saddle mountain

Saddleback Pass, Banff pt. 2

Here are the rest of the photos from our hike to Saddleback Pass. We had hiked up high enough in these photos that we started to get into a lot of snow as opposed to rain/melting snowflakes which makes posting this today seem very appropriate as we have finally gotten our first bit of snow in Alberta (on lower ground anyways) over the weekend. 

The trail photos able also give an idea of why the trail is considered more on the difficult side, the majority of the hike is steep and uneven, totally worth it though! But it's good to take note if you don't hike very often or plan on taking someone else out who might not appreciate the climb. 

As you get closer to reaching Saddleback Pass the trail begins to wind through folds of mountains and trees, it's really incredible and difficult to capture the vastness of the surrounding mountains in photographs. 

At the top! From here you can continue on to hike up Fairview Mountain (very intense/high peak) which we skipped since it was getting later in the day and we wouldn't be able to appreciate/see the view through all the fog. You can also continue on down into a valley, however depending on what time of year you visit the area is restricted to groups of 4 or larger due to high grizzly activity. You can venture down with less people but that could get very scary very quickly or you could face a steep fine, so just avoid it or make friends on the trail. We hope to check both areas as soon as we can!

get busy living deep!

Saddleback Pass, Banff pt. 1

The Saddleback trail takes you between Saddle Mountain and Fairview Mountain offering amazing views of Paradise Valley and Lake Louise below as well golden alpine larches in the fall. The trail starts at both the upper parking lot in Lake Louise as well from the lake shore near the boathouse, just follow the Saddleback trail and don't veer off when it forks to the Fairview Lookout. 

The hike takes about 3-4 hours and is considered difficult. I've seen some sites list it as 'easy', it's not, they're lying. The trail is almost entirely uphill and very steep and uneven in a lot of spots- nothing scary but you definitely need good leg muscles. 

The day we went out the weather was cold and rainy which meant a lot of fog up in the mountains that ended up blocking our view. We were able to catch a small glimpse of the hotel in the photos below, but other than that our hike was filled with a thick fog and rain that eventually turned to snow. It would have been nice to see the valley below, but the fog was so beautiful we didn't really mind.

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Since the weather wasn't the greatest we saw very few people on the trail, aside from at the trailhead, but everyone turned off at the fairview lookout. It may have been because we were on bear alert and turning our heads at any crack we heard, but the woods definitely had a eerie vibe to them as we turned around foggy bends and switchbacks. 

Check back next week to see the second half of the trail ft. all of the snow! 

get busy living deep!