Banff Highline Traverse

Eight day guided and catered backpacking trip
2020 Dates: By request

This seven day trip travels through the heart of the Rocky Mountains, with some of the most impressive scenery to be found in Banff National Park.  Alpine passes, wildflower filled meadows, serene lakes....this trip has it all.  We'll start on the west and travel eastward, keeping the majestic Mt. Assiniboine in view.


Trip Difficulty:

This trip is rated as 'challenging'.  We will have two resupply points enroute so our packs won't be too heavy with food, but we'll be challenged by the length of the distances traveled each day.  Each person will be carrying a share of the group equipment and food, with pack weights up to 45 lbs (depending on how lightweight you can pack!).  You will need to be fit enough to carry a backpack for multiple days in mountainous terrain.


Accommodation and Meals:

We will be staying in lightweight backpacking tents and in established national and provincial park backcountry campgrounds. Each campsite is equipped with outhouses and food storage facilities.  You are responsible for supplying your own tent, however, we will arrange for a tent rental on your behalf if you require (extra charge will apply).


Meals will be lightweight backpacking food (dried food), although we will have some fresh food earlier in the trip and at our two resupply points.  Each day will consist of three nutritious (and tasty!) meals and some snacks to keep us fueled throughout the day.




Evening  - Meet in Canmore the evening before the trip start date to sign waivers, discuss the logistics and to ensure everybody has appropriate equipment for the trip.


Day 1 - Vista Lake trailhead to Shadow Lake

Drive to the Vista/Arnica Lake trailhead on Hwy 93S, about 1 hour from Canmore.  From there our day will be filled with an abundance of beautiful lakes as we visit Arnica and Twin Lakes, and then continuing up to Gibbon Pass where we get our first glimpse of Mt Assiniboine.  From there we descend to our camp at Shadow Lake. 

Distance: 14km, Elevation: 1100m up, 300m down.


Day 2 - Shadow Lake to Egypt Lake 

From Shadow Lake we travel with Mt Ball in our view, through the Whistling Valley and up to Whistling Pass.  From there we will drop down to our camp for the night at Egypt Lake. 

Distance: 14km.  Elevation: 480m up, 300m down.


Day 3 - Egypt Lake to Howard Douglas Lake

After breakfast we'll leave Egypt Lake and head towards Healy Pass.  Today is a day filled with alpine meadows and wildflowers galore, as we travel through Sunshine meadows, and then along Quartz Hill and to our campsite at Howard Douglas Lake.  

Distance: 19km, Elevation: 630m up, 350m down.


Day 4 - Howard Douglas Lake to Og Lake

Today is another incredible day as we wind our way over Citadel Pass and through the Golden Valley to our campsite at Og Lake.  

Distance: 16.5km. Elevation: 400m up, 600m down.


Day 5 - Og Lake to Magog Lake

Today we have only a short distance to cover, so we can either have a little sleep in and a leisurely breakfast, or get an early start and have some relaxing and exploring time once we reach Magog Lake.  Here we'll marvel at the high peak of Mt Assiniboine towering above us. 

Distance: 7km. Elevation: 120m up.


Day 6 - Day hike

We have a few options on day 6.  There are several options for day hikes and exploration in the Assiniboine area, or you can take a well deserved rest day to gain some energy for the final day.


Day 7 - Magog Lake to Marvel Lake

Today we’ll reluctantly leave the Assiniboine vista behind, as we head past the Towers and up and over Wonder Pass.  Once on the other side of the pass, we’ll be rewarded with views of Marvel Lake, our destination for the night.  As we head down, down, down we’ll be glad we aren’t headed up this trail.  We’ll make camp at Marvel Lake for the night. 

Distance: 12.5km.  Elevation: 280m up, 690m down.

Day 8 - Marvel Lake to Mt Shark trailhead

On our final day we will travel over a rolling forest trail with light packs, through a beautiful river valley.  After leaving Marvel Lake, we'll meet up with the Bryant Creek trail, and head down valley to the Mt Shark trails and the parking lot.  We’ll get back with time to check-in to accommodation, enjoy hot showers and get ready for a celebratory dinner out! 

Distance: 13.6km.  Elevation: minimal elevation change.


Logistics:  This is a one way trip, so Aster Mountain Adventures will arrange for a shuttle to both the starting and finishing trailheads.



Group equipment supplied by Aster Mountain Adventures: all cooking equipment, group tarp in case of rain, first aid and equipment repair kits, and emergency communication devices.


Personal equipment: Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, cup/bowl/utensils, personal clothing and toiletries.

Cost includes guiding, backcountry camping fees, group equipment and all food beginning with lunch on the first day and concluding with lunch on the final day.  


Cost does not include: personal equipment, pre- or post-trip accommodation, breakfast on the first day or gratuities.


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