Giant Steps and Paradise Valley Backpacking Trail
Giant Steps and Paradise Valley Backpacking Trail

Giant Steps and Paradise Valley Backpacking Trail

Banff National Park
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Giant Steps and Paradise Valley Backpacking Trail

Giant Steps and Paradise Valley Backpacking Trail

Distance: 12.8mi
Elevation: 2,470ft
Time: 2 days

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This is an excellent trail for an overnight and can be modified to be made a bit more difficult. The Paradise Valley is a lesser-frequented area near Moraine Lake that offers stunning natural features such as Lake Annette and the Giant Steps. Bookings for this must be made by phone or at the Lake Louise Visitor Centre.

Giant Steps and Paradise Valley Backpacking Trail Map

Getting there

From Lake Louise Village take Lake Louise Drive towards the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and pass through the four-way stop. Continue over the small bridge and up the small hill until you see a sign for Moraine Lake on your left. Turn here and advise traffic controllers you will be using the Paradise Valley Trailhead. Once on Moraine Lake Road, drive 1.5mi until you reach the Paradise Valley parking lot on your right.

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When to do


Backcountry Campsites


Pets allowed

Yes - On Leash

Family friendly


Route Signage


Crowd Levels


Route Type

Out and back

Giant Steps and Paradise Valley Backpacking Trail
Elevation Graph

Giant Steps and Paradise Valley Backpacking Trail Description

The backpacking route through Paradise Valley to the Giant Steps is an incredible journey, most often taken on as a day hike. This is a long day hike which makes for a great single night backpacking trip. The Paradise Valley itself is subject to high grizzly bear activity because it is a wildlife corridor. In previous years, the trail was almost always closed, but as wildlife patterns shift, so does the reservation system. This campground is only reservable 24 hours in advance at the Banff (403-762-1556) or Lake Louise (403-522-1264) Visitor Centres.

Plan accordingly and make the call to reserve as soon as possible and you should land your spot. Once you are packed and ready to go, be aware that traffic at Moraine Lake can be extreme and road closures might be a factor. The best way to get through is to simply let the traffic controllers know you are backpacking from the Paradise Valley/Creek parking lot and will not proceed to Moraine Lake. Show your permit and try your luck.

From the trailhead, travel upstream below the towering peak of Mount Temple. There is a junction early on that leads to Lake Annette. If you have the energy for a detour, this is a lovely stop. Make your way up the valley until you reach the Giant Steps. Water cascades down the plateaued rock features that hold true to their namesake and resemble steps made for giants.

From the Giant Steps, make your way 984ft further up the trail to find your camp. The optional 3.1mi trip along the Horseshoe Lake Trail is a great way to add some distance and explore the area.



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