Panorama of the Guinn's Pass hike from Kananaskis near Canmore
Panorama of the Guinn's Pass hike from Kananaskis near Canmore

Guinn's Pass hike

Kananaskis Trail
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Lillian Lake on the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreView of the Lillian Lake on the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreViews from the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreHiking up towards Galatea Lakes on the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreLower Galatea Lake on the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreHikers on the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreLooking back from the far end of Lower Galatea Lake on the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreLooking down on Lower Galatea Lake from the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreView of Upper Galatea Lake on the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreBeautiful views of the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreHike up to the pass on the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreApproaching the pass on the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreTrail of the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreThe new trail of the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreStunning views of the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreBeautiful view of the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreGreat scenery of the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreHikers taking pictures from the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreStunning scenery of the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreRibbon Lake view from the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreBreak time on the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmorePanorama from the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreGreat views from the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreLooking back on the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreTrail towards the Lillian Lake on the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near CanmoreCrossing the bridge on the Guinn's Pass Hike in Kananaskis, near Canmore

Guinn's Pass hike

Distance: 11.4mi
Elevation: 3,215ft
Time: 6-8.5h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9.5 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
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The trail to Guinn’s Pass is spectacular, offering stunning views. This hike takes in Lillian Lake, Lower Galatea Lake and then up to Guinn’s Pass, offering views down to Ribbon Lake and over to Buller Pass. This trip is pretty special.

Guinn's Pass hike Map

Getting there

From the Stoney Nakoda Casino on the TransCanada, take Highway 40 south for roughly 20.3mi. Turn right into the signed Galatea Parking lot.

I’ve done this 58 people have done this
I want to do this 119 want to do this route

About

When to do

June to September

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

Parking Lot, Lillian Lake

Family friendly

No

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Moderate

Route Type

Out and back


Guinn's Pass
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Guinn's Pass

The route to Guinn’s Pass was completely changed for 2018, so if you haven’t done this hike recently, read the new routing carefully. We think the new route is much better, as the trail is more gradual as well as the trail now passes the very pretty Lower Galatea Lake as part of the route.

Set out from Galatea Parking Lot on the clear path that goes initially downhill before crossing a bridge over the Kananaskis River.

The trail then goes up the Galatea Valley, following Galatea Creek, over which you will cross and re-cross several times.

Along the way, you get some fine river views, however most of this first section is through the forest.

1.8mi from the car, the path will split. Take the right-hand branch and go up and away from Galatea Creek.

You reach the tip of Lillian Lake after 1.45-2 hours of hiking, taking roughly 3.9mi while gaining 1969ft. If you aren’t a regular hiker, expect this to take a bit longer.

Lillian Lake is a pretty lake, and many hikers stop here. There are some nice benches along Lillian Lake, as well as the Lillian Lake Backcountry Campground, which has 17 campsites, a group fire pit and toilets. Lillian Lake is a great option for a first backpacking trip for fit hikers, and you can easily spend a weekend here with great day hikes over to Ribbon Lake or up to the Galatea Lakes.

From Lillian Lake, the path to Guinn’s Pass is a bit tricky to find. Go towards the campground and follow the signs to the washroom. You will soon see the signs pointing the direction to Galatea Lakes and or Guinn’s Pass.

The route to Lower Galatea Lake and Guinn’s Pass is the same, and you go through a narrow path through tall brush, which is at times steep. Once you come out of the trees you continue going up, now over rocks. If you look up you may see people higher up heading on the trail that goes to Guinn’s Pass, which is actually NE of you.

You soon come to a junction, which is where those wanting to explore Lower and Upper Galatea Lakes go to the left, while Guinn’s Pass goes up to the right. At this point, it would be a shame to not hike the 246ft to have a look at Lower Galatea Lake, the larger of the two Galatea Lakes.

