Like the Matterhorn that represents The Swiss Alps, Mount Assiniboine represents the Canadian Rockies. Assiniboine is in fact sometimes nicknamed “The Matterhorn of the Rockies”. They are both pyramid-shaped mountains and are often mistaken for one another.
Although they lie approximately 13,500km apart they both share the same reputation for drawing in hikers, photographers, and mountain climbers from all over the world, but…
…Mount Assiniboine is not the only feature making this area so special. The whole surrounding park, Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, is just as captivating.
I have already visited the area twice and have met people who have been regularly coming back here their entire life! I hope this guide will help you with planning your backcountry adventure to Mount Assiniboine and the photos will convince you, that it’s worth undertaking!
Step 1: Learning about Mount Assiniboine
Where is Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park located?
Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park lies in the British Columbia province of Canada and is 48 kilometers southwest of Banff in Alberta. The park perfectly depicts the meaning of a true backcountry.
There are no roads leading to the park making it inaccessible to any vehicle traffic! Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park was established in 1928 and since 1990 it is enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Dates of operation during the summer season of 2023
The weather window for hiking in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park is limited to 3 months of the year between the end of June and September 30th. That’s when the mountain passes are (mostly) clear of snow.
Any time before or after that is weather dependent. In some years snow disappears early in June whilst in others it remains well into July.
What are the best months to visit Mount Assiniboine?
July is a great month to go because of the meadows filled with blooming wildflowers. However, thunder and hailstorms are quite common in July and the swarms of mosquitos can be unbearable.
There is also a risk of wildfires and park closures often caused by lightning storms.
In August the storms gradually subside, but the flowers disappear. The good news is the mosquitos are not such a nuisance anymore.
September is my favorite time in the Rockies and the second part of September is particularly amazing in Mount Assiniboine thanks to the larch trees gracing the shoreline of Lake Magog, Sunburst, and Cerulean Lakes.
The downside can be frigid cold nights, so you better pack accordingly!
September is also a time when you can meet a lot of landscape photographers in the area. Both times I visited Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park were in September.
Weather in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park
Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park lies within the subarctic zone, where the winters are long and cold and summers are short but warm.
The weather in the mountains is highly unpredictable. Chinook winds, which sometimes occur in this region can raise the temperature by over 30 degrees celsius in a day!!!
Snow and subzero temperature are not rare in occurrence even in the summer months. Lightning storms and hail particularly in July, as well as park closures due to forest fires, are quite common too.
Within 5 days I spent there in September we had temperatures as low as -16C and as high as +20C. There was snow, rain, sun and wind all in the span of a few days.
Bear in mind that camping outside of the designated campgrounds along this trail is illegal and can result in fines.
Before leaving, check the Parks Canada bulletin and the important notices for any trail closures caused by wildfires or wildlife protection.
Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park has some serious grizzly bear action. I ran into one on my last day whilst hiking out and let me tell you, I was freaked out for the rest of the day, especially since this was only my third week in Canada!
DO NOT GO WITHOUT BEAR SPRAY! Sing songs, make noise, and keep your eyes open for tracks and other signs of bears. Upon encountering a bear DO NOT RUN, make the bear aware of your presence and speak calmly.
If it retreats proceed with caution never getting too close, if it aggresses (which is highly unlikely, as bears are very shy animals) then stand your ground and be ready with your spray. Don’t worry, bears are more scared of you than you are of them.
The Map of Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park
This is just a showcase map and it should not be used for hiking in the park.
Step 2: Getting to Mount Assiniboine during the summer season
There are three ways you can visit the park in the summer. The first is by taking a chartered helicopter flight, the second includes using the strength of your legs and hiking in, and the third is combining the two aforementioned. All of them will require staying in the park overnight.
Flying to Mount Assiniboine by helicopter
First of all, I’ll cover the whirlybird option. You can either fly from the Helipad located in Canmore, the nearest town, or fly from the helipad near the Mount Shark parking area.
Flying from Canmore is a bit more expensive, but can be more convenient. Mount Shark Helipad is a 40-minute drive from Canmore, down the Spray Lakes/Smith Dorien Road, and past the Mount Engadine Lodge.
