Mount Temple, Alberta, Canada

Mount Temple

Altitude: 3,544 m (11,627 ft)
Trailhead: Moraine Lake parking
Trail used: South-West from Moraine Lake
Difficulty: Really difficult
Elevation gain: 1,600 m (5,249 ft)
Distance: 16 km (10 mi) round trip
Time: 8 hours
Price: Free
– 38th highest peak in Canada
– 6th highest peak in Alberta
– Moraine Lake

Mount Temple is the « easiest » 11K feet peak in the Banff National Park. So when I headed to the Rockies for the first time, I really wanted to do it. It was mid-September and I was supposed to try it on Saturday but the weather was just way better in the middle of the week, so Wednesday Sep. 14 was the day. I knew there would be a good snow cover at the top since it was in September, but I was prepared for it with crampons and ice axe.

First, you have to be in group of 4 people or more if you want to hike in the area because of grizzlies. The most dangerous part is at the beginning in the forest so I joined 5 other people who were doing other hikes that day and we continued together for about an hours until we reached Larch Valley.

Larch Valley

This part of the trail is very popular due to easy access and awesome lanscape. A lot of people are heading for Sentinel Pass, a col that separate Temple and Eiffel Peak.


A lot of swicthbacks helps get to Sentinel Pass which is at around 2,600 m altitude and 600 m elevation gain from the Moraine Lake parking.


Here you can see a part of Eiffel Peak.

Eiffel Peak

And here’s a view of Sentinel Pass which is very popular and also beautiful!


But to get to Temple summit, you have to continue. In fact here, even if you have 5 out of 8 kilometers done, you still have 1,000 meters of elevation gain to do! So, it’s time to go!

Temple ridge

The hardest part of the whole hike is located in that small stretch, a bit after leaving Sentinel Pass. But if you manage to follow the « unoficial path » marked by little orange tape, everything is relatively easy. You don’t need ropes of anything else to belay you.


At the 3,000 meters mark, you start to be tired. The view is awesome and you start to feel the desire of getting down. But you know that the hardest part is done and you « just » have to walk up the pretty steep slope (nearly 45 degrees). So slowly but surely, you manage to get to the top!

Mount Temple

And if you’re lucky like me, there will be nobody with you on the summit, so you can enjoy the view just for yourself and you backpack!

Mount Temple

So, it took me 5:30 to get to the summit which is relatively slow but my favorite part is the descent which I did in 2:30. So the whole hike took me 8 hours. This is a view while getting down with my Osprey Stratos 26.


The weather was just perfect at the end of the afternoon with temperature around 20°C in the Larch Valley!

Larch Valley afternoon

And at the end, I couldn’t resist going back to the top of the little hill to get another picture of Moraine Lake. That area is simply amazing!

Moraine Lake


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