Fairview Mountain

Banff National Park

One of the best views in Banff National Park, reached by a strenuous hike from the lakeshore.

Hiking Difficult

Distance
9.5 km
Ascent
980 m
Descent
980 m
Duration
3-4 hrs
Low Point
1.7 km
High Point
2.7 km
Gradient
21˚
Fairview Mountain Map

Fairview is the mountain that looms over the south shore of Lake Louise. Viewed from the lakeshore, its cliff-banded face looks unscalable. But there is in fact an easy route on the mountain’s south slopes which begins from the Chateau area. It’s easy compared to other Canadian Rockies summits, that is. A trail leads to the top, but it’s very steep and can experience extreme weather. In good weather, the view is one of the best anywhere in Banff National Park. You can see up and down the Bow River Valley, peer straight down at the turquoise water of Lake Louise, and gaze at the cirque of peaks and glaciers beyond.

Description

The hike begins as the trail to Saddleback, near the Lake Louise boathouse. This trail quickly departs the bustle of the lakeshore area and rises steadily through a dense conifer forest. Grizzly bear sightings are not uncommon here, so use caution. Views are limited for most of the time, but the trail crosses some slide paths with shorter trees, where you’ll see the valley getting wider and wider as you gain elevation.

Eventually, you’ll reach Saddleback, which is the pass between Fairview and Saddle Mountains. This area is forested by larch trees, which are quite colorful in the fall. From there, the trail breaks treeline and heads steeply up south-facing talus slopes. These melt out rather quickly, but can still have snow and ice into May, and winter weather can return by mid-September. Follow the worn path and rock cairns to the top, where you’ll find Fairview’s fantastic panorama.

Sources: https://www.summitpost.org/mount-fairview/151994 http://www.wmsll.com/lake-louise-trails/hiking-trail-guide.php

Difficulty

Difficult

Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

May, June, July, August, September, October

Features

  • Alpine
  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Wild flowers
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area