Giant Steps and Paradise Valley Backpacking Trail
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.
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Route Description for Giant Steps and Paradise Valley Backpacking Trail
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 300 m further up the trail to find your camp. The optional 5.0 km trip along the Horseshoe Lake Trail is a great way to add some distance and explore the area.
Getting to the Giant Steps and Paradise Valley Backpacking Trail Trailhead
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 2.4 km until you reach the Paradise Valley parking lot on your right.
Giant Steps and Paradise Valley Backpacking Trail Elevation Graph
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