Egypt Lake is a beautiful back-country campground located in Banff National Park. It’s quickly gaining popularity because of the towering peaks, deep-blue alpine lakes, and mountain meadows that surround the campground. This backpackers paradise is perfect for families and any outdoor enthusiast looking for a multi-day adventure. Keep reading for everything you need to know about this phenomenal hike!
Egypt Lake is located 13 kilometres West of the Sunshine Village parking lot which is approximately a 2.5 hours drive West of Calgary. The campground actually has multiple different access points but Sunshine Village is the shortest and most popular. You can choose to hike straight from the parking lot or you can take the gondola up to Sunshine Village. From there, it is only 10.6 kilometres (and mostly downhill) to Egypt Lake campground. The gondola costs $45 CAD round-trip or $25 one way. I recommend choosing the one-way option because you can take a slightly different path on the way back that offers a variety of scenery and less elevation gain.
Egypt Lake Campground
Egypt Lake Campground has 13 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. There’s a small creek that runs through the valley with fresh water that can be filtered for drinking and washing dirty dishes. There are two sets of bear lockers, one for each campsite, and a few picnic tables 100 meters North of the lodge. An outside bathroom with two stalls is located next to the lodge. Be sure to bring your own toilet paper!
The trail into Egypt Lake offers beautiful views of the surrounding Rockies. After leaving the Sunshine Ski Boundary you’ll cross through many meadows that are covered in wildflowers during the summer months. From the campground, which is only about 1 kilometre from Egypt Lake, you`ll have a large selection of day hikes to choose from.
One of the most popular day trips is to hike up to Scarab Lake. This lake is a 5 kilometre round-trip hike from the campground and is definitely worth the climb. Once you get to Scarab Lake, there’s a small trail that follows a creek to your left. Take it! You will be rewarded with a serene waterfall paradise that falls over a 100 feet down into Egypt Lake.
If you decide to continue on from Scarab Lake, Mummy Lake will be your next stop. This long narrow lake was named after its shape and only adds an additional 1.4 kilometres round-trip.
If you`re all about a scramble with incredible views then Sphinx and Pharaoh are perfect hikes to try. After passing Scarab and Mummy Lake you’ll begin a steep ascent up to Sphinx Peak. In total, this peak is 8 kilometres round-trip from Egypt Lake Campground with a whole lot of elevation but is well worth the effort!
Pharaoh Peak is another 8 kilometre round-trip hike from the campground and like Sphinx Peak, has a steep ascent. After getting a small glimpse of Scarab Lake you’ll begin your scramble up to Pharaoh Peaks. This scramble is one of the more popular hikes from Egypt Lake because of the insanely rewarding views from the top!
If you’re hiking to Black Rock Lake then Pharaoh Lake will be your first stop along the trail. This lake is 3.2 kilometres round-trip from Egypt Lake Campground if you decide this is as far as you’d like to go.
Black Rock Lake
Black Rock Lake is an additional 1.8 kilometres round-trip from Pharaoh Lake. The hike is fairly easy and makes for a relaxing day after trekking into the campground with a 40 lb pack.