3 - 4
FATMAP difficulty grade
This route really is one of the best in Banff National Park and it has everything you could possibly want from a hike, with scenic views for the majority of the trail, two awesome alpine lakes, and one of the best campsites you will find anywhere.
This route is designed to be day 1 of a 3 day backpacking trip around the Skoki loop, which is easily one of, if not the best backpacking trips in Banff National Park, especially if completed during larch season.
You start the day at Lake Louise Ski Resort, after a short hike on an access road, you soon arrive at the main ski area.
From here, you generally have wide open views in every direction for the rest of the trial.
After a few hours of hiking you reach Halfway hut, which is nestled in a very scenic location on trail, and makes a perfect spot to have lunch and admire the 360 views of the Ptarmigan Valley.
This hut is of historical interest, as it was built as a halfway point for people heading to Skoki Lodge, and was the beginning of winter recreation in the Skoki area.
A little further up the trail, you will finally get your first view of Ptarmigan lake and the Skoki Valley, this is the point on trail when you know all the effort to get here was totally worth it! As you make your way around the Lake, you will start to see Baker Lake ahead in the distance, and from here it's an easy walk down to Baker Lake, where you can set up camp and enjoy the sunset from the edge of the lake.
Baker Lake has to be one of the nicest campgrounds in Banff National park, it's hard to beat the views you get from here and not just during the day.
With no light pollution, the night sky here is pretty spectacular too.
If you're really lucky, you might even see the northern lights. As this hike is in a National Park, permits and advanced booking are required for campgrounds, along with park passes.
Porcupines are common in the area, so make sure not to leave anything outside your tent.
Bears are also common in Banff National park, especially around Lake Louise Ski resort.