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Healy Pass
Banff National Park, Alberta
August 4, 2020

Hiking Healy Pass at the height of the wildflower season was like walking through a vast garden. Meadows filled with vibrant wildflowers stretched as far as the eye could see. It's a wonder Dinah and I hadn't done this trip sooner.

Our hike began with a long walk from the Sunshine ski parking lot to the trailhead. The gondola parking lot was closed, presumably in response to the coronavirus pandemic, so we had to park an extra 400 m away. The trailhead is behind the gondola station.

There wasn't much to see as the trail winds through trees and runs alongside Healy Creek. After 6 km, the path shakes free of pine trees and enters small meadows bordered by larches. A stunning array of wildflowers blanketed the meadows, but there was more to come. Soon we passed boundless meadows filled with colourful flowers. We also eyeballed Monarch Ramparts which extends to Healy Pass.

At the pass, we took a break. Meanwhile, several groups passed by, mostly from the trailhead but also a few backpackers coming up from Egypt Lake on the other side of the pass.

We wished we could have capped our trip by hiking up Monarch Ramparts, but its entire length from Healy Pass to Eohippus Lake is closed June 1 - October 15 to protect the environment. Straying from official trails is also prohibited. So with no place to go but down, we turned around.

The hike to Healy Pass is long but rewarding. But after seeing the wildflowers in the summer, I imagine it would be equally satisfying to regard the larches in the autumn. Wildflowers or larches, I expect we'll return.

KML and GPX Tracks


The trailhead is behind the gondola station


There is little to see for a long way in


There are few flowers along the trail


At a bridge crossing Healy Creek, there's a pleasant spot to take a break


The trail hits rocky sections before the meadows


At the first meadow, a rock (behind the tree) makes a welcomed rest spot


We hiked through meadows filled with wildflowers


The trail crosses this stream twice


Wildflowers were mostly a mix of purple and yellow


The trail passes stands of larches


More trees ahead


A few Indian paintbrush wildflowers could be seen


Ahead the slope is oddly devoid of flowers


On the right are The Monarch and Monarch Ramparts


Another view of Monarch Ramparts plus a lake


The pass is after the next bend


Monarch Ramparts are closed to protect the environment (mouse over to read the sign)


West, Scarab Peak rises above Scarab Lake and Egypt Lake (mouse over for a close-up)


We relaxed on a rock on the pass


Heading back. In the centre is Twin Cairns (mouse over). We climbed it in 2015, but it's likely off-limits now.


82 O/4 Banff


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