The cost of a helicopter flight (summer 2023 rates):
- Flights from Canmore cost CAD 235$ per person per way plus 5% GST (CAD 246.75)
- Flights from the Mount Shark parking area cost CAD 205$ per person per way plus 5% GST (CAD 215.25)
Bear in mind that flying to/from Mount Shark will require the use of a car or a shuttle service. If you leave your car at the Mount Shark trailhead you will need a Kananaskis Conservation pass. More on that later.
The cost of flying gear only
You are permitted to bring 40 lb (18kg) of luggage per person with you.
TIP: The helicopter company offers to fly your gear which is a fantastic option if you don’t want to spend money on a helicopter flight, but still want to hike to Magog Lake in a day, without carrying all your equipment.
- Flying gear only: $4.00 per pound, per one-way flight (includes tax),
- Excess baggage fee: $4.00 per pound, per one-way flight (includes tax).
How to make a reservation for the helicopter flight
The flights leave 3 days per week (Sundays, Wednesdays, Fridays). Visit the Assiniboine lodge page for helicopter bookings. To book flights you will need the following information:
- Your Naiset Hut, Camping, or Lodge Confirmation Number. You need to book your accommodation first or you risk being charged a $50 cancellation fee for invalid numbers.
- First and last names of your group party
- Everyone’s body weight in pounds
- Visa or Mastercard details.
Additional info and tips about helicopter flights into Mount Assiniboine
- Try and see if you can either sit up front with the pilot or try your hardest to get a window seat! If you sit on the left side when flying in you will get a killer view of Marvel lake on the way there. If you sit on the right you will be graced with expansive vistas of Spray Lakes.
Hiking to Mount Assiniboine
The most popular (and cheapest) way to get to Assiniboine during the summer months is to hike. There are two main ways to hike into Assiniboine Provincial Park.
1. Hiking from Bryant Creek trailhead via Assiniboine Pass
The Bryant Creek trailhead, also known as the Mount Shark trailhead is 40km south of Canmore on the Spray Lakes/Smith Dorien road. It’s a gravel road but you’ll be fine in any car during the summer months. The first half of the trail is a very wide, well-maintained path with very little elevation gain.
If you are splitting the backpacking journey to Mount Assiniboine into two days, there are three potential campsites that you can stay at after your first day’s hike:
- Big Springs (BR9) which is 9.6km in,
- Marvel Lake Campground (BR13) which is 13km in and
- McBrides Camp (BR14) which is 14km in.
If you are hardcore and decide to tackle it in a day, after about 13 km you can make a lunch stop at the Bryant Creek shelter.
From here you can make a choice about which way you prefer to go: the Wonder Pass or The Assiniboine Pass with the latter being the more popular option, but less scenic.
After you pass the last campsite (McBrides Camp) continue straight heading northwest until you reach the Assiniboine Pass where you’ll climb steeply before gradually descending the final 3km toward the world-famous Assiniboine Lodge.
It’s worth mentioning that this route is closed to the public during August and September to limit human and grizzly bear interaction. However, you can still hike via the Assiniboine Pass using the horse trail.
2. Hiking to Mount Assiniboine via Wonder Pass
The other option, which is the shortest of all at 26km, is the route via the Wonder Pass. It is also considered to be the most scenic as you’ll hike along the picturesque Marvel Lake.
Just like Assiniboine Pass, the trail via Wonder Pass starts at the Bryant Creek trailhead and branches off at the Bryant Creek Warden’s hut around 14,3 km in.
It is one of the harder routes though. The hike up the Wonder Pass is quite steep and consists of a series of never-ending switchbacks.
Don’t worry, if you’re used to hiking with a big backpack, you can totally manage it, the hike is non-technical. From the top of the pass, you’ll slowly descend to the Assiniboine Lodge via the Naiset Huts.
3. Hiking to Mount Assiniboine from Sunshine Village
The route from Sunshine Village, in the northwest, is slightly easier. Sunshine Village Ski and Snow Resort is 20 minutes (20km) southwest of Banff. Just head west of the Trans Canada Highway and follow the signposts. There is a shuttle from Banff that will drop you off there.
In addition, you can take the gondola up to the village to save yourself a few kilometers of pretty dull beginning through the spruce forest. Getting a jumpstart with the gondola is totally worth it!
