Backpacking the Banff Highline Trail

Backpacking the Banff Highline Trail

Backpacking the Banff Highline Trail

Prices

From $1,375USD

Difficulty

Guided

Campsites

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Highlights

Take 8 days to explore the backcountry of Banff National Park

Take on the Banff Highline Trail over 8 days, a challenging but highly rewarding trek.

Discover remote mountain scenery full of peaks, lakes, meadows, and dramatic ridgelines.

Hike underneath the constant watch of the “Matterhorn of the Rockies,” Mount Assiniboine.

Camp each evening in the Canadian backcountry, disconnecting from it all to fully experience the mountains.

Backpacking the Banff Highline Trail is a quintessential Canadian Rockies adventure, and this tour takes you across countless unforgettable kilometres, walking underneath stone giants, across flower-dotted meadows, and past shimmering alpine lakes.

The Backpacking the Banff Highline Trail tour will push you physically, but it’ll be worth every step when you hike underneath the awe-inspiring Mount Assiniboine, crest the Continental Divide, and gaze at the crazy quartzite ridge of the Front Ranges. Every night, you’ll pitch your tent underneath a canopy of stars and the slumbering mountains. This is an unforgettable journey and one that tends to sell out quickly - don’t wait to book your spot!

Backpacking the Banff Highline Trail Itinerary

Day 0 Meet and Gear Check

You’ll meet the day before you begin hiking to go over the trip details and make sure your gear is all ready to go. Get a good sleep tonight!

Overnight Location
None
Distance
None
Meals
None

Day 1 Vista Lake to Shadow Lake

Today’s the day! Get going with a pickup in the morning to the trailhead. You’ll begin your hike near Vista Lake, climbing up to Arnica Ridge past Arnica Lake. You’ll start to see Mt. Assiniboine nearly 100km in the distance. Hike down to Twin Lakes before the final climb of the day, reaching Gibbon Pass (2300m) and its extensive meadows.

Drop down to Shadow Lake to set up camp and rest up.

Overnight Location
Camping in Banff National Park
Distance
14km, 1100m elevation gain
Meals
Lunch, dinner

Day 2 Shadow Lake to Egypt Lake

Waking up in paradise, you’ll start the day with a hike to Ball Pass and through the Whistling Valley, named for the whistling marmots in the area. Keep going past Haiduk Lake, admiring the view of Mt. Ball.

Head down to Egypt Lake, where you can swim, fish, and relax after setting up camp.

Overnight Location
Camping in Banff National Park
Distance
14km, 480m elevation gain
Meals
Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3 Egypt Lake to Howard Douglas Lake

Leaving Egypt Lake, you’ll start climbing to Healy Pass (2330m), where you’ll hike through extensive alpine meadows. Hike through Simpson Pass, then grind it out to Wawa Ridge overlooking Sunshine Meadows. The Monarch viewpoint here is one of the best of the whole trek!

Cross the Sunshine ski area through the meadows, then make a short climb over Quartz Ridge to your campground for the night.

Overnight Location
Camping in Banff National Park
Distance
19km, 630m elevation gain
Meals
Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4 Og Lake and Citadel Pass

Sip coffee in your sleeping bag, then get ready to hike up Citadel Pass (2360m) before descending into Golden Valley. Hike through the unique Valley of the Rocks to Og Lake, your home for the night.

Overnight Location
Camping in Banff National Park
Distance
16.4km, 400m elevation gain
Meals
Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5 Og to Magog Lake

You’ll hike from Og to Magog today, taking a leisurely start through five kilometres of a gorgeous meadow. You’ll reach the historic Mt. Assiniboine Lodge, resting a bit here before continuing to Magog Lake. If you’d like, you can hike to Sunburst Lake, or just take a well-earned nap.

Overnight Location
Camping in Banff National Park
Distance
7km, 120m elevation gain
Meals
Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6 Day Hiking at Magog Lake

You’re staying at the same campsite tonight, so you can enjoy a slow morning at camp before heading out on some day hikes in the area. You can wander up Nub Peak to enjoy views of Mt. Assiniboine or just take today to rest and recover. You’ll have tea and cake at the lodge with a spectacular mountain vista all around you.

Overnight Location
Camping in Banff National Park
Distance
8-14km, variable elevation gain
Meals
Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7 Magog to Mount Shark Trailhead

Your last full day is going to be a big one! Pack up camp one last time, then head over Wonder Pass (2395m), descending steeply past three gorgeous lakes. Stop for lunch, then hike the final 12km to the Mt. Shark trailhead. This is the stopping point of your 8-day trek- congratulations!

You’ll drive back to Canmore, where the group can opt to go out for dinner together to celebrate the trip.

Overnight Location
None
Distance
26km, 280m elevation gain
Meals
Breakfast, lunch

Backpacking the Banff Highline Trail Price and Dates

This guided hiking tour in the Canadian Rockies is run as a fixed-departure tour where you’d be joining a group, however, custom private tours can be organized for those willing to travel with their group only (please contact us with your preferred date and the number of people in your group and we will create the itinerary just for you). Please note that due a very high demand and limited availability in campgrounds it is necessary to plan your trip a long time in advance.

