley that surrounds a number of beautiful crystal clear mountain lakes. We base ourselves out of the Egypt Lake campsite, enjoy a relaxing lunch and then have the entire afternoon to explore and enjoy the multitude of trails that radiate out from the campsite. Distance 6.9km. Elevation gain 380m, loss 335m.
Day 3: Egypt Lake to Redearth Creek Trailhead
Today is our longest day, but it's all downhill from here! With light packs we turn our backs to the lakes and meadows surrounding Egypt Lake and begin our descent back to civilization. Following Pharaoh Creek we hike through forests of Lodge pole pine and White Spruce. Reaching the Redearth Creek junction we find ourselves on a wide path that allows us to easily complete the last few kilometres to our vehicles. Distance 19.2km. Elevation loss 595m.
Rockwall South (Kootenay National Park - Moderate):
Day 1: Numa Falls Picnic Area to Numa Creek Campsite
At 8:00am we meet at the Yamnuska Mountain Adventures office in Canmore. After introductions and distributing group gear and food, we drive through Banff and Kootenay National Parks to our trailhead at the Numa Falls Picnic area. From here the trail snakes up the Numa Creek valley through a lush western slope forest carpeted in green moss. We reach the connection with the main Rockwall Highline trail by lunch and it is just a quick half kilometre to our campsite at Numa Creek for the night. Distance 6.9km. Elevation gain 100m.
Day 2: Numa Creek to Floe Lake
This is the pass crossing day! With our sights set on the alpine, we make our way up to the stunning Numa Pass from which we will have a beautiful panorama of the mountain peaks of the main Rockies range to the East and our goal, Floe Lake just to the South glittering like a turquoise gem beneath the imposing face of the Rockwall. Once we have reached the pass it is a relaxing hike through the alpine meadows to our campsite at Floe Lake. Distance 6.9km. Elevation gain 830m, loss 315m.
Day 3: Floe Lake to Highway 93
Today, our last day finds us enjoying a relaxed morning around the lake before packing up camp and hitting the trail for the last time. Winding down the Floe Creek valley, we descend through lush sub-alpine forest that eventually gives way to the remains of the 2003 Verendrye Forest Fire. Charred trees provide opportunities to view the surrounding peaks and valleys of this beautiful range. The fire weed and alpine wild flowers carpet the forest floor. Distance 10.5km. Elevation loss 715m.
Kananaskis Alpine Loop (Kananaskis Lakes Country - Challenging):
Day 1: Upper Kananaskis Lake to Aster Lake Campsite
Meet in Canmore at 8:00 am. After issuing food and gear we pack up and then drive south along the spectacular Smith-Dorrien highway to Kananaskis Lakes which will take just over an hour. We enjoy a leisurely hike around the Upper Lake for 5.5 km before striking into the forest towards Hidden Lake and the high country surrounding it. Working around Hidden Lake we reach the trail that climbs high above Foch Creek to take us into the high alpine basins above. We camp by Aster Lake, one of the prettiest alpine lakes in the region. Distance: 11 km, total elevation gain: 575 meters.
Day 2: Aster Lake to Three Isle Lake via Northover Ridge
We'll increase the tempo today with a traverse of the exposed Northover Ridge and the potential of climbing 3003m Mount Northover on the way. The views are fantastic in a 360 degree panorama of all the surrounding wilderness. From the end of the ridge we drop down to Three Isle Lake where we camp back near tree line. Distance 11.3km, total elevation gain and loss: 700m.
Day 3: Three Isle Lake to Upper Kananaskis Lake
This, our last day will be a relaxing trek through the Kananaskis River valley and around the Upper Kananaskis Lake. After hiking down the headwall from last night's camp, we hit the valley bottom at the convergence of three streams called the "Forks". This area is rich in both beautiful montane wildflowers and local wildlife. Distance 10km. Elevation loss 300m.