The walk from Sunshine is 30km and it’s split up by two main campgrounds. Porcupine at 12km and Og Lake at 22km.
Although it’s the longest, it’s less strenuous than both ways in from Mount Shark and offers spectacular views of Mount Assiniboine earlier on in the hike.
Once you’ve been up and over the Citadel Pass near the start of the hike the rest of the journey is slightly uphill toward the final destination.
Combining the routes
A lot of hikers choose to combine the routes by hiking in from Sunshine Village and finishing at Bryant Creek trailhead and vice versa. If you choose to do it I highly recommend spending 4 nights on the trail and staying at the following campsites:
- Day 1: Og Lake
- Day 2+3: Magog Lake
- Day 4: Marvel Lake campground
You can also walk the same route in reverse, starting at Bryant Creek trailhead and finishing at the Sunshine Village.
Shuttle service between Sunshine Village and Bryant Creek trailhead
There used to be a shuttle operating between the two trailheads, but unfortunately, they do not offer the service any longer.
If you choose to leave your car at one trailhead and hike out the other you have 3 options
- To hitchhike back
- Team up with other hikers along the trail and ask them for a ride.
- Go with two cars, leave one at one end then travel with the other car to the beginning of the trail.
Kananaskis Conservation Pass
On June 1st, 2021 a new law came into force requiring all personal and commercial vehicles that stop in Kananaskis Country, where the Bryant Creek trailhead is located, to purchase a Kananaskis Conservation pass.
The proceeds from the passing help to pay for wildlife conservation, trail safety, services, and facilities. For more information on how to purchase the pass, current fees, and other details visit the Alberta Parks website.
Where to stay before your trek to Mount Assiniboine
If you choose to hike from Bryant Creek trailhead then I recommend booking your accommodation in Canmore. For those who start at Sunshine village, you can stay in Banff for the night. Follow the links for hotel options in both towns!
Please use the affiliate links above if you found my post helpful! It helps me with keeping up with the guides and answering any questions you may have! Thanks.
Step 3: Choosing your accommodation in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park
Between June 26th and September 30th hikers visiting Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park are required to hold a reservation for both Og Lake and Magog Lake campsites.
- Og Lake campsite has 10 tent pads
- Magog lake campsite has 40 tent pads
Each tent pad is able to hold a maximum of 1 tent and 4 people.
There’s a good supply of water, bear lockers, greywater pits, and several (stinky) outhouses.
It should go without saying but please use the bear lockers, don’t destroy anything, and respect the land. There is a “carry out, what you carried in” policy in the national and provincial parks in Canada.
Bring a copy of your reservation and also print off a copy of the Lake Magog campsite in order to easily locate the available tent pads.
Make sure to get there early to secure a good spot as you can’t put a hold on any particular tent pad.
How to reserve campsites in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park
To book a campsite in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park visit the BC Parks website choose the backcountry reservations in the upper tab and select the park, arrival date, number of tent pads, and people.
You can book the tent pads up to 2 months prior to your trip. For example, if you are planning to stay at the Magog campsite on August 15th, the earliest you can book it is June 15th.
You can make a reservation for a maximum of 3 tent pads and 12 people.
The cost of reserving campsites in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park
The reservation transaction charge is $6 plus tax/night/tent pad to a maximum of $18 plus tax per tent pad for 3 nights or more.
Additionally, each person overnighting in the park has to hold a backcountry permit. The cost is as follows:
- $10.00 per person/night (persons 16 years of age and older)
- $5.00 per child/night (persons 6 – 15 years of age)
During the non-peak season (October 1st-June 25th) the reservation transaction charges are waived, but one still needs to hold camping permits for both Og and Magog lake campgrounds.
Make sure to set up an account with BC Parks Reservation system before the reservations open. This will save you precious time. The spots dissappear in a matter of minutes.
How to reserve McBride’s Camp, Marvel Lake, or Big Springs Campsite
If you are combining the routes and plan to either hike in or hike out via Assiniboine Pass or Wonder Pass and stay at one of the 3 campsites en route, which aren’t located in the Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, you can book them through the Parks Canada website.
A new reservation system is coming into place from March 2nd, 2023. Stay tuned for updates.
