Boom Lake Hike in Banff National Park

Boom Lake is a turquoise beauty, sitting beneath 600-metre cliffs in Banff National Park. It’s accessible from as early as June until late October, though you may have to tromp through some snow at that time. And it’s a fabulous cross-country skiing destination come the winter, through beware of avalanche chutes if you venture onto some sections of the lake.The Boom Lake hike is easy but not as interesting as many in the park. The wide trail parallels Boom Creek, though you only see the creek at the start of the hike. Don’t count on any views until you reach the exceptionally clear lake but some of the forest walking is very pleasant, especially in fall when there’s some colour in the understory. And in places there are some dandy big alpine firs and Englemann spruce. There’s also a boardwalk towards the end of the hike. If you’re driving towards Radium Hot Springs on Highway 93 or you’re staying at nearby Storm Mountain Lodge, then it’s an especially good choice, particularly on a hot, sunny day as the trail is mostly in the shade. The Boom Lake hike is dog-friendly and there’s plenty of water along the trail This post includes some affiliate links. If you make a qualifying purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support. Boom Lake hike details Total distance: 10.2 km return Elevation gain: 175 m or 574 feet Rating: Easy and dog-friendly with lots of water available Time needed: 3 – 4 hours Map: Gem Trek – Banff and Mt. Assiniboine Signage and useful info at the Boom Lake trailhead Boom Lake route description There are no navigation challenges on the hike to Boom Lake. It’s a straightforward as they get. Most of the hike on the way to Boom Lake will be in the shade – so it’s an ideal choice on a hot day. Early in the season or after a big rainfall you can also count on a lot of mud. Start at the parking lot, passing a few picnic spots before you cross a wooden bridge over Boom Creek. If you have dogs, they’ll probably want a swim in here before or after the hike. Continue on the trail as it veers left and starts to head up gradually through the forest. When I did the hike in early September, the understory was already awash in colour. Well into the hike you’ll pass a junction and a sign saying Taylor and O’Brien Lake. I have not heard anything good about this route (overgrown and hard to follow) so I wouldn’t recommend it. However, I would suggest doing the Taylor Lake hike starting from the Trans-Canada Highway between Banff and Lake Louise, especially in the fall when larches are at their peak. Read: The Taylor Lake Hike in Banff National Park  When you reach a boardwalk, you’re getting very close to the lake. From there the trail heads left and starts downhill on rougher terrain. The trail ends near the eastern end of Boom Lake beside a rockslide. The rockslide is nothing but big boulders so it’s hard to navigate. You’ll find most people don’t go very far in either direction from where the trail ends to enjoy a picnic with a view. Fun fact: Boom Lake got its name because of a natural log boom that formed on a shallow rock shelf at the lake’s outlet. It’s a wide trail to Boom Lake A colourful understory in early September A grouse was the only wildlife I saw but I’d still recommend hiking with a can of bear spray A couple of the giant trees you’ll see on the hike The overgrown trail to O’Brien and Taylor Lakes starts here The boardwalk is in great shape At the end of the trail you can see the boulders stacked up Looking east down Boom Lake Rosie is happy to cool off even on a chilly fall day Boom Lake map Location map of the Boom Lake trail How to get to the Boom Lake trailhead Take Highway 93 south from the Trans-Canada Highway at the Castle Junction intersection. Follow it for 7.2 km to reach the Boom Lake Picnic Area on the left (north) side of the highway. Even our dog had a hard time negotiating the boulders beside Boom Lake Trail conditions Check trail reports in Banff National Park before you go. They are regularly updated. Fall is a pretty time to do the Boom Lake hike Swimming at Boom Lake If you’re someone who doesn’t mind glacially cold water – and its a hot day, go big. Jump in, catch your breath, and then get out. Just be mindful of the fact that its a rocky shoreline and hard to get in and out easily. The water is cold and the lake is hard to access What to take on the Boom Lake hike Always carry the 10 hiking essentials.  On an easy hike like this I’d still recommend an inflatable seat cushion for a more comfortable stop at the lake and a few protein or energy bars.  Where to stay nearby The closest place to stay is Storm Mountain Lodge. But you’re also close to Castle Junction. There you could stay in the Castle Mountain Chalets or Johnston Canyon Lodge & Bungalows.  Baker Creek Mountain Resort is west of Castle Junction in a lovely location beside Baker Cree

