Taylor Lake and Panorama Meadows

Banff
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Taylor Lake and Panorama Meadows

Distance: 15.8km
Elevation: 755m
Time: 5-8h

Difficulty Rating:

A snowshoe trip to Taylor Lake, which sits at the base of Mount Bell, is a beautiful sight. Be sure not to miss the open meadows below Panorama Ridge, just a short distance from Taylor Lake; they are what make this a spectacular trip.

Getting there

The trailhead is located between Castle Junction and Lake Louise on the west side of Highway 1. It is 8.0km north of Castle Junction, or 18.0km South of Lake Louise. The turn-off is well signed.

About

When to do

December - April

Mountain Huts

No

Toilets

Trailhead

Pets allowed

Yes - On Leash

Avalanche Risk

Simple

Family friendly

Older Children only

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Moderate

Route Type

Out and back


Elevation


Detailed Description

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.

Taylor Lake is a popular destination in both larch season and snowshoeing in the winter. The trail to Taylor Lake is wide and well graded. Although you gain approximately 600m to Taylor Lake over 6.5km, it never feels particularly steep. This is a multi-use trail in winter so be ready to encounter other snowshoers, and skiers too.

The trail is usually packed down, and the route up is as simple as following the well-used trail. The highlight of this trail are Panorama Meadows, and it’s a shame many people simply go to Taylor Lake.

The winter trail often leads directly to Panorama Meadows above Taylor Lake. If that’s the case on your snowshoe, follow this route over a small creek into Panorama Meadows to explore the area and catch some panoramic views. Make your own trail, roughly following the summer trail, down to Taylor Lake on your return. It’s only 400m and downhill, so it’s quite easy going.

If the trail is packed along the summer route, directly to Taylor Lake and enjoy the views there. To get to Panorama Meadows ascend the hill north of the small clearing at Taylor Lake. You’ll pass an outhouse and bear pole before travelling a few hundred metres to the edge of the meadows. .

On the way back down, keep your ears open for skiers, they can approach quickly.

Insider Hints

  • Keep your ears open on the trail, as skiers can come flying down the narrow trail you are sharing with them.

  • If you don’t want to go through Banff, stop at Castle Mountain Chalets service station for a coffee and treat on your way home.

  • 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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