2. Naiset Huts
The Naiset Huts are only 500 meters away from the Lodge and 400 meters from the summer helipad. There is a communal cooking cabin and each individual hut has its own fireplace. Wood can be purchased from the lodge.
I highly recommend making a reservation as the huts tend to book out as soon as the reservation season kicks off, which is usually at the start of each year.
If you haven’t secured a spot, there is still a glimmer of hope! Cancellations do occur and sometimes it is possible to get a last-minute spot just a few days prior to your departure.
How to reserve a night in the Naiset Hut
The huts are operated via the Assiniboine lodge. To make a reservation at the Naiset hut you have to call the reservation line of the Assiniboine lodge directly at (+1) 403-678-2883.
The line is extremely difficult to get through. When I was making the reservation myself I had to call for 6 hours straight using two phones non-stop.
The cost of staying in the Naiset huts in 2023
There are 5,6 and 8-person huts and the price for the whole hut per night is $150, &180, and $240 respectively. Sadly they are already all booked out for summer 2023.
The accepted forms of payment are Visa or Mastercard.
For more information regarding groups and bookings visit the Assiniboine lodge website.
3. The Assiniboine Lodge
The Assiniboine Lodge is by far the most expensive of the three options but without a doubt the most luxurious.
Apart from your lunch on the first day, all meals are included, you can take as many hot showers as you want, they have an onsite sauna and you get to poop into a real toilet. No one can put a price on the comfort you get from sitting on an ivory throne.
The Lodge is open for campers daily after 5 pm. You can purchase some beer, wine, or even freshly made biscuits from them and they do accept credit cards.
How to book a night in the Assiniboine Lodge
Fill out the booking request form on the Assiniboine lodge website. Due to huge demand, the booking request form for summer 2023 is now closed!
The cost of staying at the Assiniboine lodge in the summer of 2023
The costs vary from 420$ per person per night for a double lodge room to 615$ per person per night for a single room in the lodge (6.2% tax not included). For a complete list visit the Assiniboine lodge website.
All prices are in Canadian dollars.
Step 4: Planning day hikes and photography locations in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park
Getting to the core area of the park was just half the fun, now be prepared for exploring it! Hiking and photography go hand in hand here. After all, you found yourself in the midst of the Canadian backcountry.
Whether you will be staying at a campsite, huts, or lodge, all trails in the park are very well-marked and easy to follow.
Being one of the most photogenic spots in the Canadian Rockies, Assiniboine truly is a photographer’s playground! You won’t have a hard time composing your shot, but here are a few locations to help you get started.
1. The Niblet/Nub/Nublet
The most famous of all the viewpoints are the Niblet. It’s also made its way onto the big screen in the thriller starring Anthony Hopkins “The Edge”.
Whether you are staying at the huts or campsite the hike will take you circa 2 hours round trip.
If you plan on heading all the way to the Nub Peak then it’s approximately a 4-5 hour return hike.
There are two separate paths that can take you up the Nub, one from the Lodge and the huts going past the Meadows and the other directly from the Mago campsite past Sunburst and Cerulean lakes.
2. Lake Magog
The view from the northernmost tip of Lake Magog is by far the best the lake has to offer. This vantage point is only a few hundred meters away from the lodge!
3. Sunburst lake
Sunburst lake, directly below Sunburst peak, is only a 15-minute stroll from lake Magog campsite and around 30/40 minutes from the lodge or the huts. The lake offers beautiful reflections of Mount Assiniboine with clear pristine water.
4. The Meadows
One of the paths leading from the campsite to the lodge will take you through the meadows.
Here small tarns and ponds can be found which change continuously through the seasons and depending on what deadfall is around that year you can go for some really interesting compositions.
The reflections of Mount Assiniboine in the ponds are top-notch, just look at the photos above!
5. Cerulean lake
This easily accessible lake (ca. 30-minute walk from the campsite) is another gem waiting to be photographed. Its pristine clear waters and reflections of the Sunburst peak – another recognizable summit in the park, are unrivaled.
6. Wonder Pass
If you haven’t walked this way already when you hiked in, then you should definitely give Wonder Pass a chance on a day excursion when staying in the park.
The whole area is covered in larch trees making it the ideal hiking location for September when the trees turn bright yellow.
