Hiking the Redearth Creek Trail

Banff, Alberta

Redearth Creek Trail, Banff National Park, Alberta

Whenever I visit Banff National Park, I feel the peace and relaxation that only the Canadian Rockies can evoke. However, the Redearth Trail is one hiking trail that is not high on my list of things to do again. I only write this to save you from spending your time on this trail, when there are so many others that are much nicer! There's still beauty around you - a nice creek, beautiful forests - but there are no views of the mountains.

  • Rating - Moderate - not steep but lengthy
  • Distance - Approximately 12 kilometers one-way
  • Elevation Gain - 325 meters
  • Duration - 6 hours round trip
  • When to Go - Mid-July to Mid-September

Don't get me wrong, I love outdoor adventures in the Rocky Mountains ... but the Redearth Trail winds through a thick forest which obscures most of the surrounding beauty until the very end, after 12 kilometers of uphill exertion. And even the views at the top are limited!

 

It's still pretty, of course, being in the mountains. The scenery just isn't as rewarding as the multitude of other trails available, and (in my opinion) not worth the exertion.

 

I rode this trail on a mountain bike. It wasn't strenuous since the elevation gain was moderate. The first part, near the parking lot, was a bit steep but then the grade became gradual.

We had ventured out on a weekend. The trail was a little on the crowded side, with many hikers, but at least there were enough people to make us feel comfortable in bear country. At one point, we joined a group of five hikers as we watched a large grizzly bear lumber down the trail towards us. It veered into an adjoining valley and we never saw it again.

We stopped for lunch in a small meadow alongside Redearth Creek which was also a trail junction leading to Shadow Lake and Egypt Lake. The creek was clear and cold and made for a perfect rest spot. But the views were still limited in this clearing due to the tall trees.

At this point, other mountain cyclists had ditched their bikes and hiked another 2.5 kilometer to the Shadow Lake Lodge. We were told that the views from the top were amazing - glacier covered mountains and turquoise coloured lakes. The Redearth Trail is supposed to provide the easiest access to Shadow Lake.

Since we were already tired from our uphill climb, we decided to cash in our elevation gain and enjoy a quick downhill ride instead. Maybe we quit too soon but we had had enough for the day.


View Redearth Trail (Banff, Alberta) in a larger map

 

Thankfully, as we zipped along the Redearth Trail, we didn't encounter the Grizzly bear from earlier in the morning.

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