Egypt Lake to Twin Lakes Backpacking Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
3-4 days
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
38.6 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
1,865 m
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Directions to Trailhead
Egypt Lake to Twin Lakes Backpacking Trail

Choosing the Egypt Lake to Twin Lakes route is a great way to dive into Banff’s expansive backcountry without settling for a single destination. Many hikers stop at Egypt Lake as it is one of the most sought-after destinations in the area, but continuing to Twin Lakes connects multiple passes, alpine lakes, and incredible wildflower meadows along the route. This is a must-do.

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Route Description for Egypt Lake to Twin Lakes Backpacking Trail

The Egypt Lake to Twin Lakes route is an excellent option for those looking to extend their route to Egypt Lake and avoid an out-and-back trip by creating a one-way point-to-point route. These campsites must be reserved in advance due to their popularity. We recommend doing this trip over three days; however, there are many other options if you would like to customize the route to meet your needs.

Our itinerary suggests that hikers begin at Sunshine Village and proceed to Egypt Lake campground for the first night and Twin Lakes campground for the second night. The trip will finish at the Vista Lake parking lot on the 93S highway. Hikers will need to leave a second vehicle at this trailhead or arrange a shuttle for their return.

Starting at Sunshine Village, you will make your way up Healy Creek, crossing multiple avalanche paths that may leave debris behind into the early summer. Fireweed is abundant in these areas due to the turned-up soil and break in the forest. There will be a junction at 5.0 km to your left that leads to Simpson Pass. Stay on the main trail and come to a campground around 6km, which is commonly used for those looking to lessen their daily distance and those travelling with children.

Continue through the forest, admiring the views as they appear through slight openings. You will reach a second junction for Simpson Pass as the trail opens up and leaves the forest. The main trail will lead you up through wildflower meadows to Healy Pass. Enjoy a break at the pass and expect views of the stunning Monarch Ramparts, the Ball Range, Egypt Lake and surrounding peaks, lakes, creeks, and meadows. Descend the pass, following switchbacks to Pharaoh Creek, where you will cross a footbridge. After the footbridge, you will find yourself at the campground.

Our itinerary will take you over the high route along Whistling Pass and through the Whistling Valley for better views and more exciting trails.

Set up camp and be sure to explore the roughly 1km trail to Egypt Lake. There are endless options for exploration here, which is why this area is so popular. Day two will take hikers to Twin Lakes campground. Two routes will take you to your destination. One is a high route that climbs Whistling Pass before descending into Whistling Valley to reach Shadow Lake and climb Gibbon Pass to reach Twin Lakes. The other option is a low route that follows the mild Pharaoh Creek trail through the forest in the valley to the Red Earth Creek junction before reaching Shadow Lake to then climb Gibbon Pass on route to Twin Lakes.

Pick your route, high or low, depending on how it feels and make sure you have a map in hand. Once you have reached Twin Lakes for your second night on the trail, relax and enjoy the views before your final day. Day three will be spent descending from Upper Twin Lake to Arnica and Vista Lakes before a final short climb to the parking lot.

Sample Itinerary:

  • Day 1
    Trailhead to Egypt Lake Campground
    Distance: 12.3 km
    Elevation gain: 708 m
    Campground: Egypt Lake E13
  • Day 2
    Egypt Lake to Twin Lakes
    Distance: 19.7 km
    Elevation gain: 824 m
    Campground: Twin Lakes Tw7
  • Day 3
    Twin Lakes to Trailhead
    Distance: 6.7 km
    Elevation gain: 271 m
    Campground: N/A

Getting to the Egypt Lake to Twin Lakes Backpacking Trail Trailhead

To get to the Egypt Lake trailhead, take the Trans-Canada Highway westbound from the Town of Banff. Take the exit for Sunshine Village and follow the access road until you reach the parking lot. Walk around the right side of the main gondola station and lodge to the rear parking lot, where you will find a trail sign for Healy Pass on the left under the gondola line.

Route Information

  • When to do

    July-September

  • Backcountry Campsites

    Egypt Lake E13, Ball Pass Junction Re21, Twin Lakes Tw7

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    One Way

Egypt Lake to Twin Lakes Backpacking Trail Elevation Graph

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