Elbow Pass: Tombstone Lake & Rae Lake Loop (3 days / 20 km)

Elbow Pass: Tombstone Lake & Rae Lake Loop

Elbow Pass is a backcountry hikers' paradise. This gorgeous mountain pass within the Elbow-Sheep Wildlands and Peter Lougheed Provincial Parks is framed by the giants of the Misty Range to the south and the South Banff Ranges to the north. This route takes you right through the middle of the valley, offering stunning views without too much effort. Elbow Pass is the perfect basecamp for epic day adventures; whether this is hiking to one of the many glacial lakes or summiting one of the rocky giants. 

Trip Completed: August 2019

Trip Summary

Starting Point: Elbow Pass parking lot Highway 40 (Coordinates: 50°38'7.63"N, 115° 1'25.20"W)

Ending Point: Elbow Pass parking lot Highway 40 (Coordinates: 50°38'7.63"N, 115° 1'25.20"W)

Total Distance: 20 km 

Elevation Gain: 700 m

Duration: 3 days

Difficulty: Beginner 


This route is located in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and Elbow-Sheep Wildlands.

Traditional Territory: This route takes place on the traditional territory of Tsuu T’ina, Stoney, Ktunaxa ɁamakɁis, and Niitsítpiis-stahkoii(source).

Maps & Resources

Map: AllTrails - If you have the premium version, you can download the topographic maps for offline use. Following the trail systems marked on AllTrails is very helpful in customizing your trip through this area. 

Campsite Reservations: Reservations required for Tombstone Backcountry campsite on Alberta Parks website. The campsite at Rae Lake is within wildlands and Wildland regulations apply. Read here for rules about random camping. 

Permits: Print out your permits before you leave. You must place them on wood posts at your campsite in Tombstone Backcountry. No permits required for the wildlands. 

Outfitters & Shuttles

Outfitter: There is no outfitter servicing the park. Bring your own backpacking gear (including bear spray!).

Shuttle: No shuttle is required as the route starts and ends in the same place....

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