Glacier Lake Backpack Banff National Park May 18-20, 2013
2013 was the third year we had visited Glacier Lake over the Victoria Day (May) long weekend. It’s not the most scenic trip, and the campground is may very well be the worst backcountry campground in Banff, but its draw for us is that it’s relatively snow-free in May. It’s not very challenging, so it’s a great opportunity to make an early season backpack without worrying about snowbound trails or weak hiking legs.
According to Parks Canada, the trail is only maintained to the Glacier Lake Campground. The trail continues along the north side of the lake and some distance further west (it turns into a route finding exercise) but several areas are covered with avalanche debris and other deadfall so it takes a bit of work to get over a few places.
Glacier Lake Campground theoretically has five tent sites. In reality, there are actually none, and in practice there has always been more than five tents when we’ve visited. I’m not sure if Parks Canada books more than five sites or if people tent there without permits because they know they won’t get caught. Either way, its annoying. But I suppose not annoying enough to not go. It’s just fun to be in the backcountry, and this is basically the only place you can go in May.