Let us take you to Egypt Lake valley in Banff National Park, a remote place in the heart of the Canadian Rockies to climb one of the valley’s most impressive summits, Pharaoh Peak at 2711 m. This difficult 33 km-hike can be done in two to three days while staying at the Egypt Lake campground (we did it in three). This trail will also take you to the famous Healy Pass, a place surrounded by wildflowers and breathtaking views.
This is one of the most beautiful hiking experiences done by C’est Notre Monde. Far from civilization with awe-inspiring panoramas, this trip will leave an impression that lasts.
Read on for our tips and directions to enjoy this favorite backcountry hike.
Getting to Sunshine Village Ski Resort:
Parking access to Pharaoh Peak and Egypt Lake valley hike: https://goo.gl/maps/K94iq3tG7FXnWmCi7
From Calgary: 145 km – 1h45 driving time driving time
Take the Trans-Canada hwy AB-1 West toward Banff for approximately 123 km, until the exit toward Sunshine Village Ski resort. Follow the road until you reach the resort’s parking lot.
To enjoy your hike, you must:
Be Equipped: Hiking boots are a necessity. A steep section of the hike (easy scramble) requires ankle protection. Hiking poles are also recommended on your way down. Grizzlies are usually present in the area, therefore bear spray should be easily accessible in the case of unexpected encounters.
If you are camping at Egypt Lake (strongly recommended), make sure to bring a water filtration system, meals, and your essential camping gear. The campground is “unserviced” or “dry” so you will need to carry the essentials to be fully autonomous in this remote and isolated area. There is no phone service in the valley so we also recommend using a GPS device such as the Garmin InReach, in the event of an emergency it can keep you in contact with close ones and send out emergency signals. Lastly, insect repellent is highly recommended for the many mosquitoes!
Parking: You can park in the Sunshine Village Ski resort parking lot. Make sure that your Parks Canada pass is visible inside your vehicle.
Information: Access to Canadian National Parks is not free. You can either take a daily or annual pass. At the entrance to Banff National Park, there will be a toll on the highway where you can purchase a pass if you do not have one already. It is essential to consult the weather forecast before attempting to climb Pharaoh Peak.
Regarding backcountry camping: you must have a reservation to camp at Egypt Lake. You can reserve a spot on the Parks Canada website and we strongly recommend that you make a reservation right at the opening of the booking season (the date varies each year) as this place is popular with limited spots. Otherwise, keep an eye on the website for last-minute cancellations.
[Day 1] The hike starts at the parking lot of Sunshine Village Ski resort. You will need to walk past the gondola and cross the Healy Creek river on your left (there is a bridge). A sign will indicate the direction of Healy Pass, the first step of your hike, before reaching Egypt Lake valley. The first section of this long hike will be in a dense forest, following a river with an easy continuous climb. After 7.5 km (4.6 mi) and around 500 m (1640 ft) of elevation gain, you will reach a meadow with lakes and wildflowers. You are getting closer to Healy Pass and the stunning views are just beginning.
Pharaoh Peak is located in the Egypt Lake valley, in the heart of Banff National Park.
The last 1.6km (1 mi) before the pass is beautiful. The trail climbs a bit more but never becomes too steep. Once at Healy Pass (2370m) you will have a view of the valley you are coming from, with lakes, forest, meadows, and a view of Mount Assiniboine behind. On the other side, Egypt Lake valley with the impressive Pharaoh Peak in the middle, the ultimate goal for this trip. Healy Pass is the perfect place for a well-deserved lunch break.
Reaching Healy Pass is the first step of your hike, before reaching Egypt Lake valley.
Continue along the trail descending toward the Egypt Lake valley. This section starts in a beautiful meadow and soon transitions to forest. After 2.9 km (1.8 mi) and a 360 m descent, you will get to the Park Canada Ranger cabin. Past this, a bridge will take you to the Egypt Lake campground. Pick one of the designated camping spots. Once reserved, it is a first come first serve policy. Once settled, you will appreciate the calm of this place, right at the foot of the massive Pharaoh Peak.
From Healy Pass, you will observe the Egypt Lake valley with the impressive Pharaoh Peak in the middle, the ultimate goal for this trip
[Day 2] Leave your tent and camping gear and continue the trail that took you to the campground. It veers left around Pharaoh Peak and takes you to the bottom of a cliff. Before climbing it, we suggest you go have a look at Egypt Lake, on your left, and enjoy this very peaceful place. The cliff can be climbed by following a poorly indicated and maintained trail. A GPS device or application on your phone can help confirm that you are heading in the right direction. Once at the top of the cliff, you will have a beautiful viewpoint of Egypt Lake.
The trail improves and is easier to follow. Continue your hike until you see a steep path on your left, leading to the top of Pharaoh Peak, crossing a scree section. The scrambling begins! You will need to climb 400 meters in 1 km (0.6 mi), so take your time as this section can become exhausting.
Before heading to Pharaoh Peak, we suggest you go have a look at Egypt Lake and enjoy this very peaceful place
Once at the top of Pharaoh Peak, at 2711 meters high, all your efforts since day 1 will be rewarded. You have one of the most impressive panoramas of the Canadian Rockies in front of you. An opening between two mountains, with Scarab and Mummy lakes in the middle, create a breathtaking view. You will see summits carving the horizon and no signs of civilization. This is one of C’est Notre Monde favorite viewpoints. Take time to appreciate all the mountains have to offer.
From the top of Pharaoh Peak, you will see summits carving the horizon and no signs of civilization. This is one of C’est Notre Monde favorite viewpoints in the Canadian Rockies.
Retrace your steps down Pharaoh Peak until you reach the trail at its bottom. Take your time and make sure to not create rock falls for hikers below you. Once the trail is reached, follow it toward the campground. We strongly advise a short detour to Scarab Lake by stopping at the first intersection and turning right. It is a beautiful lake right at the foot of the massive Mount Haiduk. Will you be able to find the hidden waterfall that feeds water from Scrab lake to Egypt lake? This place is truly a natural paradise.
Will you be able to find the hidden waterfall that feeds water from Scrab lake to Egypt Lake. This place is truly a natural paradise.
Retrace your step toward the intersection, then follow the trail down the cliff to reach Egypt Lake Campground, where you left your tent. Scarab lake is only 2.3km away from the campground. Enjoy a second night in this beautiful place.
[Day 3] Retrace the steps of day one, going through Healy Pass, all the way to Sunshine Village Ski Resort. This is a 9km (5.6 mi) hike.
Approximately 33,5 km / 20.8 miles
Around 12 hours
2711 meters / 8894 feet
Around 1913 meters / 6277 feet
See on Caltopo (detailed)
See on Google Maps (basic)
Weather forecast: https://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Haiduk-Peak/forecasts/2920
Download GPX: https://www.cnotremonde.com/gpx/Pharaoh-Peak-AB-cestnotremonde.gpx