After feeling couped up for a few days we decided to head into Yoho National Park and scramble up Paget Peak.
Paget Peak is often recommended to those that want to start scrambling in the Canadian Rockies. It’s an easy scramble, with nothing technical involved. It’s also one of the shorter scrambles you can complete in the Canadian Rockies, making it a great option for those who want to get out but don’t have an entire day.
If you’re looking to scramble Paget Peak read on for all the details on how to do it!
A Paget Peak Scramble/Hike Guide
Paget Peak Parking
Past Lake Louise and heading towards Golden is where you will find Paget Peak. Just past the Great Divide Lodge and across from Wapta Lake you will see a parking area for Sherbrooke Lake. Park here.
Paget Peak Route Description
From the car park follow the Sherbrooke Lake/Paget Lookout trail. There will be a picnic shelter with a wildlife door to cross. Almost right after the door, the trail splits into two. You’ll want to hang a left towards Sherbrooke Lake and Paget Peak. It’s a well-worn path up to the Paget lookout. To get to the lookout shelter takes 45 minutes to an hour. Stop here for beautiful views and to rest for a bit.
This lookout shelter is no longer in use, but used to serve as a way to sport forest fires.
When ready continue on the trail behind the lookout shelter. Once you get past the trees you’ll be on shale slopes that take you to the summit of Paget Peak. It’s here that the trail starts to fall apart into a boulder and scree field and it’s more of a “choose your own adventure” although there are parts that are well worn and parts where some have marked the best way up with cairns.
You’ll be climbing up scree and slabs for the majority of the rest of this ascent (450 meters). This is where the real work of this scramble begins. Hiking gloves will come in handy at this point as the slabs are sharp. You’ll reach a false summit and have a short downclimb to go. Towards the final push, you’ll be using your hands a bit more as you figure out your routing to the very top. However there is nothing technical about this scramble, with mild exposure. If you suffer from vertigo, you may feel it a bit on the downclimb.
When you reach the summit of Paget Peak note that it is possible to continue along the northern ridge for 30-40 minutes for a higher viewpoint. As it was getting late when we reached the summit we did not do this, and instead took the time to enjoy views of Kicking Horse Pass and glaciated peaks of the Great Divide. When we descended we decided we had just enough time to go see Sherbrooke Lake, which took an additional 45 minutes.
If you have the energy I would highly suggest adding on Sherbrooke Lake either before or after your scramble up Paget Peak. It’s downright stunning and sees very few visitors.
When Can You Hike Paget Peak?
Paget Peak is best hiked between late June and early October. You’ll likely find snow in June and October. Pack a pair of crampons and dress in layers if you are going out during this time.
How Long Does Take To Scramble Paget Peak?
With a distance of 9.5 km and an elevation gain of under 1000 meters, Paget Peak is one of the shorter scrambles in Yoho and Banff. It took us just over five hours round trip to complete this hike, with a stop at Sherbrooke Lake at the end but we hike at a moderately fast pace.
If you are short on time you can hike to Paget Lookout, which is 3.6 km one way. The hike to Paget Lookout is on an easy and well-maintained switchback trail.
Another option if you are short on time is to hike to Sherbrooke Lake. Sherbrooke Lake is as blue as the famous Lake Louise but sees far fewer crowds. The hike to Sherbrooke Lake is a 3.2 km out and back trail with an elevation gain of just 248 meters. It’s very easy for all to hike to and enjoy.
How Hard is it to Scramble Paget Peak?
As far as scrambles in the Canadian Rockies go I would personally rate this hike as on the easier side. Alan Kane rates this as an easy scramble with moderate exposure and I would have to agree.
If you are new to scrambling and want to build your confidence Paget Peak is a great place to start.
If you are just wanting an easy hike follow the trail to Paget Lookout and stop there, or take the family to Sherbrooke Lake.
Are dogs and kids appropriate on Paget Peak?
Both dogs and experienced kids would be able to handle easily handle Paget Peak. Make sure to keep your dog on a leash as there are bears around.
How Busy is Paget Peak?
Paget Peak is one of the less busier hikes in the Canadian Rockies. On our day out we saw a few groups heading to Sherbrooke Lake and Paget Lookout, but no one else attempting Paget Peak. You are likely to be on of the only groups on the trail past Paget Lookout.
