Guidebook

Lake Louise at its Best: The Skoki Loop Trail

A fabulous and wild 3 day hike through some of the finest scenery in the Rockies.

Nick Keenan

Description

The Skoki Loop is arguably the best 3 day backpacking trip in Banff National Park. With no crowds, beautiful alpine lakes and endless mountain views, this trail has everything you could want out of a backpacking trip.

Considering how close you are to the incredibly popular Lake Louise, it’s hard to believe how tranquil this area is. If you’re looking to have a peaceful long weekend out in nature - with no crowds and awesome views - this is the trail for you.

One of the things that makes this trail so special is just how open it is. Quite often on multi day trips, you spend large portions hiking through the forest trying to gain enough elevation to get to the top of the tree line but that’s not the case here. You are pretty much at the top of the tree line for the entire trail, which makes for a really interesting mix of views.

The highlight of this trail for me wasn’t the amazing views of the surrounding peaks, or the wide variety of wildlife you might see, or even the wide range of wildflowers... for me the real highlight of this loop is the alpine lakes you visit. This trail has some of the most picturesque lakes you will see anywhere in the world - if there was a road up to this area it would be as busy as the world famous Lake Louise.

Thankfully there is no road, so there is just you and nature. These lakes, especially the ones on Packers Pass, are only visited by a small number of people each year, and the bonus of doing this as a backpacking trip is that you are virtually guaranteed solitude most of the way.

This is an awesome place to come visit during larch season; the colour of the larches reflecting in the lakes along with the surrounding mountains make for some surreal views. Regardless of which month you complete this loop, I can guarantee it will be an experience you will be looking back on for many years ahead.

Skoki Loop - Lake Louise Ski Resort to Baker Lake
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Skoki Loop - Lake Louise Ski Resort to Baker Lake

Lake Louise
3 - 4 hrs
13.1 km
700 m
159 m
If you want some of the best scenery in Banff National Park without the crowds, then this is the hike for you!
Moderate
Private
Skoki Loop - Baker Lake to Merlin Meadows
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Skoki Loop - Baker Lake to Merlin Meadows

Banff National Park
4 - 5 hrs
14.9 km
429 m
605 m
A wonderful hike through the valley to Skoki Lodge, followed by an incredibly scenic side trip to Lake Merlin will make for a very scenic and peaceful day in the mountains.
Difficult
Private
Skoki Loop - Merlin Meadows to Lake Louise Ski Resort
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Skoki Loop - Merlin Meadows to Lake Louise Ski Resort

Banff National Park
4 - 5 hrs
16.7 km
574 m
939 m
No words can do justice to just how stunning & secluded this section of trail is, it's the highlight of the entire Skoki Loop - just check out the pictures to see what you're in for.
Severe
Private