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Pets allowed
No
Elevation Gain
1,440.00 m (4,724.41 ft)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
14.66 km (9.11 mi)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Backpack along quiet trails, through alpine meadows, and enjoy non-glacial lakes that are great for fishing or swimming later in the summer. Even during the busier summer season, this trail receives less traffic than other sections of Banff National Park. The Mosquito Creek Trailhead is on the east side of the Icefield parkway road just across from the Mosquito Creek Hostel. You park in front of the hostel and hop across the road to begin the trek. The trail winds up the Mosquito Valley, occasionally popping into a clearing where you get good views of the river and Noseeum Mountain. 

At around 4 kilometers into the hike you'll come across the first campground. This is a perfect stop for kids because it is a lovely site where two rivers meet, and the distance is perfect. There are tables and outhouses. You'll start to gain elevation gently after you cross the bridge. Increasingly the trees drop away and the views get better. At 6.5 kilometers you'll reach a fork. Take the eastern fork heading for Fish Lake. The gradient steepens as you progress into a spectacular alpine meadow. The flowers are overwhelming in early summer once the snows are gone. There is a marshy lake around 8 kilometers into the hike that offers warm and muddy swimming. The steepest section arrives as you work your way up the trail through boulders, gargoyle shaped rocks, and scree up to a col between two sub-peaks. The sub-peaks make for a straightforward scramble if you take the east-northeast ridge. It's all downhill from here as you make your way down toward Fish Lake. The views and meadows remain exhilarating with marmots and pika to keep you company. 

PACK LIST

The normal backpacking gear is required for this trip. Keep things lightweight as you'll have uphill both there and back. 

  • Banff Backcountry Map
  • Solid hiking boots
  • A layering system (base layer, midlayer, insulating layer, and shell)
  • Fitted 50-65 liter backpack
  • Lightweight tent
  • Sleeping bag and mat
  • Stove, pots, bowls, utensils, cups
  • Lunches, snacks, dinner, breakfast, warm drinks. 
  • Bear spray
  • The 10 essentials

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

National or state forest pass

Open Year-round

Yes

Days

2

Pros

Beautiful alpine meadows. Many campsites.

Cons

Long distance. Very basic campsite.

Trailhead Elevation

6,069.55 ft (1,850.00 m)

Highest point

9,153.54 ft (2,790.00 m)

Address

AB-93
AB T0L
Canada

Features

Family friendly
Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Glacier
Backcountry camping
Waterfalls
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Fishing

Typically multi-day

Yes

Permit required

Yes

Permit self-issue on site

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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