Egypt Lake shelter
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.
Inside the shelter
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).
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 to bring
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
First of all, everyone entering the park requires a National Park Pass. In addition, a backcountry permit is required for any overnight backcountry visit. There is also a specific fee for the use of the shelter.
You can purchase your backcountry permit online or by calling 1-877-RESERVE (1-877-737-3783).
Reservations are recommended during the peak summer months as well as holidays and weekends during the winter. We strongly recommend that you contact a Parks Canada visitor centre prior to departure for updates on trail conditions, closures and other pertinent information.
The shelter holds 12 people.
Safety and regulations
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. Ask a park information centre attendant how you can reduce the risk of bear encounters. Check out the park's website for information on bears.
In case of emergency
For all emergencies, call 911. Please note that cell phones do not work everywhere in the park. When seeking help, make sure you can report the location of the emergency as accurately as possible. If you are in the backcountry, let the 911 dispatcher know that you require Banff National Park warden assistance. If you are using a satellite phone call 911, and if that doesn't work, call 403.762.4506 for the Banff Emergency Dispatch Centre.
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.