Saddleback Pass hike is an excellent family-friendly trail that leaves the crowds behind. Starting at world-renowned Lake Louise, you’ll be able to visit the famous landmark before taking off on your own path. You will catch breathtaking views of the Bow Valley below and Mount Temple rising above the Sheol Valley when you reach the pass.
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Route Description for Saddleback Pass
Leaving the parking lot on the dirt trail, the hike to Saddleback Pass follows the forest for most of the route leaving small glimpses of the surrounding views as you go. It can be difficult to get started and find the right trail as there are many trails leaving the same area. There will be more signs early on for Fairview Lookout as this is shorter and more popular. Once you are on this trail, it will fork to the right after about 100 m, and you will continue straight for Saddleback.
At 2.0 km, you will come to a small junction that will take you on an easy route or steep route. The trail to the left is easier and the trail to the right is steep, these are well marked. We recommend taking the steep route on the way up and saving the easy route on the way down. There are more views on the easy route because it takes the valley side of the trail that opens up a bit more. Taking both the steep and easy route makes the hike feel like a bit of a loop, which is rare in Banff National Park.
As you gain elevation, you will catch some views while passing through some avalanche paths. Beware in spring; there may be plenty of difficult debris to navigate. The trail levels out as you reach Saddleback Pass. This pass is nestled between Mount Fairview and Saddle Mountain that create a visible saddle shape from across the valley. Enjoy views and rest here while other hikers may continue on to other hikes in the area. Watch for wildlife as the boulder field of Fairview Mountain is known to be home to Marmots, Pikas, and Ptarmigan!
Getting to the Saddleback Pass Trailhead
From the Trans-Canada Highway, take the exit to Lake Louise following signs to the village. Continue straight on Lake Louise Drive through two sets of four-way stops. You will begin climbing the hill passing some hotels and lodges on your way before reaching the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Turn left here for public parking and park in the upper lot. From the parking lot, walk to the north end towards the bathrooms, and you will find trail signs leading to Fairview Lookout, Mount Fairview, and Saddleback Pass.
Saddleback Pass Elevation Graph
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