Sherbrooke Lake Hike
As mentioned above I highly recommend adding on Sherbrooke Lake to your day. It’s a quick 3.2 km out and back trail with little elevation gain. The views are magnificent. It’s like Peyto Lake or Lake Louise without any of the crowds. I will likely return here next summer with a Stand Up Paddleboard and a cold beer.
Wildlife Awareness on Paget Peak
If you’re on any hikes in the Canadian Rockies you should practice proper wildlife awareness. In the region, there are frequent sightings of black bears, grizzly bears, moose, coyotes, and cougars. They all a potential threat to humans and we should reduce our impact on their natural lives.
Before any hike or walk-in the Canadian Rockies, you need to have bear spray. Remember that the bear spray is worthless if it’s in your pack, you’ll need to be able to grab this in two seconds or less in an emergency. We wear our bear sprays on our hip.
The likeliness of seeing wildlife on this trail is high. It is a moderately trafficked trail, but bear sightings have occurred. The meadow and valley is prime grizzly habitat and the trail has been closed in the past due to bear activity. We saw a male grizzly near the saddle of this hike. Thankfully he was fairly far away and we had a large group.
When you’re on the trail make noise by banging hiking poles, talking, whistling, clapping, or singing. This is particularly important around blind bends and corners. You’re through the deep woods during these times, and it’s prime time to sneak up on a bear. Once you’re at the summit, you’re safer as you can see wildlife from afar, but still, don’t let your guard down and keep the bear spray on you just in case.
As always while hiking, you need to stay alert, travel in a group, mind children and pets, and finally carrying bear spray and knowing how to use it. If you’ve come to the park without bear spray Valhalla Pure Outfitters in town sells spray and holders with employees who will demonstrate how to use properly.
Besides bears, it’s common to see hoary marmots and pika. We asked a marmot for directions, but they only gave us a whistle.
Advice on Hikes in the Canadian Rockies
If this is your first time hiking in the Rockies take a conservative approach. Pick an adequate hike for your fitness, plan for plenty of time, pack water and food, and don’t be afraid to turn around. If you want to learn more about what to wear hiking we have a great post.
For long hikes, set a turn around time at the departure. Any time we set out for an objective I determine a time at which we need to turn around in order to arrive at the parking lot or campsite by dark. I would recommend not hiking in the dark as it’s easy to get lost and it’s not fun in bear country.
On that note, always carry bear spray if you plan to hike in the park. We carry ours in the neighborhood and bears have been known to stroll through town and busy parking lots. Always practice wildlife awareness when you’re on a trail, and please give animals space.
In regards to times keep in mind your mountain fitness — different than the gym. The low end of the times in this post is a constant fast pace uphill with little to no breaks and a brisk pace downhill. Most hikers should plan for a middle of the road time with the estimated duration.
It’s also super important to know that there are limitations and to come prepared. These are very serious mountains and it easy to get in well over your head with life-threatening consequences.
Lastly, a GPS tracker could save your life – it’s one of those backpacking essentials I like to have on me just in case I need to hit SOS.
Alltrails is our favorite app to have on a hike. It shows the correct trail way, elevation, and other hiker reviews. We paid the subscription fee so that we could download all the data we need to our phones. Best $2.50 (per month) ever spent!
What to Wear On a Hike?
The most basic principle of what to wear hiking is layering. Anyone that has spent time in wilderness or mountains can speak to the fact your temperature can fluctuate a lot on a hike. You can easily start off cool at the base of the mountain and get hot as soon as you begin moving.
The goal of hiking clothes is to help regulate your body temperature, element protection, and moisture management. Temperature management is best done through a layering system if you want to learn more about what to pack for a day hike or what to wear on a hike, you can see our full post! Here are the best hiking clothes for men and the best hiking clothes for women.
Banff National Park Hikes
Of course, there are so many more hikes in Banff and tons of exploring. Looking for the best Banff hikes? We rank our favorite hikes around the park and share all of the details in this guide to experience the best in the park. You’ll find on these hikes in Banff high alpine passes lined with wildflowers, jagged peaks topped by glaciers, and a healthy dose of turquoise blue lakes.