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    Healy Pass

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    Very Hard
    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.
    19.6 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.
    869 m
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
    Overall Rating
    This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
    Physical Difficulty
    This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
    Technical Difficulty
    This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
    Easy (Circle)
    Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
    Read Reviews
    Directions to Trailhead
    Healy Pass snowshoe trail Banff National Park

    Snowshoeing to Healy Pass is a great day out in winter, and a fantastic break from the busy ski hills. The trail to Healy Pass is popular and often packed down thanks to its popularity. The expansive views of the vast meadows of Healy Pass and Sunshine Meadows make this a fantastic snowshoe trip.

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    Route Description for Healy Pass

    Anyone on a snowshoe trip should have Avalanche training, we recommend AST 2 for all backcountry travellers, and AST 1 is the minimum. It is important to note that when travelling through avalanche terrain it is extremely valuable to always have a companion. You can download a list of Avalanche Terrain Ratings from Parks Canada on their site.

    You will usually need to tell the parking lot attendants for Sunshine Village that you are snowshoeing to Healy Pass, as they don’t let Sunshine Visitors park at the rear parking lot. From the parking lot, walk behind the main lodge and gondola base, looking for a trail kiosk under a large retaining wall. This is where you can put on your snowshoes and begin the day!

    This trail is popular, so there should be a well-packed trail here. You will be following the summer hiking trail, so the route will be familiar for many hikers.

    Thanks to the popularity of Healy Pass for snowshoers and ski-tourers, you should be able to move quickly on the well-packed trail towards Healy Meadows. The trail crosses the run out zones of three avalanche paths, remember your AST training and spread out and move quickly going through avalanche run-outs. It is important to be aware of your surroundings, and read the terrain as you continue along the trail. You will pass two small bridges along the route to Healy Meadows.

    Once reaching the meadows, you’ll be able to catch some sun for the ascent to Healy Pass. Enjoy the scenery here, as this is where the views begin to grow.

    Continue towards Healy Pass, you’ll usually be following a mixture of fresh and old ski tracks, gently gaining elevation in the open meadows. The grade steepens as you gain elevation, but still remains relatively gentle. Be cautious here, as this area can see strong winds, sweeping the snow right off the rocks.

    Our snowshoes had no trouble getting up to Healy Pass, but an earlier group of skiers had evidently abandoned their skis low down and post holed their way to the top. In high risk conditions, be sure to stay on the main trail, avoiding any potential avalanche hazards.

    The average snowshoer in good conditions should be able to reach Healy Pass within three to four hours. It can be cold on top of Healy Pass, as it is quite exposed, but this makes for excellent views. We continued on past Healy Pass towards Healy Pass Peak. Do not attempt this ascent unless you are trained, equipped and experienced in avalanche terrain.

    For our day, we reached the summit of Healy Pass Peak four hours after leaving the car. We’d traveled very quickly for the first 7.0 km, but had slowed down considerably in the meadows as we tired a bit, broke a bit of new trail, and just soaked in the scenery. It was a bit cold on the summit, but the views under the clear blue sky were absolutely fantastic in all directions and we hung around for 20 minutes before starting a very leisurely descent.

    The return trip is quite pleasant, offering great views from the pass down to the meadows. Enjoy the packed trail back on the route you came in from.

    Insider Hints for Healy Pass

    • Keep in mind this trail is accessed via the same roads and parking as Sunshine Ski Resort, which means it will be very busy on the drive and in the parking lot. Get there early to get a good spot!
    • Snowshoeing in the Banff takes you into remote terrain. Make sure you are prepared for an emergency with warm clothes, extra food, matches and ideally a satellite transceiver, like a Garmin InReach. Cell phones do not work until you get to Canmore.
    • Always check the avalanche forecast for Banff before heading out.

    Getting to the Healy Pass Trailhead

    Drive 7.7 km west of Banff on Trans-Canada and take the Sunshine Village exit. Drive 24.2 km on this lovely road to Sunshine Village ski resort.  Drive to the back of the parking lot, past the lodge and park there.

    Route Information

    • When to do

      December - April

    • Mountain Huts


    • Toilets


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Avalanche Risk


    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Healy Pass Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

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    Healy Pass Reviews

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