Bow Valley Highline Trail
an awesome backpacking trip of lakes, meadows, and high passes

Adam, Leila, and I spent four days in August along this excellent 55km traverse.


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Days 3 and 4 on this page, days 1 and 2 on page 1

Day 3 - from Ball Pass Junction, by Shadow Lake, and over Gibbon Pass to Twin Lakes campground.

After yesterday's lazy morning, we wanted an earlier start to the day, so packed up quickly and got hiking.
We covered the 4km to Shadow Lake relatively quickly, and stopped there to enjoy a leisurely breakfast.
We also enjoyed the day's only sun, which gave gorgeous colour to the lake.

Unnamed mountain connected to Haiduk Peak.

Shadow Lake and Mount Ball.

Adam at last gets his morning coffee.

Leila takes a break.

Group shot at Shadow Lake.

Small pond along the trail.

After Shadow Lake, the trail heads up to Gibbon Pass.
This one is not the highest, but is a very pretty pass, and must be spectacular when the larch are in colour.

Trail through dense larch.

Trail winds up to Gibbon Pass.

Leila walks through the larch trees.

Broad expanse of Gibbon Pass.

Old land marker at the top of the pass.

Mount Assiniboine in the distance to south.

Beyond Gibbon Pass, we descend past Lower Twin Lake to the upper lake, at which is found the campground.

Descending towards Storm Mountain.

Waterfall into Lower Twin Lake.

Day 4 - Upper Twin Lake, by Arnica Lake and Vista Lake, to trailhead at highway 93.

We woke up to by far the most beautiful day yet, at the very pretty Twin Lakes campground.
While this campground had the least comfortable tent sites (slanted ground, roots, etc.),
it was in a very nice location, with the eating area just off the lake, and few people (only two other groups).

Upper Twin Lake and Storm Mountain.

Breakfast.

Different view of Upper Twin Lake, from its outflow. Storm Mountain above it, and unnamed outlier behind.

It's 200m up over the shoulder of a small spur extending from Storm Mountain for our last high point, just under which is tuceked Arnica Lake.
Arnica lake is small and deep green, and on this finally warm and sunny day, it was too inviting to resist.
While Leila and Adam could not be coerced into joining, I jumped in for an icy refreshment.

Adam and Leila make it over the last hill.

Arnica Lake below Storm Mountain.

Shoreline at pretty arnica lake.

Footprints into the water.

Rachel at Arnica Lake.

Arnica Lake.

Rocky shoreline and the sparkling water.

Another hiker going for a dip.

After Arnica Lake we are finished with going up, and begin the long, steep descent to Altrude Creek.
The trail is loose in places near the top, before reforming to a decent forested trail as we fall below treeline.
At the very bottom (and our lowest elevation of the trip), is Vista Lake, a long, pretty blue little lake.

Boom Mountain, Mount Quadra, Mount Bell.

Icefield on Mount Whymper.

Descent trail to Vista Lake and highway.

Trail through saved forest.

Creek flowing downhill with us.

First look into Vista Lake.

Vista Lake from its outflow.

Leila and Adam reach the lake.

Adam and Leila hike along the lake.

After Vista Lake, we are a mere 2km from our cars, but we must gain a final 150m to reach the highway.
Thankfully, the grade was not actually near so bad as it had seemed on paper, and we reentered civilization with no major problems.

We can see the cars! and our last ascent.

Vista lake, green from above.

Altrude Lakes which flow into Vista.

Group shot at the end. We survived!


Go back for days 1 and 2.

Photos taken by Rachel.

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