The backpacking trip to Egypt Lake takes you through the beautiful Healy pass and then down to some stunning scenery by Egypt Lake. In early summer this is a carpet of wildflowers that will amaze you. In autumn the larches turn golden and provide some of our favourite views in the Rockies.
Head to the Sunshine parking lot - turn on to the sunshine Access Road, 7.7km west of Banff. The trailhead is the same one for Healy Pass, behind the base lodge.
|When to do|
Mid July - September
Egypt Lake shelter
Yes - On Leash
Older Children only
Out and back
Egypt Lake certainly holds its own as a backpacking destination, and while you could do this as a single overnight backpack, we like to spend a day exploring around Egypt Lake. There are many incredibly scenic day trips to take from Egypt Lake, such as Scarab Lake or Pharaoh Lake.
A backpacking trip to Egypt Lake is a true classic backcountry camping experience in Banff National Park. Just getting to Egypt Lake takes in one of the Rockies best hiking trails over Healy Pass and then down to the stunning Egypt Lake. The best time to visit this campground is July – August, when the wildflowers are in full bloom, although mid-September is also stunning with the incredible golden larches, however be prepared for very chilly nights.
The route in follows Healy Creek until you start to ascend to Healy Pass Meadows. From the Sunshine Village parking lot take the trail leading from the signed trailhead behind and to the right of the main Sunshine Base station. The start of the trail keeps you shaded from the summer sun as you gradually climb along a wide, rolling trail which narrows as you go.
The lush forest and the bridge over Healy Creek are stunning, submerging you in the idyllic natural universe of the Canadian Rockies. After almost eight kilometers you escape the forest and find yourself in a beautiful alpine meadow.
There is a very minor creek crossing at the beginning of this final section of the hike. You then will climb up through the stunning meadow, trying to spot wildlife across the massive, wildflower studded expanse.
Reaching the gentle apex of the pass you will see sprawled out in front of you peak upon peak and stellar mountain vistas. Find a rock to relax upon and enjoy your lunch; it’s hard to go wrong with such a view.
Healy Pass has one of the best alpine wildflower meadows in the park. Rolling rainbow hills of flowers are watched over by the Monarch Ramparts, a crown-like wall of rock visible from nearby Sunshine Village.
You’ll need to continue over the pass and descend down towards the Egypt Lake campground (E13 – 15 sites), which is situated on a bench above picturesque Pharaoh Creek, and is one of the largest backcountry campgrounds in Banff National Park.
For colder nights, or first-time backpackers slightly nervous about sleeping in a tent (or who don’t want to carry the extra weight), the rustic Egypt Lake Shelter provides a sturdy roof & walls, and a cozy fire to tell stories around. This can be booked through Parks Canada’s online reservations system or via phone.
If you want to experience this area without hiking 12.4km with your pack, the Healy Creek campsite (E5, with 5 tent pads) is located approximately 5.0km from the trailhead, so you can split the distance over two days.
Optional Day 2
From the Egypt Lake campground, there are abundant day hikes and areas to explore surround you. There is the easy 0.5km stroll to Egypt Lake itself, the short but steep uphill climb to Mummy & Scarab Lakes, the high, marmot filled Whistling Pass is nearby, the easy 5.0km Pharaoh Lake-Black Rock Lake outing, or you can even hop the border into BC to Talc Lake.
Hike back to your car at the base on the Gondola for Sunshine Village along the Healy Creek Route. Note that there is a variant route that goes down via Simpson Pass if you want a different route down. You can see this on the map for the hike to Healy Pass.
Day 1: Trailhead to Egypt Lake (12.5km / 655m)
Day 2: Day trip to surrounding Lakes
Day 3: Egypt Lake to Trailhead (12.5km / – 655m)
The Egypt Lake Hut is managed by Parks Canada, and an extremely popular destination. Be sure to book early if you plan to stay in the Hut.
Banff is just up the road and there are plenty of great places to stay the night before to make sure you can get an early start and make the most of your first day!
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