Lake Annette is one of those fantastic gems that are both easy to reach and incredibly beautiful. It is located in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies, in the middle of two of the most famous lakes; Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. However, unlike it’s famous lake-y cousins when we visited Lake Annette there was no-one else there. If you like the idea of a fun walk that will take you up to fantastic views next to a stunning blue lake, try this!
To be fair, every walk we have tried near Lake Louise has been great fun – so you will have a blast no matter where you visit. Just make sure you bring some walking boots as this area is even better when you walk beyond the most obvious viewpoints and car parks.
Lake Annette via Paradise Valley Map
We actually combined this walk with a hike up Fairview Mountain. But if you want the easy version, you can start from the trailhead on Moraine Lake Road.
Lake Annette – the basics
Distance: 11.3 km (or 17km from Lake Louise)
Cumulative Elevation gain: 377m
Highest Point: 1990m
Time: 3-4 hours
What to bring:
The 10 Essentials
There are loos at Lake Louise if you come from that direction.
Dogs: Yes (on a leash)
How hard is it? Easy – we saw lots of kids on this trail.
Lake Annette – Getting Started
The easiest path to Lake Annette starts at a trailhead on Moraine Lake Road (the first turning on the right as you drive towards Moraine Lake.)
Alternatively, there are two possible routes from Lake Louise. One stays low following an equestrian route, or you can take the higher path via the saddle between Fairview Mountain and Saddleback Mountain. The photo below is Temple Mountain from just above Paradise Valley you’ll see this if you take the high route.
The best thing about this walk is the beautiful Paradise Valley trail. You get to walk along Paradise Creek, in the shadow of impressive peaks and gorgeous old trees. We visited on a particularly beautiful day, when the water was sparkling under a fluffy-cloud filled sky. The name of the valley seems perfectly appropriate.
There are bridges that allow you to cross Paradise Creek multiple times. This means you’ll be able to see the peaks on both sides of the valley. The cliffs in the photo below are of Saddleback Mountain.
This is Sheol Mountain from within Paradise Valley. It has some pretty impressive cliffs from this direction.
Even when you cannot see the peaks, the forest in Paradise Valley is incredible. Most trees in Banff National Park are evergreen; Lodgepole pine, engelmann spruce or subalpine fir. I am afraid I do not know much which is which – they all seemed to tower above us.
Paradise Valley Views
Every so often there are breaks in the trees when you can look up to Sheol Mountain or Saddleback Mountain. That easy looking rocky patch behind Saddleback Mountain is Fairview Mountain (we climbed this one the way to Lake Annette.)
Or, if you look in the other direction, you can see the distant peaks on the opposite side of the Bow Valley, beyond the Bow River.
As you walk towards to Lake Annette, the North Face of Mount Temple starts to loom up above the trail. The lake is right at the base of this giant.
As you get closer, the path gets a little steeper. Still it is always easy to follow, and it never gets super steep.
Lake Annette – the perfect lunch spot
This is one of my favorite lunch spots in the Canadian Rockies. There were a couple of other hikers who were just leaving as we arrived, so somehow we managed to have this incredible area all to ourselves while we munched on bagels.
Long walks are like an extra delicious sauce, they make food taste even better!
Just look at the beautiful blue water, relax for a while and enjoy the peace and quiet. I did go for a paddle, but the water was sooooo cold; I couldn’t keep my toes in Lake Annette for long.
Mount Temple’s North Face
It’s hard to show off just how great the views are by Lake Annette. The main problem is that Mount Temple is so massive that it’s not actually possible to fit it into photos. The North Face will completely fill your eyes, so it’s too much for anything but the widest of lenses!
Once we’d eaten, we followed the pretty path back through Paradise Valley. You can keep going further into the valley if you have a camping permit, or if you plan to hike to Moraine Lake via Sentinel Pass and Larch valley.
If you fancy an easy-ish hike that includes spectacular scenery, I can’t think of many better options than Lake Annette. This walk is definitely easy enough for children, just be aware it is in an area with plenty of grizzly bears, so make sure your kids hike close by, rather than running off alone in the distance! If you walk in a group, and make plenty of noise, it is very unlikely that the bears will allow you to see them.
If you would like to save this hike for later, please just click on the pins below.