The Best Hikes for Larch Season in Banff National Park

There is no denying that larch season in Banff National Park is our second favourite season of the year. Once the cooler autumn weather hits, we are all eagerly anticipating the first golden leaf of the season, which will signal that larch season is not too far off. There are of course many well-known areas to check out the golden hues of the autumn larch trees, but there are plenty more that are not as well known and still look as though Midas himself walked along the same path your boots will be plodding along. At Baker Creek and in Banff National Park, we are spoiled for larch season hike choices. Banff National Park practically glows gold in autumn with the number of larch trees that adorn the Canadian Rockies and alpine in the area.

Trail of the Larches

Experience stunning views of the Canadian Rockies and the Victoria Glacier towering above Lake Louise, paired with some epic golden larch trees. Experience all of the beautiful fall colours and learn all about how the surrounding wilderness is preparing for winter. Accessed from the Lake Louise gondola, this hike showcases the picturesque colors of the larch trees as interpretive guides teach you about the survival strategies of the larches in an alpine environment. This hike is located at the Lake Louise Ski Resort and Summer Gondola, and is approximately 15 minutes from Baker Creek.

Larch Season in the Rockies

Floe Lake & Rockwall Trail

Floe Lake is a lesser-known hike with incredible views located just outside of Banff National Park in the Kootenays. Floe Lake itself is a great day hike, but making your way along the entirety of the Rockwall Trail will give you even more bang for your buck. In addition to stunning golden larches, this hike offers beautiful mountain vistas, lush forest, and crystal clear waters. Those looking for an overnight adventure can choose to stay one night on the Rockwall trail if reservations permit, but should be prepared for very cold temperatures throughout the evening, with the possibility of snow. This hike’s trailhead is approximately 45 minutes from Baker Creek.

Arnica Lake and Gibbon Pass

Gibbon Pass is a place that should be on everyone’s radar in the fall, but is rarely spoken about.  Each year, we visit Arnica Lake and we are absolutely blown away by how gorgeous it is during the fall months. If you are keen on hiking a bit further once you reach your resting point at Arnica Lake, you should press on to Gibbon Pass and experience one of Banff National Park’s premier larch hikes. This epic hike is only 25 minutes from Baker Creek.

Stanley Glacier

Experience the grandeur of a beautiful glacier, paired with the stunning fall colours of the aspen and larch trees situated just a short distance down Highway 43. Stanley Glacier trail is family-friendly, features a lovely waterfall, and also hosts plenty of golden larch trees to satiate every adventurer’s appetite for gold. You’ll spend the morning travelling up into the alpine, taking in the scenery and epic vistas before heading back down and relaxing at the lodge beside our crackling fire.

Photo Credit: Noel Hendrickson

The truth is, there are so many opportunities waiting for you to see the golden larch trees, you have to see it to believe it. There is no better time to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and take some time in the Canadian Rockies to be still and decompress for the weekend before diving back in on Monday morning. If you haven’t seen the golden larch trees before, now is your chance to experience the truly magical grandeur of autumn in the Canadian Rocky Mountain wilderness.

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