Panoramic views from Taylor Lake and Panorama Meadows snowshoe trail in Banff National Park
Panoramic views from Taylor Lake and Panorama Meadows snowshoe trail in Banff National Park

Taylor Lake hike

Around Lake Louise
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Taylor Lake hike

Distance: 8.5mi
Elevation: 2,182ft
Time: 5-7h

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The trail to Taylor Lake is a straightforward fire road type trail that ascends straight to the lake with no junctions or diversions. It gains elevation steadily through the forest and ends with a meadow before reaching the lake. You’ll be able to admire the astonishing Mount Bell from the shores. A backcountry campground equipped with a pit toilet and picnic tables makes stopping at Taylor Lake extra comfortable.

Taylor Lake Hike Map

Getting there

Heading westbound on the Trans-Canada Highway from Banff, you’ll travel 5.0mi further west than Castle Junction before turning left and crossing the highway to the Taylor Lake trailhead. This parking lot can be busy with folks looking for a rest stop, so note that there will be fewer people on the trail than in the parking lot.

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When to do


Backcountry Campsites

Taylor Lake-Ta6 (Parks Canada)

Pets allowed

Yes - On Leash

Family friendly

Older Children only

Route Signage


Crowd Levels

Moderate to High

Route Type

Out and back

Taylor Lake
Elevation Graph

Taylor Lake Trail Description

This trail begins with a short flat section and climbs steadily to the lake. Be sure you are ready for constant elevation gain without many prominent viewpoints to stop and rest. The grade is manageable but consistent in its gain.

Taylor Lake is a great hike between Banff and Lake Louise that doesn’t see as much traffic as some of the hikes closer to these two towns. It is a stunning destination in larch season and is also home to many fish if you are willing to haul up your fishing rod and take your chances in this pristine lake.

From the parking lot, pass through the wildlife gate by the trail kiosk and close it properly. Take the trail to your right, and you’ll notice well-marked Parks Canada signs. Continue on the flats and enjoy them while they last; you will soon begin gaining elevation and won’t stop until your destination. The climb goes on for roughly 3.7mi and takes hikers across small footbridges over Taylor Creek. After the second bridge, you’ll arrive at a meadow that can be very saturated in the spring. You’ll come to a junction here where you continue to Taylor Lake, or you can follow the O’Brien Lake trail for another 1.3mi.

When you arrive at the shores of Taylor Lake, you’ll be facing off with Mount Bell that rises 2379ft from the shore. You’ll see a stunning waterfall that plummets over a 164ft cliff at the west end of the shore. You’ll notice a small backcountry campground operated by Parks Canada. There are picnic tables and a pit toilet, which makes taking a break here much more comfortable.

The lake is a great place to fish for Cutthroat Trout, so planning to spend some time on the shore fishing and enjoying the views is a great idea when heading to Taylor Lake. Make sure to bring your National Parks fishing license.

Hiking Route Highlights

Taylor Lake

This lake is a pristine subalpine lake nestled between high rocky mountain peaks. It is a great place for fishing which makes day trips here extra special. There is a cascading waterfall at the back of the lake that some choose to hike to.

This is a great place to return for an overnight by booking the Taylor Lake (Ta6) site through Parks Canada. You’ll be able to explore the area and relax by the lake all day long.

Want to find more amazing Lake Louise hikes? Check out the Plain of the 6 Glaciers, Sentinel Pass, Morraine Lake or the Skoki Lakes hike.

Insider Hints

  • Visit during larch season for spectacular views

  • Add a trip to O’Brien Lake for more distance

  • Plan to spend some time taking in the views

  • Book a campsite with Parks Canada to stay the night here



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