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Healy Pass via Sunshine Meadows

Banff National Park

Banff + Yoho, Alberta

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Healy Pass via Sunshine Meadows

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  • Wide open meadows in gloomy weather.- Healy Pass via Sunshine Meadows
  • Gravel paths at the start are very well established close to the resort.- Healy Pass via Sunshine Meadows
  • Coming down Wawa Ridge, the terrain gets more fun with some excellent single track.- Healy Pass via Sunshine Meadows
  • Alpine lakes and beautiful sky near Healy Pass.- Healy Pass via Sunshine Meadows
  • Looking out to the Monarch Ramparts.- Healy Pass via Sunshine Meadows
  • Crossing beautiful streams and alpine lakes.- Healy Pass via Sunshine Meadows
  • Small tarns near Healy Pass.- Healy Pass via Sunshine Meadows
  • Stunning alpine lakes. While it might be tempting, this is a fragile alpine ecosystem. Swimming is strongly discouraged. - Healy Pass via Sunshine Meadows
  • Moving towards Egypt Pass.- Healy Pass via Sunshine Meadows
  • Carrying on uphill near Healy Pass. It can be tough going with lots of little ups and downs.- Healy Pass via Sunshine Meadows
  • Carrying on uphill with Sunshine Meadows in the distance.- Healy Pass via Sunshine Meadows
  • The views keep delivering on the trail to Healy Pass.- Healy Pass via Sunshine Meadows
  • Heading toward the Healy Creek descent.- Healy Pass via Sunshine Meadows
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Larches. Rolling alpine terrain. Incredible views.
Cons: 
Boring start or an expensive gondola ride.
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Region:
Banff + Yoho, AL
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Highest point: 
2,360.00 m (7,742.78 ft)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
National or state forest pass
Permit required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
29.70 km (18.45 mi)
Total elevation gain: 
1,360.00 m (4,461.94 ft)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,680.00 m (5,511.81 ft)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Healy Meadows is the easiest alpine terrain to access in Banff National Park. It offers stunning views onto sprawling meadows that are uncommon in the Rockies. It's made all the better by having an immense concentration of larches, the seasonal conifers that that make fall in the Rockies so special.

Access Healy Pass by taking a shuttle to the Sunshine Ski Resort, which is just west of Banff on the Trans-Canada Highway by about 15 minutes. The trail begins on a gravel access road beside the gondola station. You can use mechanized access to get right into the alpine, and on weekends a gondola is also open. The walk is not far, but it will add a couples hours into the day. Still, it's worth the effort to avoid a $42 shuttle fare.

Once in the alpine, you have beautiful views extending to Mount Assiniboine. The rolling hills make for incredibly pleasant hiking. Near the resort, it's fairly busy with tour guides ushering hikers along well-tended gravel trails. But start heading north, and the trail quickly begins to wind through tarns and beautiful alpine flowers. The trail narrows into gorgeous singletrack. For a trail run, it's superb fun; it's not too steep, and you can keep running almost the whole way.

The trail winds down to Rock Isle Lake before heading north between Standish and Twin Cairns Peak. It gains elevation as heading onto WaWa Ridge before it drops back down into the quiet of the valley. Carry on heading for Egypt Pass. This point is a superb view, looking down to Egypt Lake and beyond to Pharoah Lake.

Turn around and find the trail down Healy Creek via the signs. The trail backtracks a little bit and descends gently from here. There is also a campground about halfway down that, while there are few views, is a great backpacking location for young families due to its short distance. Eventually the trail pops out on the far end of the resort parking lot. It's a superb trip that covers some excellent terrain.

The trail is mostly in the Alpine which in the Rockies means variable weather. Aside from the usual 10 essentials, a good hardshell/rain jacket is always a good idea. The trail is fairly flat, so trekking poles are a matter of choice, but they are not essential, considering the gentle descent, except in extreme circumstances. Maps for the area are readily available at Monod's in Banff or Valhalla Pure in Canmore.

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Location + Directions

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(20 within a 30 mile radius)

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