Trails into the Core Area of Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park
Trail Report [PDF] (October 15, 2018)
Please note: Trail reports updated regularly June-August as trails melt out.
Highway 93 to Magog Lake
The trail starts at the junction of the Vermilion and Simpson Rivers near Highway 93, about 56 km north of Radium Hot Springs; it follows the Simpson River to its junction with Surprise Creek. Distance travelled is approximately 10 km, and for experienced hikers under good conditions, the travel time is estimated at 2-3 hours. From this point, one trail follows Surprise Creek via Rock Lake to Ferro Pass (a distance of about 11 km and an estimated travel time of 2-3 hours); the Mitchell Meadows campground is about 1.5 km from Ferro Pass and the Magog Lake Campground is about 5-6 km farther along. Another trail continues along the Simpson River through Golden Valley and the Valley of the Rocks and along Og Creek to Magog Lake (distance travelled is 32 km, the elevation change is 1,250 metres, and the maximum elevation is 2,287 metres). The risk of grizzly bear encounters between Scout and Porcupine Camps on the Simpson River Trail is higher than in other areas of the park.
Spray Reservoir to Magog Lake
Access to the trails entering the park originate from the Spray Reservoir road located south of Canmore, Alberta. The road leads south from Canmore for approximately 15 km to the junction of the Smith Dorian Highway. Follow the Smith Dorian Highway for approximately 39 km to the turn-off marked Shark Mountain. There is a parking lot located 7 km from this turn-off. The trail to the park starts here and leads along the shore of Watridge Lake, crossing two bridges before meeting the Bryant Creek Trail (in Banff National Park). From this point the trail follows Bryant Creek to Assiniboine Pass (distance travelled is 21 km, estimated hiking time is 6 hours). Banff National Park offers several campgrounds and a primitive sleeping shelter along Bryant Creek. Visitors choosing to stay in the Bryant Creek Shelter or camp in Banff National Park are required to have a backcountry permit. Visitors can reserve the backcountry permit and obtain up to date trail information for Banff National Park at 403 762-1556. Trail reports and detailed backcountry trip planning information for Banff are also available on the Banff National Park website.
Magog Lake is 4 km farther, and should take one hour to reach. Elevation change for this hike is 520 metres, and the maximum elevation is 2,195 metres. An alternative trail follows Bryant Creek and skirts Marvel Lake on its way to Wonder Pass (22 km, approximately 6 hours). Magog Lake is a further 4.5 km, and can be hiked in just over an hour. Elevation change for this hike is 700 metres, and the maximum elevation is 2,378 metres.
Highway 93 to Magog Lake via the Mitchell River
This little-used trail starts beyond a mine on the Mitchell River. To reach the trailhead follow Settlers Road from Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park for about 14 km and cross the Kootenay River. Follow a good logging road along the Cross River for 18.4 km and turn left up the Mitchell River. Parking is at the mine, 6 km farther. Large ore trucks are hauling on this road, so use extreme caution. For your own safety, permission must be obtained from the mine operators to cross their property. Just above the crusher a 4x4 road leads from the property and stops abruptly at a steep grade. The trail starts at the base of this hill and follows the Mitchell River to Wedgewood Lake and then to Magog Lake (distance of hike is about 30 km, and hiking time is about 8 hours; elevation change is 1,100 metres). Although the trail crosses the Mitchell River in numerous locations it is not necessary to make all the crossings, as they are connected by short and very easy bushwhacks. Stay on the east side to the ford (see map) then cross over to the west.
Sunshine Ski Village to Magog Lake
The access road to Sunshine Village is 10 km west of Banff on Highway 1 in Banff National Park. Public vehicle traffic is permitted to Bourgeau parking lot only, a distance of 9 km. From this point, visitors may hike 6 km to Sunshine Village. From Sunshine Village the trail leads to Magog Lake via Quartzridge, Citadel Pass, Golden Valley and Valley of the Rocks (a distance of 27 km, with an estimated hiking time of 8 hours, an elevation change of 488 metres and a maximum elevation of 2,408 metres.