Arnica Lake

Banff, Alberta

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Arnica Lake is a smallish green lake set below sheer cliffs of an outlier of Storm Mountain. To reach it, you travel through the remains of the devastating fire of 1968. Charred skeletons of trees and new growth dominate the terrain. The trail descends to Vista Lake, and then climbs relentlessly up the slope of Storm Mountain. Although the grade is not quite steep, the continuous ascent is a demanding one, making this short hike seem longer than it really is. Strong hikers may want to go 2.2 km past Arnica Lake to Upper Twin Lake, a larger, more colourful tarn than Arnica Lake, also beneath the face of Storm Mountain. Lower Twin Lake is an additional 1 km to the south. Vista Lake is a fairly large green body of water visible from the parking lot. Like Arnica Lake, it is fringed with shallows, and so displays striking colour variations. Twin Lakes are larger and have more spectacular settings than do Vista and Arnica lakes. Remember that at the end of the day you face another long climb to return to the trailhead.

Arnica Lake Professional Review and Guide

"Arnica Lake is a smallish green lake set below sheer cliffs of an outlier of Storm Mountain. To reach it, you travel through the remains of the devastating fire of 1968. Charred skeletons of trees and new growth dominate the terrain. The trail descends to Vista Lake, and then climbs relentlessly up the slope of Storm Mountain. Although the grade is not quite steep, the continuous ascent is a demanding one, making this short hike seem longer than it really is.

Strong hikers may want to go 2.2 km past Arnica Lake to Upper Twin Lake, a larger, more colourful tarn than Arnica Lake, also beneath the face of Storm Mountain. Lower Twin Lake is an additional 1 km to the south. Vista Lake is a fairly large green body of water visible from the parking lot. Like Arnica Lake, it is fringed with shallows, and so displays striking colour variations. Twin Lakes are larger and have more spectacular settings than do Vista and Arnica lakes. Remember that at the end of the day you face another long climb to return to the trailhead."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Banff
Distance: 6.4
Elevation Gain: 2,200 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 3 hours
Season: Best in summer months
Local Contacts: Banff National Park
Driving Directions: Directions to Arnica Lake

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