Sunrise hike in Banff (August)

Jun 28th, 2012, 08:01 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2012
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Sunrise hike in Banff (August)

Can anyone suggest a sunrise hike in the Banff area?

My wife and I are honeymooning for a week in the rockies in August, and I'd like to get out for sunrise on our first morning. Because it's our honeymoon we don't want to do any overnight hikes (going to take advantage and luxuriate this time around), so it has to be something do-able in a few hours and not too difficult (we're not avid hikers, but we are fit). Since we'll be coming from Montreal, we'll still be on east-coast time that first morning so a 5am wake-up won't be too tough.

I'm thinking of going up Sulphur Mountain. The gondola won't be running yet so that won't bother us, and once we're exhausted at the top we can ride it down and hit up the hot springs. But I'm not sure what the exposure on that hike is like, and if we'll get good views of the sun coming up. If we beging the hike around 5:30, I figured we'll be at least half-way up before sunrise ~6:40.

Any other thoughts or ideas? I've also been considering the Stewart Canyon trail at Lake Minewanka, but it doesn't seem like there's any elevation gain there and I'm not sure we'll get any good sunrise exposure.


lehons is offline  
Jun 28th, 2012, 07:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 959
According to one of my books, the best lighting for the Lake Louise Shoreline trail is sunrise/early morning. It's a fairly easy out and back with no real elevation gain for a total of around 4 kms.

If you're feeling more ambitious, you can continue on from the far end of the lake to the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse. It would be about 11 kms return and 340m elevation gain.

This is a very popular hike, with some great views of the lake and chateau when you are at higher elevations. Going early morning may be nice to avoid the crowds later in the day on this trail.
ShelliDawn is offline  
Jun 29th, 2012, 01:21 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 593
I have never hiked that trail, but have taken the gondola and looked down on the trail from it. Honestly, I think there are so many other options that would give you SO much more "bang for your buck" (so to speak)... it looks like a real grunt - switchbacks up through fairly dense forest, and all that to arrive at the top where the gondola terminal and boardwalks are.

As ShelliDawn mentioned, the hikes at Lake Louise - either of the teahouse hikes, the Plain of Six Glaciers or Lake Agnes, would be a lot better, although that means you have a 45 minute drive to get to the trailhead.

What about walking up Tunnel Mountain? I hiked to Stewart Canyon last fall ... it's a nice hike along the lakeshore, but not spectacular.

No matter which hike you choose, be sure to make lots of noise and hike "bear aware" ... critters are active in the early hours.
krp329 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2012, 04:36 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2012
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Thanks for the help.
We're finishing our trip in Lake Louise, and definitely plan on doing the Lake Agnes teahouse hike.
But we're trying to find some nice hikes to do in Banff, where we're starting the trip. Perhaps a 5am wake-up on day 1 isn't the best option after all. If, as you say, the Sulphur Moutain trail runs mostly through dense forest, it may not be worth it. And there's no guarantee that we'd get to the top before the crowds start arriving by gondola.
lehons is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2012, 04:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,070
This really isn't what you asked for but if you want some romantic scener try one of the following:

Cascade Pond. It's thee first right turn-off on te Lake Minnewanka scenic road. Just go thee, sit on a park bench with a view of the lak in the foreground and the mountains in the background. As the sun comes up you have a great reflection in the lak.

The other is watching the sun come up behind you from the top of the Rockpile at Moraine Lake. Absolutely magnificent.
Myer is offline  
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