Private Departures and Family Trips:
Departures can be set up on a private basis for individuals, families, or groups, and we can organize to leave the trip open for more people to join. Trips that we have confirmed and are open to more guests will be listed to the right, but check back often to see if any new departures have been added. Please contact us if you would like to arrange your own departure and we will be happy to provide you with a quote based on your group's size and trip options.
Meeting Place and Time
We will meet you at our Yamnuska Mountain Adventures office at 8:00 am the morning of Day 1. We'll go over the trip with you and check to see that you are properly outfitted.
Our office is located at 200, 50 Lincoln Park, Canmore. See this map for location.
Please ensure that you have your hiking equipment with you.
Accommodation and Meals
On the trail you will be staying in modern, lightweight 2 and 3-person weather-proof tents.
Accommodation in Canmore is not included. For your convenience we can arrange hotel accommodations in Canmore for $160 per night. Double or single occupancy, the cost is the same. This accommodation can be booked with the trip online or by calling us. Subject to availability.
You can also make your own arrangements. Check our links page for a range of Canmore accommodations.
Excess luggage can be left at your hotel or our office.
We supply all meals and trail snacks from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 3. Groups generally go out for dinner in Canmore with the guide on the final evening (own cost).
Trail cuisine is constructed from lightweight ingredients including our Yamnuska custom-made dehydrated dinners. Please specify any special dietary requirements you have on booking so we can incorporate them into our menus. A dietary surcharge will apply.
Guides and Group Size
Yamnuska Mountain Adventure guides are certified through the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. Our professional guides have extensive experience in the Canadian Rockies. Guides also have advanced wilderness first aid training and heritage interpretation accreditation. Guides carry emergency equipment including a first aid kit, bear spray and radio.
There will be a maximum of eight guests and a minimum of three.
Getting to Canmore and Transportation
Transportation is not included on these programs. We will rely on guest's vehicles to reach the trailhead for each hike. Yamnuska will provide a vehicle on the last day for pick-up when required on point-to-point hikes.
Canmore is situated 100km (65miles) west of Calgary on the Trans-Canada Highway. It is well served by scheduled bus lines both from Calgary (airport and downtown), Banff (20km west) and points further west. Calgary International Airport is well connected to major cities throughout North America and Europe.
Frequent shuttles connect Calgary International Airport and Canmore. Greyhound Bus Lines (1 800 661 8747) serves Canmore from points east and west along the Trans-Canada Highway. Call 609 8790, 609 0300, 609 1490 or 609 8505 for taxis in Canmore.
Clothing and Equipment
We supply group camping and cooking equipment plus a full emergency and first-aid kit. You will need to bring personal equipment (backpack, sleeping bag, etc.) and clothing. Yamnuska Mountain Adventures does have rental equipment such as sleeping bags, mats, and backpacks. Rental Gear List. Contact us in advance to reserve.
Please book as early as practical to avoid disappointment. We require full payment for each of these programs at the time of booking. We also offer a 10% discount for anyone who books two or more of the trips from this series in the same season.
For detailed Booking Instructions and Conditions, click here.
Please note that you will be required to sign our waiver before commencing the trip. Click here for waiver copy.
Please don't hesitate to contact us if you need to know anything else about this hike.
There are two basic types of insurance that most travelers need to consider: Medical and Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance. We offer our guests coverage for both and highly recommend you purchase it.
Emergency Medical Expenses Insurance:
It is wise to ensure that your health plan will cover you in case of illness or accident during your trip. Obtain extra coverage if necessary. There is no charge for rescue in the National and provincial Parks, however costs such as air or ground transportation, long term care and other services are not covered.
Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance:
We recognize that our guests’ schedules may change for many reasons; business, family, flight delays, injuries and other unplanned events. For these eventualities the Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance is a great way to protect your investment.
For all your travel insurance requirements we recommend the Simpson Group. This agency offers a wide range of travel insurance options including Trip Cancellation/Interruption, Travel Medical and Personal Effect Loss for Canadian and International Travelers. We highly recommend purchasing this insurance. For more information and to purchase a plan, visit the Simpson Group’s website.