Sunshine-Meadows-Larch

Hiking Banff National Park – Sunshine Meadows

While Sunshine is most well-known for skiing, the summer gondola and shuttle bus service make Sunshine Meadows one of the most accessible alpine hiking areas in the Canadian Rockies from late June through late September. For some, its a starting point for backpacking adventures to Mt. Assiniboine or the Egypt/Pharoah Lakes area. For dayhikers like us, prime times to visit Sunshine Meadows are during peak wildflower season (usually towards the end of July) and peak larch viewing season (usually towards the end of September). Our most recent larch season visit was timed just about perfectly and reaffirmed that it's well worth the effort to do at least one golden larch hike each fall.

Citadel-Pass

Hiking Banff National Park – Sunshine Village to Citadel Pass

We first hiked to Citadel Pass in 2009. After seven years, two things prompted us to return: first, there's summer weekend gondola service to Sunshine Village; and second, the moderate elevation gain is something I can handle even with a torn ACL. Our late July timing was ideal. The wildflowers were fantastic! We also spotted a male Mountain Bluebird and enjoyed the company of countless Columbian Ground Squirrels. For more than half the day we enjoyed blue skies which meant great long distance viewing of the cone of Mt. Assiniboine - something cloaked by forest fire smoke during our 2009 exploration of this trail.

Sunshine-Meadows

Hiking Banff National Park – Sunshine Meadows

All through last summer we kept our fingers crossed that we'd be able to use our Sunshine Meadows shuttle tickets during wildflower season. But to our disappointment, the June flood damage was so extensive that the shuttle service didn't run again in 2013. So as soon as online bookings opened for the 2014 hiking season, …

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Rock Isle Lake

Hiking Banff National Park – Sunshine Meadows

Taking advantage of bargain end-of-season pricing for seats on the shuttle bus, we caught the Saturday morning 9 o'clock ride to Sunshine Meadows. Earlier this summer, we hiked from Sunshine Meadows to Healy Pass and in 2009 we hiked to Citadel Pass. This time out, we opted to walk the approx. 12 km Sunshine Meadows …

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Looking west from Simpson Pass

Hiking Banff National Park – Sunshine Meadows to Healy Pass

Neil Jennings was one of the guests on alberta@noon (CBC Radio) last Tuesday. Fly fisherman, photographer and author of 7 books, Mr. Jennings is an expert on wildflowers. Since he was taking calls and emails from listeners, Mrs. GeoK dashed off a quick email with two wildflowers she'd photographed earlier in July but hadn't been …

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