Share:

Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass

Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park

Banff + Yoho, British Columbia

Start Exploring
Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass

Share:

Advertisement
  • Crossing Bryant Creek.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Warden Cabin on the edge of the Bryant Creek Meadow.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Descending Assiniboine Pass into O'Brien Meadows. Mount Assiniboine is covered in clouds at the middle of the frame.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Lake Magog and Mount Assiniboine in an overcast sunset.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Lake Magog Campground tent platforms and food-safe hoists.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Spindrift coming off of the summit of Mount Assiniboine at sunrise.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Lake Magog and Mount Assiniboine at sunrise.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Alpenglow light after the sunrise on Mount Assiniboine.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Panoramic viewpoint near Assiniboine Lodge. The peaks from left to right: Naiset Point, Terrapin Mountain, Mount Magog, Mount Assiniboine, Mount Strom, Wedgwood Peak, and Sunburst Peak.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Wildflowers in the valley just above Lake Magog.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Magog Creek feeding Lake Magog.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • The Towers above some of the cabins.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Nearly clear view of Mount Assiniboine from the Lake Magog Campground.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Assiniboine Lodge main building.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • View from the porch of Assiniboine Lodge.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Wildflowers on the north bench above Lake Magog.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • View of Mount Assiniboine and Sunburst Peak from the Niblet.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Panoramic view of Assiniboine as rain clouds move in.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Lodge cabins along the trail to Wonder Pass.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • The Towers above Magog Creek along the trail to Wonder Pass.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Lake Gloria below an amphitheater of mountain peaks.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Endless mountain peaks above the vibrant Marvel Lake.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Switching back down to Marvel Lake on the left.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Hiking along Marvel Lake.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • The east end of Marvel Lake. The peaks (from left to right): Marvel Peak, Mount Gloria, Aye Mountain, Lunette Peak, Mount Assiniboine, and Wonder Peak.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Cone Mountain above Bryant Creek.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Another view of Bryant Creek nearing the Mount Shark Trailhead.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • Distant peaks across the Spray Lake Valley as the trail widens closer to the trailhead.- Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
  • - Lake Magog Hike via Bryant Creek + Wonder Pass
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Expansive, rugged mountain views. Wildflowers. Potential for big game wildlife viewing. Well developed backcountry campground.
Cons: 
Long gravel road travel.
Advertisement
Alerts: 
Some areas of the trail may be closed in late summer due to bear activity. Plan accordingly.
Region:
Banff + Yoho, BC
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
700.00 m (2,296.59 ft)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Summer
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
54.72 km (34.00 mi)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,753.00 m (5,751.31 ft)
Current Local Weather:
Advertisement
Hike Description

Hike Description

Sponsored Contributor

Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park is one Canada's most remote, beautiful parks, and this hike to Lake Magog is one of the best routes into the heart of this phenomenal place. The towering majesty Mount Assiniboine, the Matterhorn of the rugged Canadian Rockies, dominates the landscape with its spectacular profile. This hike crosses from Alberta into British Columbia, ensuring a full immersion into the rugged country. While it is possible to access Lake Magog by bike, horse, or helicopter, hiking presents incredible rewards and opportunities. Multiple trailheads allow for multi-day trips and thru-hikes. This adventure describes the route from the Mount Shark Trailhead that uses the Bryant Creek Trail to cross Assiniboine Pass. After a stay at the Lake Magog backcountry campground, the route continues out via Wonder Pass, along Marvel Lake, and back to the Bryant Creek Trail and the Mount Shark Trailhead.

Accessing the Mount Shark Trailhead requires a significant amount of travel along gravel roads through Spray Park. Depending on how far you plan to hike your first day, an early start is recommended. There is a large parking lot at the trailhead with space for many vehicles to be left for multiple days. Consult the bulletin board for a detailed map of the area and any trail closures and bear information.

The trail is quite wide initially, very much like a road. This area near the trailhead is also a cross-country ski course with many routes that crisscross the area, so be sure to adhere to the trail signs until the route becomes more trail-like after a short distance. Soon the subalpine forest obscures much of the view, with the exception of views from footbridge river crossings. After linking up with the Bryant Creek Trail at the end of Spray Lake, the trail becomes mostly straight and mostly flat through dense forest. Options for camping along this section of the trail include Big Springs and McBride's Camp. Every designated campground in the area does have at least one toilet. Just as it seems you'll never see the mountains through the trees again, the forest separates to reveal an expansive meadow.

