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Arnica and Twin Lakes Hike


  • Arnica and Twin Lakes



  • September 19, 2019



  • Ed, Jace, Craig, Joey, Jennifer, Jessie, Lucy, Micheline




  • head west of Banff on Highway 1 and take Highway 93 south from Castle Junction for 8 km and turn left into the Vista Lake parking lot
  • the trailhead starts from the north end of the parking lot



Trail notes:

  • to the knoll above Arnica Lake is a 900-meter climb and 15 km out and back
  • Twins Lakes are an additional 2 km each way if you go to the furthest (lower) lake where there is a beautiful waterfall
  • the trail starts as a gentle downhill to Vista Lake so save some gas in the tank for the final push on the way back
  • after this initial descent, the trail climbs steadily thru the forest to Arnica Lake
  • at Arnica Lake you make your way around the lake where you can continue up the valley to Twin Lakes or climb the knoll to the right (south) for a great view of Twin Lakes, Arnica Lake, Gibbon Pass, and Copper Mountain
  • the trail took us five hours at a leisurely pace to make it to the knoll above Arnica Lake
  • there is an alternate route that starts at the junction of Highway 1 and 93 which takes you up thru the forest and arrives between the lower and upper Twin Lakes (it seems this would be a less majestic journey)



Interesting notes:

  • this trail is relatively new in our rotation and is a spectacular area for viewing the larch trees during the second half of September window when they are changing to their bright yellow color
  • we had a glorious sunny day, and we only ran into nine other people on the trail
  • Vista Lake is a pretty lake near the start of the hike that had a beautiful mist coming off of it
  • as you ascend out of the valley you get great views behind you of Boom Lake and of Castle Mountain off to the left
  • Arnica Lake is majestically embedded into the headwall of Storm Mountain
  • Twin Lakes are nice with the second (further) lower lake being the prettiest although we chose to view them from the knoll preceding the lakes
  • if you were to continue beyond Twin Lakes, you could take Gibbon Pass over to Shadow Lake Lodge