Great Divide Trail North Saskatchewan River to Pinto Lake

Lake Louise, British Columbia

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Strenuous hiking over three high passes with cross-country travel in the alpine. This segment offers the hardest won and most rewarding hiking on the GDT. It is a backcountry hiker ’s paradise. The route up Owen Creek is difficult but instantly gratifying with a truly astounding canyon that cannot be more than a couple of meters wide in places yet breathtakingly deep. Chockstones wedged along the mouth of the canyon let you peer into its sonorous depths. Farther up the valley you will see the Wilson Icefield as an icy skyline montage. Near the head of Owen Creek the trail parallels an immense rockwall for 18 km, mostly through the alpine. Waterfalls all along this rockwall relieve the grand cornices and remnant snow pack of their melt water into late summer. You pass beautiful Michele Lakes and surmount the highest pass of the entire GDT. Every cirque holds its own surprise and it is hard not to feel like an explorer seeing this wondrous land for the first time.

Great Divide Trail: North Saskatchewan River to Pinto Lake Professional Review and Guide

"Strenuous hiking over three high passes with cross-country travel in the alpine. This segment offers the hardest won and most rewarding hiking on the GDT. It is a backcountry hiker ’s paradise. The route up Owen Creek is difficult but instantly gratifying with a truly astounding canyon that cannot be more than a couple of meters wide in places yet breathtakingly deep. Chockstones wedged along the mouth of the canyon let you peer into its sonorous depths.

Farther up the valley you will see the Wilson Icefield as an icy skyline montage. Near the head of Owen Creek the trail parallels an immense rockwall for 18 km, mostly through the alpine. Waterfalls all along this rockwall relieve the grand cornices and remnant snow pack of their melt water into late summer. You pass beautiful Michele Lakes and surmount the highest pass of the entire GDT. Every cirque holds its own surprise and it is hard not to feel like an explorer seeing this wondrous land for the first time."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Lake Louise
Distance: 20.3
Trail Type: Shuttle
Skill Level: Difficult
Season: Summer depending on snow pack
Local Contacts: Banff National Park, 403-762-1550
Local Maps: 82 N / 15 Mistaya Lake and 83 C / 2 Cline River
Driving Directions: Directions to Great Divide Trail: North Saskatchewan River to Pinto Lake

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May 2018