The view down to Lower Galatea Lake is wonderful. If you’re tempted to see Upper Galatea Lake, it’s another 0.6mi farther along. If you have the energy, this is a wonderful lake and totally worth the effort.

Come back to the junction and take the trail on your left and begin the ascent to Guinn’s Pass. The path is 0.9mi long, and gains 787ft on the way to Guinn’s Pass. Once at Guinn’s Pass, the views are spectacular, looking across at a pretty high alpine meadow and peaks all around you. Many backpackers will continue over Guinn’s Pass down to Ribbon Lake and camp at the Ribbon Lake Backcountry Camping site, roughly 2.7mi from Guinn’s Pass.

The only downside of the view from Guinn’s Pass is that you can’t see Ribbon Lake. To see Ribbon Lake, walk up Guinn’s Peak, a mountain to the right of Guinn’s Pass. You only have to hike for 820ft, during which time you’ll gain 230ft of elevation to get some incredible views. There is no trail up here, however the views are spectacular, and you can see the stunning greens of the valleys surrounding Ribbon Lake.

Return to your car the way you came.

Would you like to do an easier hike? Check out the Pocaterra Ridge.

Insider Hints

  • The washrooms at Galatea Parking Lot are heavily used, and there aren’t enough for the crowds. Bring your own toilet paper, or maybe stop at another washroom before here if you need the washroom.

  • This is a classic backpacking trip for beginner backpackers. Hike into Lillian Lake, set up your tent and then explore the Galatea Lakes and Guinn’s Pass.

  • A more challenging backpack is the trip from Ribbon Falls Trailhead (near Nakiska) up to Ribbon Lake for one night. The second day you hike from Ribbon Lake to Guinn’s Pass and down to Lillian Lake. The final day hike out to Galatea Trailhead. You’ll need a car shuttle to do this one.

  • Start early so you can add on a trip to Lower and Upper Galatea Lakes. It’s about 1.2mi return, which may be just too much for some people, but the route has stunning views.

Comments

Richy_travels 1 year ago

You will pass different kinds of lakes with this hike. This hike is pretty special.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
6h 30m Time Taken
MartiniC 1 year ago

The views are simply breathtaking!

10.0 Overall Rating
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Physical Difficulty
6h 35m Time Taken
Coll A. 1 year ago

Spectacular hike that offers stunning views. This hike is really special and is perfect for experienced hikers. It's really worth the hike.

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Giedre 1 year ago

Visited this pass during the backpacking trip, it was amazing! I think the best part of it is comparing how different the landscape is on the both sides of the pass. Amazing place to hike to, as you also get to visit a few other places on your way up: Lillian Lake, both Galatea Lakes. I believe it would be awesome to combine this hike with the Buller Pass and make it a one-way hike(https://www.10adventures.com/hikes/kananaskis-smith-dorrien/buller-pass-hike/) as you can see this pass from the top of Guin's within the reach of the hand. That shouldn't be more than 17 km I guess.

10.0 Overall Rating
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Soli Petravron 1 year ago

Classic backpacking trip for beginner backpackers. I enjoyed exploring the Galatea Lakes and Guinn’s Pass. The views were jaw-dropping!

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lindsaaay 1 year ago

Easy to tack on if you're already doing Lillian and Galatea lakes. So beauitful up there! Took us about 5.5 hours wil lunch along the way.

Grant Ko. 2 years ago

Trail through the forest is beautiful and lush. The hikes starts to get challenging and steep starting from Lillian Lake, mainly because of the rocky path for a lot of this hike. Amazing views from the top.

9.0 Overall Rating
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Chichi Uyi 2 years ago

absolutely must visit!

10.0 Overall Rating
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Diana C. 2 years ago

Please do yourself a favor and just once see this beautiful place. It will do something for you that almost nothing else can.

10.0 Overall Rating
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Heidon 2 years ago

The trail along the forest is beautiful and dense. I would rate this hike as moderately challenging.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
6h 30m Time Taken
28 Comments Show all

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