Egypt Lake is a gorgeous back-country campground located in Banff National Park. It is quickly gaining popularity due to its towering peaks, stunning alpine lakes, and charming mountain meadows. This BACKPACKER’S paradise is perfect for any outdoor enthusiast looking for a multi-day adventure. Keep reading for everything you need to know about this phenomenal hike!
I have hiked into Egypt Lake Campground on 2 separate occasions, and both times it completely blew me away. The Egypt Lake trail offers a portal into the marvellous and untouched Canadian Rockies that is hard to beat.
This jaw-dropping multi-day hike winds through mountain passes and meadows full of wildflowers. The turquoise lakes and rugged peaks show off some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Canada.
I would recommend staying between 2-4 nights if at all possible. You could technically hike in one day and hike out the next, but you would be seriously missing out on the day hikes that are available to you from Egypt Lake Campground. Once you’ve made it that far, the backcountry is at your fingertips.
Egypt Lake is located 13 kilometres West of the Sunshine Village parking lot which is approximately 2.5 hours west of Calgary. The campground has multiple different access points, but Sunshine Village is the shortest and most popular.
From the parking area, you have 2 different options. First, you can choose to hike directly to Egypt Lake Campground from the parking lot via Healy Creek Trail. This route takes you up 890m of elevation over the first 9 kilometres with a fairly consistent incline.
From the top of Healy Pass, you get incredible views over Egypt and Scarab Lake as well as the surrounding mountain ranges and meadows. From there, it is all downhill to the Egypt Lake Backcountry Campground. The total one-way distance for this route is 12.4 km & 890m elevation gain.
The second option, and the one we chose, is to take the gondola from the parking lot up to Sunshine Village. After this 1070-meter boost from the Sunshine Gondola ($41 CAD per person in 2022), we took a hard right and began hiking toward Simpson Pass.
After about 1.8km of uphill hiking, we were greeted with 360-degree mountain views on both sides of the BC/Alberta border. From there, the path winds down into a valley full of wildflowers where it joins up with Healy Creek Trail. After the trails merge, you hike up to Healy Pass and down to Egypt Lake Campground on the same trail as described in the first option. The total one-way distance for this route is 13 km & 585m of elevation.
NOTE: If you chose to take the gondola up, I recommend the one-way option and hiking out via Healy Creek Trail. This saves you from the extra money and elevation gain that would come with hiking back to Sunshine Village and taking the gondola down.
Egypt Lake Campground
Egypt Lake Campground is located about 1 kilometre from Egypt Lake and very close to the crossroads of Healy Creek Pass and Red Earth Creek Trail. It has 15 campsites and a lodge that sleeps an additional 12 campers. The hand-built log cabin is basic and cozy with wooden bunk beds surrounding a large wood fire stove. This can be used for heat or cooking during the winter months.
2022 UPDATE: The log cabin is currently being rebuilt and is not available for stays this season.
There is a small creek nearby with fresh water that can be filtered for drinking and cooking. This was one of our favourite places to hang out after dinner because the creek is absolutely stunning!
Each campsite is entitled to 1 bear locker for food storage. Next to the lockers, there are picnic tables for cooking and eating. An outhouse with two stalls is available, but be sure to bring your own toilet paper! They are almost always out.
Egypt Lake is an incredibly popular campground. If you want to visit, especially on a weekend, you will need to book a tent pad well in advance. We have had the best luck booking on the first day reservations open. After that, it is typically full for the entire summer.
Day Hikes in The Area
As mentioned earlier, there are several options for an incredible day on the trails after arriving at Egypt Lake. The most we have ever stayed is 2 nights, but you could easily fill up 4-5 days if you had the time and energy.
Below, I have listed all of my favourite lakes, peaks, and lookouts in the area including directions and photos. All distances are roundtrip from Egypt Lake Campground. Many of these hikes can be combined with others to save time and kilometres.
2km & 35m elevation
Because the campsite is not located directly on the lake, this short hike is necessary if you want to access the shoreline. Egypt Lake is an excellent place to set up the hammock, read a book, or try your hand at fishing if you are in the mood for a laid back day. You can also visit Egypt Lake via a short detour on your way to or from Scarab Lake, The Sphinx, or Pharaoh Peak.
5 km & 230 m elevation
One of the most popular day trips in the area, the trail up to Scarab Lake, can be done on its own or in conjunction with other peaks and lakes in the area. This 5-kilometre round-trip hike is excellent for all fitness levels and the lake offers an accessible shoreline for swimming and basking in the sun.
The Top of Scarab Falls
5.1 km & 230 m elevation
Once you arrive at Scarab Lake, there’s a small trail that follows a creek to your left. Trust me on this one, you’re going to want to take it! From the top of Scarab Waterfall, you can look down over Egypt Lake while the water cascades hundreds of feet below. This lookout is peaceful, surreal, and like nowhere I have ever been before.
SAFETY NOTE: This waterfall is incredibly powerful and it is important not to get yourself into a dangerous situation. Do not stand in the water at the top or get too close to the edge.
6.4 km & 350 m elevation
If you decide to continue along the left side of Scarab Lake and follow the trail that navigates up the steep rocky wall in front of you, Mummy Lake will be your next stop. This long, narrow lake was named after its shape and only adds 1.4 kilometres to your journey round-trip. The crystal clear water is well worth the extra effort, especially if you are interested in hiking to the top of The Sphinx.
7.8 km & 500 m elevation
If you’re all about the scrambles with incredible views, this is the perfect hike for you. After passing Scarab and Mummy Lakes, the trail takes you on a steep ascent up to Sphinx Peak. There is no shade on the last section of this hike and I’ll be honest, it’s challenging. Don’t worry though, the views out over Mummy and Scarab Lakes are worth every step!
7.8 km & 690 m elevation
Pharaoh Peak is one of the most difficult and most popular peaks to summit in the area. After getting a small glimpse of Scarab Lake, you’ll follow the trail to the right and hike beside the lake to the other side of Pharaoh Peak. From there, the real challenge begins. You gain about 450m of elevation over the last kilometre in a steep scramble to the top. Pack lots of snacks and water to enjoy at the top.