Prices below are per person:

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Accommodation on the Backpacking the Banff Highline Trail Tour

This tour is based in campsites. You’ll be in 2-3 person tents with no or limited facilities. Participants should be comfortable with a rustic camping experience.

In some cases, the accommodation listed below may need to be substituted for other comparable accommodations.

Single Rooms and Solo Travellers
You can book a single tent, however, the availability is very limited.

Night 1-6

Camping in the Canadian Rockies

Spend each night camping in gorgeous spots in the mountains, enjoying an authentic backcountry experience with your group. Facilities may not be available.

Hotels on Standard Tour

What’s Included in the Backpacking the Banff Highline Trail Tour?

Meals

6 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 6 dinners are included. If you have special dietary requirements, these may incur an additional fee.

Accommodations

Accommodations for 6 nights are included on this tour. Accommodations before or after the tour are not included but can be booked as a supplement. You should arrive to Canmore one day before the tour start for a briefing.

Transportation During the Tour

This tour starts and ends in Canmore, from where all necessary transfers are included. You are responsible for getting to tour starting location yourself.

Also Included

  • Tents
  • Guide services

Not Included

  • Flights
  • Meals, drinks, or snacks
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional excursions
  • Visas if required
  • Anything not mentioned as included
  • GST (5%)

Optional Extras

  • Special dietary requirement meals

Frequenty Asked Questions about Backpacking the Banff Highline Trail

How hard is the Backpacking the Banff Highline Trail tour?

We rate this tour as a 4/5. This tour is not recommended for beginner hikers. You should have experience hiking and a high level of fitness to enjoy this tour, as you’ll be hiking for up to 26km each day or consecutive days at high elevations and sleeping in very basic conditions, as well as carry a backpack of up to 16 kg (35 lbs).

Do I need a visa to travel to Canada?

Check with your local country about visa requirements. You could also try this website, though you should verify with your government.

Are meals included on the Backpacking the Banff Highline Trail tour?

6 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 6 dinners are included. If you have special dietary requirements, these may incur an additional fee.

Do I need to carry my gear myself?

Yes, you will carry everything you need, as well as a share of the common food and equipment.

Do I need insurance?

Yes, it is mandatory to have health and medical insurance to join this trip. Please verify that your insurance covers the included activities on this tour. Get your Travel Insurance.

How do I get to Canmore to start this tour?

Fly into the Calgary International Airport (YYC). We recommend you rent a car or book a shuttle as there is no included transportation between Calgary and the meeting point on this tour.

Is the Backpacking the Banff Highline Trail tour guided?

Yes, you will be led by an experienced guide.

Where does the Backpacking the Banff Highline Trail tour end?

The tour ends in Canmore. You will be responsible for finding your own way back to the airport after the tour.

What do I need to bring?

We’ve given a basic gear list below, but please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about your gear, as you’ll need to carry it!

  • Boots
  • Multiday pack (55-75 litres)
  • Pack cover
  • Daypack
  • Water bottle or bladder (1-2 litres)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sleeping bag and sleeping pad
  • Pillow
  • Sunscreen, SPF lip balm
  • Camera
  • Headlamp with fresh batteries
  • Blister kit
  • Earplugs
  • First aid items (guides carry a first aid kit, but you may bring your own Band-Aids and anti-inflammatory medication if desired)
  • Personal toiletries, including hand sanitizer
  • Bug spray
  • Plastic mug, bowl, and eating utensils
  • Trekking poles (optional)
  • Toque
  • Insulated jacket
  • Fleece jacket
  • Hiking pants
  • Light footwear for creek crossing or camping
  • Hiking socks
  • Long underwear

Do I need special vaccines to travel to Canada?

Check with your family doctor.

Are there any travel restrictions for Canada?

Please check with your local government about travel restrictions before you book your tour. This map from the US Department of State provides an overview of the current status in countries around the globe. The UK‘s Foreign Office and Government of Canada also provide advice on foreign travel. Note that the travel advice may change depending on your nationality.

When is the best time to travel to Canada for this tour?

The best time to visit the Rockies for this tour is in August when the weather in the mountains is at its warmest and sunniest.

Reviews

All tours on 10Adventures are operated by highly vetted local tour operators and guides.

Having local tour operators and guides means you get a more authentic experience, and your booking creates jobs in the local communities you visit.

Details of the local tour operator will be listed on your booking invoice. If you have questions about the local operator prior to booking, please click the “Ask a Question” button below.

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Prices

From $1,375USD

Difficulty

Guided

Campsites

Start Your Booking

What travellers say

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Rated 4.9 on Google Reviews

Tour Difficulty

We rate this tour as a 4/5. This tour is not recommended for beginner hikers. You should have experience hiking and a high level of fitness to enjoy this tour, as you’ll be hiking for up to 26km each day or consecutive days at high elevations and sleeping in very basic conditions, as well as carry a backpack of up to 16 kg (35 lbs).


Read about our scale for Tour Difficulty Ratings.

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