Panorama of the Hidden Lake hike near Lake Louise, Banff National Park

Hidden Lake hike

Around Lake Louise
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The southern end of Mt Richardson on the Hidden Lake Hike from Lake Louise in Banff National ParkMount Redoubt on the Hidden Lake Hike from Lake Louise in Banff National ParkHidden Lake view from the above on the Hidden Lake Hike from Lake Louise in Banff National ParkBeautiful fireweed on the Hidden Lake Hike from Lake Louise in Banff National ParkView of the lake on the Hidden Lake Hike from Lake Louise in Banff National ParkLarches changing on the way down from Mt Richardson on the Hidden Lake Hike from Lake Louise in Banff National Park

Hidden Lake hike

Distance: 17.0km
Elevation: 610m
Time: 5-7h

Difficulty Rating:

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Hidden Lake is a very pretty lake in the Skoki Region. There is also a backcountry campground here that you can use to better explore the Skoki region. In autumn the views are very pretty with the golden larches on this hike.

Hidden Lake hike Map

Getting there

Head to the Lake Louise Ski Resort on Whitehorn Drive. Before the ski hill, take the turn on the right towards Fish Creek parking lot. There is a sign there pointing towards Skoki Lodge. Begin the hike from the parking lot, following signs for Skoki Lodge and Hidden Lake.

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When to do

July to early October

Backcountry Campsites

Hidden Lake (SK5)


Halfway Hut

Family friendly


Route Signage


Crowd Levels


Route Type

Out and back

Hidden Lake
Elevation Graph

Route Description for Hidden Lake

You can hike to Hidden Lake, near Lake Louise Ski Resort, any time of the year, but it is especially spectacular when the larches are out in September. Going in September means the days will be shorter, so it’s best to start as early as possible.

The first part of the hike is not the best, as you hike up the ski hill fire road. Expect to be passed by trucks or vans heading up to ferry Skoki passengers to the top of the fire road or maintenance workers to work on the ski hill. The hike up the fire-road is a tedious part of this trip.

After 45-60 minutes of hiking you will reach the end of the fire road. Continue on the trail as it crosses ski runs and goes above Temple Lodge (which is roughly 100m below the route on the left). This part of the hike is the same as the hike to Skoki Lodge, so you’ll pass a large sign as you enter the trees, alerting you that you are on the Skoki Lodge trail. Do not take the trail that goes to the left as you enter the forest, but continue straight ahead.

Once in the forest, you will be on the trail to Boulder Pass, however the turn-off to Hidden Lake is before Boulder Pass. The trail is generally quite flat so it’s possible to make good progress here.

Eventually the trail comes out of the trees in a pretty meadow. Look at your left and you’ll see an old log cabin, officially known as Ptarmigan Hut, but often called Halfway Hut by locals.

Take the turnoff to the left signed for the Hidden Lake campground and then hike onwards to Hidden Lake. Contour around the left-hand side of the lake, enjoying the views. This is a great place to have a quick snack.

From Hidden Lake you can look up a steep grassy slope to the crest of the south ridge of Mount Richardson. If you’re lucky this is a good place to spot mountain goats.

To get back down to your car, head back down towards the main Skoki Trail. If you’re feeling energetic, consider going left at the junction with the main Skoki trail and hiking the 1.2km to Ptarmigan Lake, going over Boulder Pass along the way. It’s a worthwhile addition to the trip and very pretty.

If you don’t have the energy to go and see Ptarmigan Lake, then go right at the junction and hike back out, back to Lake Louise Ski Hill and then the fire road back to your car.

Insider Hints

  • There is a campsite at Hidden Lake (SK5) with 10 tent pads. This would make for a short and fun backpacking trip and guarantee an early start to the day.

  • Lake Louise has one of the highest concentrations of exceptional hiking trails anywhere on earth, and it is great to take holidays of 5-7 days to really explore the area. Here are some useful hints for planning your next trip!

  • We can recommend having at a meal at Lake Louise Ski Resort. The food is good and there are rarely waits at the restaurants at Lake Louise. We like eating in the Whitehorn Lodge at the base of the ski hill – the Ten Peaks Cafeteria has some of the best fries in Lake Louise.

  • Be prepared for bears on this hike. The whole Skoki region is known for grizzly’s, so make sure you have bear spray and hike in a group.


bigfootJOE 10 months ago

The Hidden Lake was quite challenging but had great views, nice picturesque slopes, blooming with beautiful flowers. nice mountain views.

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Technical Difficulty
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