Merlin Lake Backpacking Trail
Merlin Lake Backpacking Trail Map

Merlin Lake Backpacking Trail

Banff National Park
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Merlin Lake Backpacking Trail

Merlin Lake Backpacking Trail

Distance: 20.9mi
Elevation: 5,148ft
Time: 2 days

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The backpacking route to the Merlin Lake Trail follows the main Skoki route and covers all the popular landmarks in the area. Climb both Boulder and Deception passes and hike alongside Ptarmigan Lake on your way to the incredible Skoki Valley.

Merlin Lake Backpacking Trail Map

Getting there

You will be starting at the Fish Creek parking lot for your trip along the Merlin Lake Trail route. From the Lake Louise Village, take Lake Louise Drive southbound towards the Lake Louise Ski Resort. Cross the Trans-Canada Highway and continue on this road until you see signs for Skoki Lodge and Fish Creek Road. Take this road that soon becomes gravel until you reach the parking lot.

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When to do


Backcountry Campsites

Campground: Merlin Meadows Sk18

Pets allowed

Yes - On Leash

Family friendly

Older Children only

Route Signage


Crowd Levels


Route Type

Out and back

Merlin Lake Backpacking Trail
Elevation Graph

Merlin Lake Trail Description

Hiking the Merlin Lake Trail through Skoki Valley is an excellent weekend backpacking trip. You will need to plan ahead to ensure you are able to book a spot at Merlin Meadows (Sk18). If you are flexible, keep watching for cancellations and you might get lucky!

From the Fish Creek Parking lot, begin hiking up the road behind the Lake Louise Ski Resort. When you can see the Temple Ski Lodge, start looking upslope for signs leading to Skoki Lodge. Take this forested trail and cross Corral Creek on a small footbridge. You will continue on the main trail over boulder pass and beyond Ptarmigan Lake to the sometimes-dreaded Deception Pass. The pass isn’t bad once you realize it’s all downhill from there!

Descend the pass towards Skoki Lodge and hike 0.7mi beyond the lodge to find your camp at Merlin Meadows (Sk18). Set up camp and ditch your gear before hiking back to Skoki Lodge and taking the trail to Merlin Lake. You will follow signs to Packer’s Pass on the right. Merlin Lake is 1.8mi and 196m from the campground and is worth the extra distance!

Remember to bring some cash and treat yourself to some beer or wine from Skoki Lodge. It is open to the public in the afternoons for tea time, where food and drinks are available for purchase. Return the way you came on day two to complete this out-and-back trip.



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