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Boom Lake

  • Difficulty
  • 10.9km
  • 230m
  • 2.5-3.5h

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The hike to Boom Lake is a pleasant and popular excursion in Banff National Park. This route is great for beginners as the trail is clear, the path well-made and there is a beautiful view at Boom Lake. We love this hike on very hot days, as it is mostly in the forest.

Getting there

Go west from Banff along the Trans-Canada Highway. Take the turn-off at Castle Junction towards Radium highway 93 and drive for 6.9km. The Boom Lake Day Use Area is on the right-hand side of the road, shortly after the turn-off for Storm Mountain Lodge.


Total Gain: 230m


Type of Hike Out and Back
Crowd Levels Moderate
Route Signage Average
Toilets At trailhead
Family Friendly Yes
Backcountry Campgrounds No
When to Do May to early October

 Detailed Description

The hike to Boom Lake is a popular hike almost any time of the year, so you will usually see others here. It’s popular as the hike isn’t too hard and the Boom Lake Trail itself is kept in great shape and is never too steep. We particularly like this hike on really hot days or rainy days, as the tree cover provides a bit of protection.

From the parking lot, the route is fairly straightforward, heading out from the far-end of the Boom Lake Parking Lot, and immediately crossing a bridge over Boom Creek.

From here, the trail to Boom Lake is immersed in the trees as it gradually climbs through the forest. This is the type of trail where you get engrossed in a conversation and don’t realize you’re climbing, as the grade of the trail is never too steep.

You crest a hill after roughly 4.2km, from which it’s fairly flat for 1km before the trail descends to Boom Lake. There isn’t much space to sit at Boom Lake, as you’re at the base of a rockslide and the forest crowds around the shore. Look across Boom Lake and you’ll see Boom Mountain and Chickadee Peak, while at the far end of Boom Lake you’ll see Chimney Peak and Chimney N1 as the highest peaks in the area.

The rocks are a popular place to have some lunch or just take a rest and enjoy the stunning scenery.

Our track shows us trying to explore a bit farther along Boom Lake, as we headed over a boulder field and took one of the many narrow paths through the shrubs. It was not a great route, which is a shame as it would be nice to explore the lakeshore on a better trail. There are pleasant views if you decide to take one of these trails along the lakeshore. Just remember to make a lot of noise since you are in bear country and carry bug spray; the bugs were significantly worse on this lakeshore route.

Once you’re ready to head back, return on the path you came up on.

Insider Hints

  • Consider staying at the nearby Storm Mountain Lodge. These are fun little log cabins and are very romantic for a couples get-away.
  • The restaurant at Storm Mountain Lodge is very good, and worth a stop for lunch or dinner; reservations are highly recommended.
  • If you have kids, stop by at Castle Mountain General Store for a good selection of treats. They also sell liquor, snacks, sandwichs, drinks and basic food you may need for camping.