Boom Lake is a great snowshoe in Banff National Park. While it’s mostly in the trees, once you get to Boom Lake it’s spectacular. Expect to share this trail with quite a few skiers.
Go west from Banff along the Trans-Canada Highway. Take the turn-off at Castle Junction towards Radium highway 93 and drive for 6.9km. The Boom Lake Day Use Area is on the right-hand side of the road, shortly after the turn-off for Storm Mountain Lodge.
|When to do|
December - April
Yes - On Leash
Older Children only
Out and back
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.
The snowshoe trail to Boom Lake is a popular trail almost any time of the year, so you will usually see others here. It’s popular as the trail isn’t too hard and is never too steep. Expect to see skiers, other snowshoers and even hikers, especially at weekends.
Note that depending on snow-levels, you may not require snowshoes when you head up to Boom Lake. If there hasn’t been recent snowfall, then other snowshoers and skiers have likely compacted the trail and you could hike the route with a pair of microspikes.
From the parking lot, the route is fairly straightforward, heading out from the far-end of the Boom Lake Parking Lot, and immediately crossing a bridge over Boom Creek. From here, the trail to Boom Lake is immersed in the trees as it gradually climbs through the forest.
You crest a hill after roughly 4.2km, from which it’s fairly flat for 1.0km before the trail descends to Boom Lake. There isn’t much space to sit at Boom Lake, as you’re at the base of a rockslide and the forest crowds around the shore. Be very careful not venture onto the rockslide, which is the base of an old slide path.
Look across Boom Lake and you’ll see Boom Mountain and Chickadee Peak, while at the far end of Boom Lake you’ll see Chimney Peak and Chimney N1 as the highest peaks in the area.
We don’t like to venture too far out onto Boom Lake, as going right takes you to the base of some avalanche chutes and going left takes you to the outflow of Boom Lake, where the ice is thinner and often doesn’t freeze completely.
To return, just go back the way you came.
Staying at Storm Mountain Lodge is a great experience, especially in winter. These rustic cabins are only open Thursday - Monday in winter. Enjoy historic charm and wonderful meals after a great day in the outdoors.
If you have kids, stop by at Castle Mountain General Store for a good selection of treats. They also sell liquor, snacks, sandwiches, drinks and basic food you may need for camping.
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.
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