59 photos

Panoramic view from a lookout at about kilometre 2 on the Glacier Lake Trail.Panoramic view from a lookout at about kilometre 2 on the Glacier Lake Trail.View includes the briaded Howse River, and Mount Sarbach [3155m] (left), Mount Outram [3240m] (centre), and Survey Peak [2667m] (right).
Hike to Glacier Lake
Banff National Park
May 18, 2013

As with most of our backcountry trips, our day began before sunrise, with a five-ish hour drive from Edmonton. The trailhead is about two kilometres north of the Saskatchewan Crossing (Junction of Highway 93/Icefields Parkway and Highway 11/David Thompson Highway) west of Nordegg. The parking lot is well signed and fairly large, so there isn't a problem finding a place to park.

From the trailhead the Glacier Lake Trail quickly descends to the North Saskatchewan River, which is quite large and fast flowing, even though it's less than 40 kilometres from its source at the Saskatchewan Glacier. After crossing the river, the trail continues along an area that must have had a forest fire many years ago, because the trees are fairly large, but there are occasional burnt logs scattered about.

About two kilometres from the trailhead there is a bench along the Howse River that provides a fantastic view to the south and west. The trail then follows the north side of the braided Howse River for about a kilometre before ascending about 250 metres over a ridge south of Survey Peak. This section of trail is entirely in the forest and does not provide much for views until you descend about 250 metres to reach Glacier Lake. After going up, over, and down the ridge, the campground is at basically the same elevation as the trailhead.

Distance: 9.5km
Cumulative Ascent/Descent: 370m
Map of our Glacier Lake Backpacking TripProfile of our Glacier Lake Backpacking TripJenn at the Glacier Lake Trailhead, getting her pack ready.Glacier Lake Trailhead sign.Glacier Lake Information.Information sign about the Howse Pass National Historic Site at the Glacier Lake Trailhead.Jenn at the start of the Glacier Lake Trail.Shawn at the start of the Glacier Lake Trail.Signpost at the Glacier Lake Trailhead.The Glacier Lake Trail crosses the North Saskatchewan River about 1 kilometre from the trailhead.North Saskatchewan River and a view of Survey Peak [2667m] and Mount Erasmum [3265m] on the left.North Saskatchewan RiverThe Glacier Lake Trail crosses the North Saskatchewan River about 1 kilometre from the trailhead.Jenn decided that the weather was too hot for pants, so she converted her pants into shorts!Jenn decided that the weather was too hot for pants, so she converted her pants into shorts!Jenn decided that the weather was too hot for pants, so she converted her pants into shorts!North Saskatchewan River and Mount Murchison [3333m] from the Glacier Lake Trail.View to the north along the North Saskatchewan River from the Glacier Lake Trail.View to the north along the North Saskatchewan River from the Glacier Lake Trail.The Glacier Lake Trail bridge over the North Saskatchewan River.