Photo courtesy of Jake Dyson/Banff & Lake Louise Tourism
The three-and-a-half-mile journey from Sentinel Pass to Larch Valley is the kind of hike you'll dream about years after returning home. Intrepid visitors leave from the Moraine Lake Lodge area, at an altitude of 6,190 feet, then climb a series of well-maintained switchbacks through a forest of Englemann spruce and alpine fir trees before hitting the spectacular views of the Valley of the 10 Peaks. The trail continues up through an alpine meadow, ultimately reaching the rocky heights of Sentinel Pass, the low point between Mount Temple and Pinnacle Mountain, at about 8,560 feet. One caveat: The last mile of the climb ascends through a talus slope and boulders, so only those comfortable with heights should do the pass.