Step 5: Packing for Mount Assiniboine
What to bring – the essentials
Osprey Ariel AG 65 liters
When I first tried this backpack on I had no idea how its anti-gravity harness system will positively influence each backpacking experience, I’ve had since. Guys following my site you should check out the men’s version.
Sea to Summit Comfort Light Sleeping Pad
Getting a good night’s rest after hiking with a heavy load the whole day is essential. This sleeping pad will not only keep you insulated from the ground, but it will keep you comfy too. My advice is to go with the larger size!
MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person tent
I’ve had this tent for years now and used it for 3 weeks in Iceland, where it was tested against some crazy winds, as well as for every single backpacking trip I did in the Rockies. So far I have no tears and all the poles are still intact. Grab a tent footprint too, to prolong the life of your tent.
Black Diamond Carbon Trekking Poles
I recently left my pair in a parking lot after the hike and drove off. When I noticed my mistake it was too late to go back. I couldn’t get over it for a whole week, so I ordered a second pair without any hesitation. At 300 grams a pair, their weight is hard to beat.
MSR Pocket Rocket Camping Stove
This folding canister stove is my constant companion on any backpacking trip ensuring I have hot meals every evening of my trip. For its small size, it is incredibly efficient and it supports a wide range and sizes of camping pots.
The Platypus GravityWorks 2.0 filter
Having the filter with me means I don’t have to carry a lot of water and can refill my water bladder on the go. It’s lightweight, filters thousands of liters of water and although the initial cost is higher than other options (e.g. tablets), the cost/liter, in the long run, is unbeatable.
Hydrapak Shape-Shift Water Reservoir 3L
Staying hydrated is very important when hiking. It speeds up your recovery among dozens of other reasons why drinking water is important. I prefer to have instant access to my water hence I always use a hydration bladder. After owning 3 different brands, this one is by far my favorite.
LuminAid solar inflatable lantern
It is one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. This tiny lantern is always attached to the outside of my backpack where it recharges during the day. The light it gives is enough to play games in the tent and or cook in the evening.
The way I’ve done it
I spent 7 nights in total in Mount Assiniboine Park over the span of 2 summer seasons. 4 nights were camping at the lake Magog campground and 3 in the Naiset huts. On the first day, I flew in from Mount Shark with my heavy backpack and enough food to last.
On the last day before heading out, I left most of my camping gear in the Assiniboine lodge and paid for it to be flown out back to Canmore where I picked it up the next day.
With most of my equipment left behind, the weight was literally lifted off my shoulders and I was able to walk out back to the Bryant Creek trailhead, where my car was parked, in just one day. It took me approx. 10 hours.
I hope this post will help you with planning your backpacking adventure in Mount Assiniboine. Let me know in the comments below if you have more questions. I always answer personally.
Visit my Canadian Rockies Guide for more trail guides, backpacking trips, and road trip itineraries.
Thank you for the great write-up. I have a group of four with two tents and we have reserved one tent pad each for Og Lake, Magog Lake and Marvel Lake. The Canadian website says that we can only put a single tent per tent pad at Marvel Lake. Are they strict about this? I can’t get a second tent pad because all pads are already rented. Thanks.
Hi Steve. Thanks for stopping by. I have not been checked ones (apart from a bus to Lake O’Hara) and if you have two small tents you should be able to fit them onto one pad. As long as you all pay for the backcountry permits you should be ok as it doesn’t make much of a difference, even though technically you should have had two tents.
Hi there. Thank you so much for all the info. I’m just wondering when trying to book, at say Magog campground. how do you do that for multiple days? If the booking only opens exactly 4 months in advance? Do I have to try for 3 days in a row to book for 3 consecutive days?? Do you know what I mean? Thanks so much in advance!
Hi Keely. Thanks for visiting. Yes, I do know what you mean. Normally, you are able to book for multiple days on the day the reservation opens. I hope that helps! Good luck with the booking. It’s like getting tickets to Glastonbury.
This is all such great info. Love your site, thanks so much. I emailed White Mountain Adventures; apparently they are no longer doing the shuttle from Mt. Shark to Sunshine Village. Any ideas as to other options for a shuttle in the area?
