Have a quick look at the map at the trailhead; this will save you from making one or two possible wrong turns during the first part of the hike. The trail is wide for the first 3 plus km, and you can cycle this if you wish, passing marshy Burstall Lakes on the way.
At about 4 km you cross Burstall Creek on a small footbridge, entering the wide gravel flats immediately (see photos). You may need to don sandals or runners as you cross the many braids of this glacier-fed stream.
The trail re-enters forest after .5 km, climbing to open meadows at 5.5 km. About 1 km later you begin the final climb to the Pass.
Great views once on top, with lots of opportunities for further hiking or scrambling. I would grade this trail as difficult only if Burstall Creek is high (eg. late afternoon, early summer). Otherwise it is a good trail of average to moderate difficulty.
NTS Map: 082J14 Elevation Gain: 451 m (1,480 ft).
From Banff, drive east to Canmore, then south on Spray Lakes Road for 45 km. There is a large parking area beside Mud Lake on your right.
If coming from the south, it is about 20 km north of the junction of Smith Dorrien/Spray Lakes Rd and Kananaskis Lakes Trail (ie Road).
Spray Lakes Rd. is a gravel road. There are other, mostly paved, options to access this area from Canmore or Calgary.
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Posted By: longleggedhiker
- Fri May 07 23:10:03 EDT 2010
UpsideAn outstanding trail with spectacular views requiring not a whole lot of effort.
DownsideThe willow flats are very wet and mucky. Especially in June and most of July.
CommentThis is a MUST DO hike for anyone. It is totally worth the time and effort! It is a good idea to bike the first part as it will give you more time to enjoy the high country. It is also best to do this hike in September as you will get to enjoy beautiful fall larch colors and the Willow Flats are for the most part dry in September.
Posted By: mountain momma
- Sat Aug 08 14:29:23 EDT 2009
UpsideLovely trail, great views, options to go beyond pass
DownsidePossibly high waters
CommentThis is by far my most favourite day hike! We went down into Leman Lake and enjoyed a dip. Fabulous!
Posted By: sdecarie
- Sat Sep 30 22:35:35 EDT 2006
UpsideIt's a great hike with many options once reach the Burstall pass area. Late Sept. Larch trees were very colourful. I'd definitely do this hike again
DownsideOnly if the creek is high will you get wet in the marsh area
CommentThe GPS data actually heads towards South Burstall pass from Burstall pass
Posted By: bikeal
- Wed Aug 09 01:01:37 EDT 2006
UpsideJust uploaded the GPS data for this great hike. We did make it to the top of the mountain looking over the valley, but I forgot to turn on the GPS until I was partly down mountain ridge, and I was too pooped to go back up again! Beautiful views from the top! Just be careful of the alpine flowers as there is no marked trails, and it's a bit of a scramble to the top.
DownsideSome mucky areas to cross in wet season (we did this hike early August).
CommentGreat views of glaciers, waterfalls and lakes. First part of hike you can mountain bike.
Posted By: pmjwright
- Fri Mar 03 17:34:56 EST 2006
UpsideGreat scenery for less than average effort. Nice views of Assiniboine. Great larch colours in fall.
CommentIt's worth it to bike the first half, more time on top. Easy mt bike, and it's the least scenic part anyway. From the pass you can ridge walk S of the pass, or its short easy scramble up Snow Pass to N.
Posted By: MELdad
- Mon Jan 02 23:05:57 EST 2006
Commentover xmas - good skiing off the pass and great snow shoeing around mud lake from the parking lot at burstall.
Posted By: MELdad
- Wed Nov 16 15:19:11 EST 2005
Upsidegood info re the creek - but mostly always fordable except in late june - wet season, burstall is a classic in the eastern slopes - great backcountry skiing off both sides of the pass too
Commentcreek mostly always fordable except in late june - wet season, burstall is a classic in the eastern slopes - great backcountry skiing off both sides of the pass too- we had dinner at Mount Engadine Lodge is was great