Although the least frequented valley in the Lake Louise area, the Lake Annette trail is a spectacular hike. With beautiful lake and mountain views and the potential to continue on to the Giant Steps Waterfall, you definitely want to check this one out.
From Lake Louise Village, take the Lake Louise Drive and turn off onto Moraine Lake Road. Park after 2.4km in the Paradise Creek Parking lot. You’ll need to plan a shuttle to get back to your car from Moraine Lake. Note that changes to vehicle access in 2018 may impact ability to park at trailhead. If road is closed, request access to attendants on-site or take a shuttle.
|When to do|
June through October
Out and back
Start your trek in the Paradise Creek parking lot, keeping in mind that this lot can fill up by 9am in summer, so make sure to get there early. Additionally, there are often hiking restrictions due to bears, and thus you may be required by Parks Canada to hike in a group of at least four in Paradise Valley and the Valley of Ten Peaks. If you don’t already have the minimum group requirement, just wait by the entrance to the trail to link up with other hikers.
Leave the parking lot by the well-defined path. Continue on this route through the fragrant forest along Paradise Creek. Here, you will get small glimpses of the beautiful mountains that are awaiting you. After 5.7km and 232m of elevation gain, you will reach the top of the crest which includes a stunning view of Lake Annette with Mount Temple rising from its stunning azure waters. We’ve yet to see a photo that has done this view justice, so take a break and enjoy the scenery – and if you’re brave take a swim!
Turn your attention up the valley to engulf the views that will continue to unfold. From here, you can opt to venture onwards, eventually reaching the Giant Steps Waterfalls. To get to the Giant Steps, continue through the forest, crossing the river multiple times, each time with more spectacular views of the head of the Paradise Valley and surrounding mountains. At 9.3km (2093m) head right and downhill towards Giant Steps, reaching these marvels at 10.0km (2059m). This is a great place to have lunch, and there are many wonderful views to savor.
Return back the way you came, making sure to soak up all the varying views you didn’t see on the way up!
This is prime bear area, so make sure to check for restrictions before the hike and bring bear spray. Be prepared to hike in groups of 4 or more (or face a fine up to $25,000). If you don’t have others to hike with there are usually other groups heading up, just wait at the trailhead.
Start your hike early in summer, it’s recommended to be parked at Paradise Creek no later than 9am. Consider a trip to Moraine Lake at 8am to enjoy this magnificent area before the crowds begin to descend.
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