Hi Brianne. Thanks for stopping by and your lovely feedback. Sorry to hear about the White Mountain Adventures. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any other company. The only thing that comes to my mind is either making friends with people on the trail and asking them for a run or searching on facebook groups (for example a fb group called Hike Alberta) asking if anyone is going at the same time and if you could team up. I am sorry I couldn’t help further but do let me know if you have any more questions!
Thank you for the amazing information! I managed to get four-night booking for Og Lake this August (unfortunately couldn’t get one for Magog Lake). If I base myself at the Og Lake campsite, will the day hikes like Nub Peak and Wonder Pass be too far? Also, I thought about taking the helicopter in and hiking out, but considering the distance between Assiniboine lodge and Og Lake, do you think I should just hike in and out through sunshine village?
Hi Phoebe. Thanks for stopping by and your lovely feedback. Og Lake is ca. 3-hour roundtrip walk from Lake Magog. Whilst you can stay there to do your exploring, your days will be quite demanding and you will be walking back and forth on the same trail from Og Lake and back. I highly recommend that you purchase the Assiniboine map for hiking. as for your other question. I think flying out is really worth it if you have the money, you ultimately get a scenic flight above the Rockies, What you also can do is hike out via wonder pass and stay the night at the Marvel Lake campground to split the journey. So hike in from Sunshine village and hike out to Mt Shark trailhead via wonder pass, staying one extra night at Marvel Lake campground. I hope that helps!
Hello! Amazing information – this is so helpful! I’m wondering if I can get a little more information on the starting at Mount Shark. Would you recommend an itinerary that includes Mount Shark Trailhead >> BR13 (Marvel) >> Magog Lake Campground >> back to Mount Shark trailhead?
On the BC Parks website that you provided for camping reservations, I see that you can reserve sites at Og Lake and Magog Lake, but not BR13 (Marvel). Is there a different website for reserving at Marvel?
Hi Ethan. Thanks for visiting my site. Yes, Og and Magog Lake campsites are within Mt Assiniboine parks in the British Colombia province hence they can be booked via the links I provided in the post. Marvel lake campground is in Alberta Province and can be booked via the Parks Canada website. I have just updated my post with info on how to do this. You can find it under STEP 3, then scroll down a bit to the heading How to reserve McBride’s Camp, Marvel Lake & Big Springs Campsite. I hope that helps! Let me know if you have more questions!
Apparently White Mountain Adventures no longer runs a shuttle service between the trailheads. Do you have any other suggestions for how to get from one to the other?
Oh no! That’s bad news. Were you in contact with them recently as their website up until 2 weeks ago did offer the shuttles! Unfortunately, I don’t know of any other shuttle services. Catching a ride with other fellow hikers is always an option!
Your blog has been so helpful and inspiring for many hikes i’ve done in the area 🙂 I was able to get a booking for Assiniboine and my camera gear is going to be an essential in a hike i’ve dreamt about for years! I was just wondering what lens you use to get your wide angle shots? Do you have a fave? As I will have lots of gear I will only be bringing 1 maybe 2 lenses. Thanks!
Hey Cati! Thanks so much for your awesome feedback. I used to shoot with a Canon 6D dslr and my go to wide angle lens was the 16-35 f4. lens. Currently I shoot with Fujifilm xt2 (all my dolomites guide was shot with this camera) and I have the 10-24 f.4 lens to go with it. I hope that helps! Let me know how your Assiniboine trip goes and I hope you really enjoy it. Fingers crossed for awesome photography conditions!
Hi Marta, I really love your blog! thank’s for sharing with us! 🙂
I was wondering as well, you said you went in September, but which date exactly? was it beginning or end? Because I am trying to have an idea of the temperature of the September month.
Thank’s in advance,
Hi Stephanie. Thanks for stopping by. I went twice. First time September 11-15. That time the temperatures during the day were lovely (ca 20 degrees Celsius) with clear blue skies, but nights were super cold (even down to -16 Celsius)! I struggled with my comfort -5 sleeping bag for the first couple of nights. Luckily it then warmed up a bit at night to only a few degrees below zero. The second time i was there it was the end of September (27-29) and the days were cool (low teens) but the nights were between 0 and -5 degrees so not as extreme of a difference. In general prepare for cold weather especially during the night, take a very good sleeping bag and layers layers layers
Thank’s so much for your reply! It’s very helpful! 😀
Which period would you suggest for prime fall colors here?
