Albertawow

Sunset Pass Hike

  Ratings:    Ratings 5 Star
Level: Difficult Time/Dist: 6 to 8 hours / 18K return Elevation Gain: 725m

Trailhead: Park at the Sunset Pass trail head parking lot 17kms north of Saskatchewan Crossing on the east side of the Icefields Parkway. Banff National Park.

Description: Locate the trail next to parking lot and continue on as it climbs up an endless amount of very steep switchbacks. In a short distance you'll pass by Norman Creek waterfall. Keep going for approximately 3kms until you reach the top of the switchbacks and a signed trail junction to Sunset Lookout. Stay on the main trail heading straight ahead to Sunset Pass. In another km or so you'll arrive at the meadows and another trail junction pointing towards Norman Lake. Bypass this small lake by staying right towards the Norman Creek N0-5 Campground. Keep going on the trail as it winds it's way through a beautiful open meadow then cross the bridge over Norman Creek. Continue on a short distance to the campsite where you can view the huge expanse of the Norman Creek Meadows. The meadows here are approximately 5kms long and 2Kms wide. This is prime Grizzly Bear habitat, several bear encounters and mauling have occurred in this area. Stop often, make a lot of noise and look ahead for bears as you hike through the meadows. From the Norman Creek Campground keep heading NE through the meadows for another 3.5kms. Once you reach the back side of the meadows the trail enters the forest again and works it's way up past Mount Coleman situated to your left. In another km or so you'll pass by the Banff National Park boundary then the top of the pass and Pinto Lake Lookout.

Views from here are absolutely stunning. Pinto Lake lies 415ms below you and reflects a beautiful aqua blue colour. Pinto lake was named after geologist Arthur Coleman's cantankerous pack horse in 1893. Seems Pinto created enough grief to get this lake named after him. The White Ghost Wilderness area and the Cline River Valley are in view straight ahead. Avoid the temptation to drop down to Pinto Lake unless you're prepared to spend the night. It's another 11kms return from the lookout. The valley to your right leads to Michelle Lakes and Owen Creek. Pinto Lake can be accessed from three directions, Cline River, Sunset Pass and Michelle Lakes. Expect to share the trails with equestrian outfitters. Backpackers will love it here, plan on three days to fully explore the area. Pinto Lake is part of the Great Divide Trail.

Near Here: Local campgrounds include Rampart Creek, Thompson Creek, Two O'clock Creek and Crescent Falls Campground. Trailheads to Alexandra's Henry's Trail, Big Whirlpool, Glacier Lake, Kinglet Lake, Loudan Creek, Michelle Lakes, Icefalls Two O'clock Creek, Sunset Lookout, Owen Creek, Siffleur Falls, Tuff Puff, Two O'clock Ridge, Coral Ridge, Vision Quest, Hoodoo Creek, Allstones Creek, Allstones Lake, Crescent Falls, Siffleur Falls, are all located near here. You are in bear country.

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Sunset Pass Banff National Park
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
  Norman Creek waterfall
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
Unusual Mushroom  
   
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
View From Sunset Lookout Towards Mount Amery  
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
Trail Leading Up To Sunset Pass Looking Towards Norman Lake
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
  Sunset Pass Meadows
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
Norman Creek Norman Creek
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
Norman Creek Sunset Pass Meadows And Norman Creek
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
Sunset Pass Meadows And Mount Coleman Sunset Pass Meadows And Mount Amery
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
Sunset Pass Norman Creek N0-5 backcountry Campground Sunset Pass Norman Creek N0-5 Backcountry Campground
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
   
 
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
Sunset Pass Norman Creek N0-5 Backcountry Campground Mount Coleman
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
Mount Amery Mount Amery
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
Sunset Pass Meadows Looking east Sunset Pass Meadows Looking west
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
Mount Coleman Mount Coleman
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
Views Towards The Cline River Valley Views Towards The Cline River Valley
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
Views Towards The Cline River Valley Mount Coleman
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
Views Towards The Cline River Valley And Pinto Lake Pinto Lake
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
  Pinto Lake
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
Mount Coleman Views Towards Michele Lakes From Sunset Pass
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
Mount Coleman Mount Coleman
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
Brendon Wolthius Memorial Brendon Wolthius Memorial
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
Pinto Lake  
   
Sunset Pass Banff National Park Sunset Pass Banff National Park
Mount Amery Sunset Pass Meadows
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