Mount Assiniboine Backpacking - 5 Days (Group Trip)

Trek is the vast valleys that surround Mt. Assiniboine ‘The Matterhorn of the Rockies’

Mount Assiniboine Backpacking - 5 Days (Group Trip)

Trek is the vast valleys that surround Mt. Assiniboine ‘The Matterhorn of the Rockies’

From Mount Assiniboine, ‘Matterhorn of the Rockies’, vast alpine meadows stretch far to the north interspersed with forested valleys and rocky peaks. It’s a world-famous hiking area which we look forward to sharing with you!

This hike is designed specifically for hikers and backpackers who want to avoid more difficult itineraries whilst still preserving a true backcountry experience. We start with a day and a half in the core area around the base of Mount Assiniboine before heading out on a three-day backpack trip to Sunshine Meadows.

From the vast park-like Assiniboine Meadows we drop into the eerie landscape of the aptly named “Valley of the Rocks”. From here we climb to Citadel Pass and back to beautiful meadows which will lead us to the trip’s conclusion at Sunshine Village.

Join us in July and August when the alpine wildflowers are in full bloom or in September when the fall begins by tinting meadows and larches yellow and red in summer’s final explosion of color!

If great scenery, healthy exercise and good company sound like a great holiday then come and join us for an unforgettable mountain experience.

2024 Dates:

  • July 12-16, 2024
  • Aug 11-15, 2024
  • Sep 6-10, 2024
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Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Fly to Mount Assiniboine

At 8 am we meet at the office in Canmore. We’ll go over the trip with you and check to see that you are properly outfitted before packing and heading to the helipad for 10.30 am.

Twenty-eight kilometres and a twelve-minute helicopter flight leaves us a world away in a land of lush meadows, turquoise lakes, snow-covered glaciers and rocky peaks. We fly from Spray Lakes in Kananaskis Country (50km south of Canmore) to British Columbia’s Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, landing right beside the historic Assiniboine Lodge. We will be based at the Lake Magog camping area which is 2km away. Once we have set up our tents we are free to go for a walk to nearby Sunburst and Cerulean Lakes. Their names give a testament to their beauty.

Day 2: Day hike in the Assiniboine area

There are many options … the meadows and views are gorgeous. An enjoyable day which allows us to gradually acclimatize to the altitude and get used to hiking. We can finish off with tea and cake at the Lodge.

Day 3: Magog to Porcupine

Now the backpacking begins and we embark upon the most scenic hiking route out of Assiniboine, to Sunshine Meadows via Citadel Pass. Today we head south across the meadows to Og Lake from where the trail descends among the eerie formations of the Valley of the Rocks. Dropping further we enter the Golden Valley to reach our campsite below Citadel Pass for a welcome cup of tea.

Distance 10 miles (16km), elevation gain 250m, elevation loss 565m.

Day 4: Porcupine to Howard Douglas Lake

A steady climb of 430m brings us to the summit of Citadel Pass. Hiking upwards we may be distracted by bighorn sheep at a “mineral lick” not 200m from the trail or by the profusion of wildflowers in the slide paths. Halfway to Citadel Pass we emerge back into the meadows and stop above an alpine lake for a break. Soon after we will be able to see far across the meadows to Sunshine Village, tomorrow’s destination. Behind us rises Mount Assiniboine, still dominating the skyline. We continue for another 3.5km to our campsite which is nestled in the trees by Howard Douglas Lake. An optional hike up Quartz Hill provides views in all directions and will finish the day off nicely.

Distance 4.7 Miles (7.5km), elevation gain 500m.

Day 5:

The last leg of our journey takes us 6km across the famous Sunshine Meadows to the Sunshine Village ski area and an optional side trip to Rock Isle Lake. It’s all downhill from here with a shuttle bus to the valley floor where transport to Canmore awaits. This allows us to finish up at 3 pm. After hot showers and a rest, head out to celebrate our adventure at one of the excellent local restaurants.

Distance 3.7 Miles (6km), elevation gain 250m, elevation loss 400m.

Additional Information

Meeting Place and Time

We will meet you at the office at 8 am on the morning of Day 1.

For your greater convenience, we offer a pre-meeting shuttle service within Canmore. Please let us know in advance where you will be staying if needing this service. Pickup will occur between 7.30 and 7.50 am.

Please ensure that you have your hiking equipment with you.

Guides and Group Size

Our local guides are certified through the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. Our professional guides have extensive experience in the Canadian Rockies. Guides also have advanced wilderness first aid training and heritage interpretation accreditation. Guides carry emergency equipment including a first aid kit, bear spray and radio.

There will be a maximum of eight guests and a minimum of four.

Accommodation and Meals

On the trail you will be staying in modern, lightweight 2- and 3-person weather-proof tents.

Accommodation in Canmore is not included. A variety of accommodation options exist in both Canmore and Banff, including campsites, hostels, all levels of hotels as well as condo style accommodation with kitchens or suites.  We recommend that you book your own pre and post-trip accommodations well in advance as all levels of accommodations in the Bow Valley fill quickly.

Our guests receive exclusive rates with Clique Hotels & resorts upon booking an adventure. (Please note that some rates are non-refundable)

Excess luggage can be left at your hotel or our office.

We supply all meals and trail snacks from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 5. Groups generally go out for dinner in Canmore on the final evening (own cost).

Trail cuisine is prepared from lightweight wholesome ingredients including our custom-made dehydrated dinners. For guests with dietary restrictions, we are able to modify the program food pack to meet your individual needs.  As food pricing and preparation for these diets is more costly, we have implemented the following surcharges.  For vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, soy-free, nut-free or any similar type of single restriction menu requests, there will be a $16/day surcharge. For a diet requiring any 2 restrictions a $25/day surcharge will apply.  For any 3 restrictions, a $30/day surcharge will apply.  Vegetarian meals will not be surcharged.   For more complex diets our kitchen staff will assess the restrictions to inform you if the diet can be accommodated and what surcharge would apply.

Getting to Canmore and Transportation

Canmore is situated 100km (65miles) west of Calgary on the Trans-Canada Highway. It is well served by scheduled bus lines both from Calgary (airport and downtown), Banff (20km west) and points further west. Calgary International Airport is well connected to major cities throughout North America and Europe. Once in Canmore, we will supply all the transport needed for the trip.

Frequent shuttles connect Calgary International Airport and Canmore. Banff Airporter is the best way to get between Calgary Airport and Canmore/Banff. When you book with us you will receive a 15% discount on Banff Airporter Scheduled Services.

Additional Trip Info

  • Guide
  • Out-trip meals
  • Park ‘Wilderness Pass’
  • Group camping gear
  • Helicopter flight
  • Local transfers
  • Canmore accommodation
  • Gratuities for guides & 5% Goods & Services Tax (GST).
  • Travel insurance

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