Summer Adventures 2022 – Part 2 Skoki

by | Jan 5, 2023 | Backpacking Trail Reports, Banff National Park, Canada

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Day 1 – August 18th – Fish Creek trailhead to Baker Lake (12km, 750m elevation gain, 150m elevation loss)

My second trip of the summer was a family trip with my son and daughter joining for this one. I had planned a two-night trip to Baker Lake and Merlin Meadows with a stop by the famous Skoki Lodge for tea along the way.

The first part of the trail is, shall we say, meh. It’s a restricted access road for Parks staff, Skoki Lodge, Outfitters and operators of the Lake Louise Ski resort. 4km of boring, dusty, steadily climbing, road, with the odd vehicle passing by. Those staying at the Skoki Lodge get to bypass this part via a shuttle bus, but for us plebes, it’s the road.

As you pass by the Temple Lodge (part of the Ski Resort and closed in the summer), things start to improve. It was a nice day and getting off the road onto an actual trail was nice. Heading up the valley, the views start to improve and the trees start to thin out. Crossing a bridge you come up to the Halfway Hut. Built in 1931, it’s mainly used by those skiing to Skoki Lodge in the winter to warm up. It was a neat piece of history to experience while we grabbed lunch.

Temperatures had started to warm up as we climbed up to Boulder Pass, views were great as we tried to find spot of shade as best we could. Over the pass, you can see Ptarmigan Lake in all it’s glory. The high alpine valley seemed to invite exploration in just about any direction. Definitely one of the highlights of this trip.

Making our way around the lake, we passed the junction that takes you over Deception Pass, or down towards Baker Lake. The campground was nice, with a combination of tent pads, large eating area and food hangs. We cooked up dinner as a few other groups came in for the night and watched the sun go down.

The stories of the notorious Baker Lake Porcupines are true. We could hear them rambling about and screeching about 3am, which game my daughter a bit of a scare. Around 6am we saw a nose poke into our open tent fly as someone tried to steal one of my sons boots (they’ll chew on anything with salt on it). A simple shoo and gentle poke with my hiking pole and they moseyed off for sights unknown.

Day 2 – August 19th – Baker Lake to Fish Creek trailhead (12km, 150m elevation gain, 750m elevation loss)

While our original plan had been to hike to Merlin Meadows for a second night, my daughter had developed a blister on her foot and wasn’t feeling well (likely dehydrated from the previous day). I hoped breakfast would perk things up, but as I’ve learned hiking with kids (and youth) better for them to have a good time and look forward to the next hike, than have a suffer fest that turns them off the idea. We decided to hike out the way we came and enjoyed the same views from the other direction. The sun rising over Baker Lake was a sight to be seen, and Ptarmigan Lake was just as spectacular the next day. It didn’t take us long to make it back to the hut for a break and then down to the boring road. Here I bumped into my third park ranger of the season. He checked our permits and wished us a great trip out.

It had been a few years since I last did a backpacking trip with my kids, and we’re already planning another trip for next year.

Canada & US

Our Backpacking Trail Reports are mainly from Western Canada and the United States.

Our 2020 & 2021 backpacking hiking on the Great Divide Trail. View our planning and trail reports for sections A-G.

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