Egypt Lake Shelter
Egypt Lake shelter © Parks Canada
Banff National Park maintains two public trail shelters available for booking year round. The Egypt Lake Shelter is located in one of the most popular backcountry areas in Banff National Park. Here's what you need to know before you go.
The Key Word is Shelter !
Be prepared to bring everything except your tent (you may want to bring a small tarp or bivouac bag in case of emergency).
Inside Egypt Lake shelter © Parks Canada / H. Dempsey
This is what you'll find:
- 2 sleeping rooms with wooden platforms
- common cooking area
- wood stove for heating
- axe and wood supply
- grey water disposal system
- nearby creek for water supply
What, No Toilet Paper?
Exactly - don't forget the essentials. Here are a few suggested items to make your trip more comfortable:
- toilet paper
- warm sleeping bag
- pots and cooking utensils
- foamy or sleeping pad
- candle and/or flashlight
- stove, fuel and matches
Where is the Shelter Located?
The shelter is located on a bench above Pharaoh Creek, approximately 0.3 km SW of the Egypt Lake Warden Cabin. It's also colour-coded, just in case you're not sure. The Egypt Lake Shelter is painted green and the Egypt Lake Warden Cabin is brown . The shelter is located at an elevation of 2,000 metres (6,500 feet) and the grid reference is NG 772621 .
How to Get There - Access Routes
There are three main routes to Egypt Lake:
- Bourgeau /Sunshine parking lot to the shelter via Healy Pass, 12 km.
This is the recommended winter route.
- Bourgeau /Sunshine parking lot to the shelter via Sunshine Village (by hiking up the road, 6.5 km) via Simpson and Healy Passes. Total distance from Sunshine Village: 13 km.
- Redearth Creek parking lot to the shelter via Redearth Creek and Pharoah Creek, 21 km.
There are several guidebooks that describe these routes in detail. Please consult one before heading out and pick up a topographical map (#82 0/4 Banff 1:50,000).
How to Book the Shelter
Shelter © Parks Canada / H. Dempsey
First of all, everyone entering the park requires a National Park Pass. In addition, Wilderness Passes are required for any overnight backcountry visit. There is also a specific fee for the use of the shelter.
You can make a reservation up to 3 months in advance of your trip. Contact a Parks Canada visitor centre to book your trip.
Reservations are recommended during the peak summer months as well as holidays and weekends during the winter. We strongly recommend that you contact a park visitor centre prior to departure for updates on trail conditions, closures and other pertinent information.
The shelter holds 12 people.
Leave Your Dog at Home
Dogs are not permitted at the shelter as a courtesy to other shelter users. That also means that dogs are not allowed to overnight outside the shelter either.
You Are in Bear Country
Bears are of special concern to backcountry travellers. Check out information on bear safety.
Special Information: Winter Route Finding
It can be difficult to find the shelter in winter. Whiteout conditions, heavy trail-breaking and shortened daylight hours can have serious consequences. Make sure your party is equipped to spend a night out. It happens.
The key is to start early. You should be able to use a map and compass and be experienced at route finding. Skiers should have at least strong intermediate skills before attempting this trip.
While Healy Pass is the shortest and most direct route, it does traverse an alpine area where route finding can be tricky. There is no single defined route to the shelter. In stormy conditions, old tracks fill in and disappear. From the top of the pass, descend on a westerly bearing. This is the least steep option and leads in 1.5 km. to Pharaoh Creek. Turn right and follow the creek to the footbridge. The shelter is not visible from the creek but is located in a clearing on the left (west) bank upstream from the footbridge.
Note: Contrary to people's expectations, access to Egypt Lake via Sunshine and Simpson Pass is longer and more difficult than via the Healy Pass Trail.
Be Avalanche Aware
Some routes into the area traverse avalanche terrain. Check avalanche conditions and recognize that these can change overnight. Carry an avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel if you plan on skiing into these areas and know how to use them.
For more information: