Twin Lakes

This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
16.1 km
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
1,158 m
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Directions to Trailhead
Twin Lakes

The Twin Lakes hike at the edge of Banff and Kootenay parks is an incredible trail that passes by four different lakes and gains elevation over the Bow Valley. This is an excellent trail for wildflower blooms and shows off its fall colours during larch season. It has many options to connect with other trails in the area to create a lengthy backpacking route.

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Route Description for Twin Lakes

The Twin Lakes hike begins at the Vista Lake parking lot off the 93S highway. You’ll be able to see Vista Lake from the parking lot, and its gem-like colour will distract you from the descent to the valley bottom. Hopefully, you will forget that you have to climb back up this hill on your return.

From Vista Lake, cross a small footbridge and begin the ascent to Arnica Lake. This trail gains elevation quickly and crosses various bridges before reaching a small pond. After the pond, you will reach the beautiful Arnica Lake. Watch for wildflower blooms in high season, as the namesake of this lake provides accompanying flowers. Arnica is a yellow petalled flower in the sunflower family that is highly medicinal and common in alpine environments.

From Arnica Lake, continue up the trail, gaining a ridge to Upper Twin Lake. From here, you will descend to Lower Twin Lake, the final lake of the route. You can return the way you came, or if you are more prepared, you may book a campsite here and stay the night. There are many backpacking routes and connecting trails in the area, so if you plan on extending your stay, be sure to have a look at the map to pick the best option.

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.

Getting to the Twin Lakes Trailhead

From the Trans-Canada Highway, take the exit at Castle Junction for Radium Hot Springs (93S). Travel southbound on the 93S highway for 9.0 km before reaching a sign for Vista Lake. Turn into the parking lot on your left, and park here. A large trail sign and kiosk is on the left of the large parking lot, where you can see Vista Lake. This is where the trail begins.

Route Information

  • When to do


  • Backcountry Campsites

    Twin Lakes Campground (Tw7) Parks Canada

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage


  • Crowd Levels


  • Route Type

    Out and back

Twin Lakes Elevation Graph

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