At the edge of the meadow is a backcountry warden's cabin where Banff National Park staff are occasionally stationed. This meadow that Bryant Creek runs through is surrounded by rugged peaks: Mount Cautley, Gibraltar Rock, and Cascade Rock to the west with Mount Mercer and Mount Allenby looming immediately to the east. Enjoy these scenic views and watch for wildlife while you don the insect repellant you surely remembered to pack. The trail continues to meander along Bryant Creek as it veers west, becomes quite steep, and ascends to Assiniboine Pass, which marks the border between Alberta and British Columbia. Here you'll find an informational bulletin board with another helpful map and detailed descriptions of accommodations for the park. There are approximately 75 designated backcountry sites in the park, each obtained on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Enjoy the gradual downhill slope as you encounter your first views of the impressive 3,618-meter Mount Assiniboine. The trail levels out through O'Brien Meadows, where a group and horse campground can be found. Just as you think you're never going to get to your campsite, the forest opens once again to the home of the Assiniboine Lodge. Stop in the lodge for a welcome cup of hot tea and to visit with the incredibly friendly family that operates it. There are several cabins scattered across this bench to the west of Lake Magog, all operated by Assiniboine Lodge. You may be able to find out whether Lake Magog campground is full and if your plans must change to another campground in the park. 

Lake Magog campground is a luxuriously developed backcountry site by wilderness standards. It consists of 29 tent pads, a semi-enclosed log cooking shelter, a bunch of bear-proof food storage lockers and hoists, two grey water pits, three water taps, and five outhouses. The water still must be filtered, but it runs from a faucet, one of which is conveniently placed right next to the shelter. Fires are, of course, prohibited. Hopefully you're able to find an unoccupied platform, but there is an overflow area as well. Consult the detailed map of campsites found on an informational board along the trail.

Be sure to plan enough time to fully explore this area. There are many day hikes through the park, and there are many different views to see. Relax a bit on the porch of the lodge and take in the view of the massive Mount Assiniboine, enjoy tea and cake in the dining room, and warm your cold feet by the stove. Take a short walk along the shore of Lake Magog. 

The most popular day hike is a small bald peak known as the Niblet and the Nub. Lying just north of the mountains surrounding Mount Assiniboine, the 2,747-meter Nub offers sweeping views of the rugged rampart peaks and the lakes far below. There is a trail that begins in the campground and travels along Sunburst Lake and Cepulean Lake, passing by another warden cabin between them. It is a steep hike, but you'll see it is worth the effort as you take in the unobstructed, 360-degree view of the park. Come prepared with a head lamp and stay up here for sunset to earn a unique view of the mountains as the light changes. In summertime, there might even be enough light after the sun has gone down for you to get back to your tent at Lake Magog Campground. 

When you have to leave, you can either take the route you took to get here along Bryant Creek or take the trail to the south up and over Wonder Pass to loop back to Bryant Creek Trail. After meandering through the lodge cabins, the trail starts its gradual climb, passes Gog Lake, and crosses the creek that feeds it below Naiset Point. The view from Wonder Pass is somewhat desolate as the trees become shorter in the altitude. As you descend down the other side of the pass you'll be met with seemingly unending mountain views. Far below to the west you'll see the vibrant Lake Gloria, and above you the familiar Mount Assiniboine.

The trail takes multiple switchbacks through the forest down a steep grade until it becomes more gradual above the aptly named Marvel Lake. Many avalanches and rock slides have provided mostly open views of the lake and the surrounding peaks: Marvel Peak sits to the south of Marvel Lake, and Wonder Peak looms behind you to the north. The trail finally descends to the lakeshore at its east end just before becoming surrounded by trees once again. There is another campground, Marvel Lake, that you'll encounter just before you meet the familiar Bryant Creek Trail that returns you to your vehicle. 

There is no way to fully express the beauty of this area. Nothing compares to witnessing the astonishing scenes of Assiniboine Provincial Park and the nearby Banff National Park. It's obvious how much the glaciers of Mount Assiniboine have reduced in size after looking at historical pictures found in the lodge. Perhaps this place can inspire one to do their part to preserve our wildernesses. As is always the case when traveling in this area, remember to adhere to the bear aware guidelines, and know of what to do when you encounter a bear. 

A larger loop hike incorporating Marvel Pass and Owl Lake is also available for those who have the time and energy.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Adventures

(5 within a 30 mile radius)

Advertisement
Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
96 Members
Who's Done It
11 Members
Submission by
Sponsored Contributor
305 Adventures Explored
202 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info