Larch Valley is another ‘classic hike’ in Banff National Park. Surprisingly, as it’s name suggests, there are a few larches there. This does make it busy in the fall when people hike to see the golden colour of the larch needles. However it’s a good hike through the summer, not just in the fall when the larches have changed colour. You’ll need to be in a group of four or more for this hike, due to the restriction on the trail (because of bear activity). If you’ve arrived at Moraine Lake to see the larches, and it’s really busy Rockbound Lake and Healy Pass are both very good alternatives for seeing the golden larches.
The trail follows along the shoreline of Moraine Lake for a little while, before turning off and heading uphill. The trail goes through dense forest, similar to the hike up to Lake Agnes and the Big Beehive, following through a few switchbacks.
Eventually the trail heads out of the evergreen forest and reaches the section of the hike where you’ll see a lot of larches.
We stopped here for a snack and then headed to the Upper Minnestimma Lake.
The intentions had been to get to Sentinel Pass but the weather wasn’t very good, so it made sense to return back to Moraine Lake.
The hike was really beautiful, but I’d like to do it in better weather.
The total return distance to the Upper Minnestimma Lake was 9 kilometres (5.6 miles) with an elevation gain of 525 metres (1725 feet).
© RockiesOutdoors 2015.