Hi Marta! You are the BEST! I found your info on the Italian Dolomites extremely useful & it seems I have found another goldmine in your articles on Canadian Rockies. Thank you & keep on inspiring & guiding.
Hi Marta! Great information you’ve written here, and stunning pictures! I’d love to do this multi-day hike. It is now top on my list.
I understand reservations for Marvel lake or Og lake are definitely required if camping. Having said that, i’d love to know if reservations are required for either Big Springs/ Marvel Lake Campground/McBrides Camp if we are to start from Mt. Shark trailhead and which one offers closer water access? Thank you!
Hi Marta, thanks so much for this article. It’s been so helpful in allowing us to plan our trip. We’ve only done a couple of backpacking trips so far so this is truly a wonderful reference. We’re actually heading out this week. Had a couple of questions if you don’t mind, we will be parking at the Mt Shark trailhead and then flying in – do you know if we need to purchase a Parks Pass and leave it in our car when leaving there? I thought not since I don’t believe that particular area is within the national park but was hoping you might be able to help in confirming? Also, since we are getting the helicopter in we are then planning on hiking the wonder pass out back to the Mt Shark Helipad – we are planning on splitting it to do in two days – do you know if we can camp anywhere along the way or do we have to camp at a particular point? Thanks so much again for your help 🙂
Hey! Thanks for this amazing article! This year the gondola is closed for the summer. So I was wondering if it’s realistic to hike from Sunshine Village to OG Lake in one day ? I’m a regular hiker and it’s my first time in the rockies… Do you recommend to stay at Porcupine instead ? Thanks a lot!
Hi Anthony! Thanks for letting me know (and others who might read the comment) that the gondola is closed. Covid has wreaked havoc on travel in the area! Hiking from Sunshine to Og Lake in a day without the gondola assistance tho possible will be an undertaking. Don’t forget your backpack on that day will be at its heaviest! Have you considered hiking from the Mt Shark Parking lot instead? On day 1 you could overnight at the Marvel Lake campground which is spectacular, then continue to the Assiniboine core area to Lake Magog Campground. The next day you could hike to Nub Peak, come back grab your stuff and move to Og Lake Campground, then on the last day walk out. Walking out from Og Lake back to sunshine will be easier because you will have a lot more downhill then uphill and on the last day your backpack will be at its lightest. There is now a company that offers shuttle to Mt Shark and Pick up from Sunshine (or you can hitchhike). If you want to start the way you planned however then I’d say aim at Porcupine instead. I hope that helps!
Hi Marta, thanks so much for writing this up, it’s given us a lot of insights for our trip in September. Just a few questions we had and we’re hoping you could help us out!
We see the Magog lake campgrounds selling out pretty much the minute it becomes available, do you have any advice to secure a booking? Alternatively, is og lake still worth booking if we cannot get Magog (i.e. are days trips from og lake to niblet and the lakes you mentioned above doable in a day)?
How long do you reckon an average hike down wonder pass to the helipad car park from og/Magog lake will take with our bags. We’re contemplating whether we need to send our bags down in the same way you did if it’s not doable within a day carrying load.
Thanks so much in advance for taking time out to answer our queries, we really appreciate it 🙂
Hi! Thanks for stopping by. I am stoked to hear you liked my post. As for Lake Magog, there is no way unless you are super ready and know the system so you can click as fast as possible. It’s sad that it has come to that. When I first visited Mt Assiniboine back in 2017 I didn’t even have a campsite reservation. We just rocked up and paid in an honesty box! Keep trying and I hope you can get a spot.
Staying at Og Lake whilst possible but you still need to consider the fact that it’s around 1.5-2 hours away from the main campsite, so if you were to do exploring from there you are looking at 3-4 hours of extra hiking each day. A lot, but not impossible.
As for hiking out over wonder pass it took me 10 hours with 2 longer breaks and I was exhausted at the end. My legs were hurting a lot, because I spent the previous 5 days hiking like a maniac 😀 If you can fly out the gear then do it. It makes the trip back so much more enjoyable. Another option is to break it up into two days and stay at one of the 3 campsites along the way which I am talking about in the post. I hope this helps! let me know if you have more questions!