OverviewClose to the ski resort area near Banff known as Sunshine. This incredably scenic area is slighty to the west and south of the crowds that flock to downhill ski. If you wish to do some backcountry sking or snowshoeing in the winter this should be on your list. Summertime offers the hiker/scrambler pleanty of opportunities for fun. The access is the same as if you were heading out to ski at Sunshine. In the winter the only thing to watch for would be that the parking area fills up quickly so an early departure will be in order. Not an issue in the summer season.
Snowshoeing in Sunshine meadows near Rock Isle lake. The Monarch and Monarch Ridge is in the background.
Getting ThereFrom Calgary take the Trans-Canada west through Canmore and Banff till you see the cutoff for Sunshine Ski resort or Sunshine Village road as it is called. Continue till you reach the parking at the end of the road. In the ski season be sure to mention if you are staying overnight. You will be directed to a separate park area that is beyond the gondola buildings. Here your car will not be towed if left overnight. The reason for possible towing is they must keep the dayuse parking clear of snow for the next day. The plows need room to move in the event of snowfall. In the summer don't worry about this. Hike or snowshoe up the ski out trail to the Sunshine Village area (5.7 km) keeping out of the way of any skiers. If it is the morning there should not be too many people sking out. Once you are passed the Village keep heading west past Standish to the clearly marked boundry to the ski resort. Here the meadow area presents itself. You are on your own here and the resort is not responsible for you rescue-wise. There is an alternative from the parking area. A trail called the Healy Pass trail also starts from this point. This will take you more to the north-west. This is also worth the visit.
Simpson Peak or Octopus Mountain from near Grizzly lake.
Red TapeYou will be in Banff National Park (AB) and Mount Assinaboine Provincial Park (BC) so a parks pass will be necessary. If you are overnighting that permit will be required as well.
Rates for Parks Canada as of May 1, 2007:
Commercial Group, per person-$6.40
School Groups, per student-$3.95
Annual - National Parks of Canada
Includes entry to 27 participating National Parks.
Annual - Discovery Package
BACKCOUNTRY USE AND CAMPING
Bryant Creek and Egypt Lake Shelter, per person-$6.90
Overnight, per person-$9.90
Annual, per person-$69.35
Grazing Permit, per horse, per day-$1.70
Grazing Permit, per horse, per month-$21.75
Valid at Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho national parks.
Banff National Park
Banff and Lake LouiseTry this for activities in the area
Banff Lake Louise Tourist Bureau
Alpine Club of CanadaJoining a club such as The Alpine Club of Canada is recommended when climbing in Canada. While it is not obligatory, useful information can be had at any of their Clubhouse in Canmore, or at their website which is open to everyone.
Staying at the club in Canmore is 21$ Canadian for members and 28$ for non-members. It can get quite crowded in the summer so a reservation is recommended.