Boom Lake Hike in Banff National Park

Boom Lake is a turquoise beauty, sitting beneath 600-metre cliffs in Banff National Park. It’s accessible from as early as June until late October, though you may have to tromp through some snow at that time. And it’s a fabulous cross-country skiing destination come the winter, through beware of avalanche chutes if you venture onto some sections of the lake.

The Boom Lake hike is easy but not as interesting as many in the park. The wide trail parallels Boom Creek, though you only see the creek at the start of the hike. Don’t count on any views until you reach the exceptionally clear lake but some of the forest walking is very pleasant, especially in fall when there’s some colour in the understory. And in places there are some dandy big alpine firs and Englemann spruce. There’s also a boardwalk towards the end of the hike.

If you’re driving towards Radium Hot Springs on Highway 93 or you’re staying at nearby Storm Mountain Lodge, then it’s an especially good choice, particularly on a hot, sunny day as the trail is mostly in the shade.

The Boom Lake hike is dog-friendly
The Boom Lake hike is dog-friendly and there’s plenty of water along the trail

This post includes some affiliate links. If you make a qualifying purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.

Boom Lake hike details

Total distance: 10.2 km return

Elevation gain: 175 m or 574 feet

Rating: Easy and dog-friendly with lots of water available

Time needed: 3 – 4 hours

Map: Gem Trek – Banff and Mt. Assiniboine

Signage and useful info at the Boom Lake trailhead
Signage and useful info at the Boom Lake trailhead

Boom Lake route description

There are no navigation challenges on the hike to Boom Lake. It’s a straightforward as they get.

Most of the hike on the way to Boom Lake will be in the shade – so it’s an ideal choice on a hot day. Early in the season or after a big rainfall you can also count on a lot of mud.

Start at the parking lot, passing a few picnic spots before you cross a wooden bridge over Boom Creek. If you have dogs, they’ll probably want a swim in here before or after the hike. Continue on the trail as it veers left and starts to head up gradually through the forest. When I did the hike in early September, the understory was already awash in colour.

Well into the hike you’ll pass a junction and a sign saying Taylor and O’Brien Lake. I have not heard anything good about this route (overgrown and hard to follow) so I wouldn’t recommend it. However, I would suggest doing the Taylor Lake hike starting from the Trans-Canada Highway between Banff and Lake Louise, especially in the fall when larches are at their peak.

Read: The Taylor Lake Hike in Banff National Park 

When you reach a boardwalk, you’re getting very close to the lake. From there the trail heads left and starts downhill on rougher terrain. The trail ends near the eastern end of Boom Lake beside a rockslide.

The rockslide is nothing but big boulders so it’s hard to navigate. You’ll find most people don’t go very far in either direction from where the trail ends to enjoy a picnic with a view.

Fun fact: Boom Lake got its name because of a natural log boom that formed on a shallow rock shelf at the lake’s outlet.

It's a wide trail to Boom Lake
It’s a wide trail to Boom Lake
A colourful understory in early September
A colourful understory in early September
Grouse on the Boom Lake hike
A grouse was the only wildlife I saw but I’d still recommend hiking with a can of bear spray
A couple of the giant trees you'll see on the hike
A couple of the giant trees you’ll see on the hike
The overgrown trail to O'Brien and Taylor Lakes starts here
The overgrown trail to O’Brien and Taylor Lakes starts here
The boardwalk is in great shape
The boardwalk is in great shape
At the end of the trail you can see the boulders stacked up
At the end of the trail you can see the boulders stacked up
Looking east down Boom Lake
Looking east down Boom Lake

Rosie is happy to cool off even on a chilly fall dayRosie is happy to cool off even on a chilly fall day

Boom Lake map

Location map of the Boom Lake trail
Location map of the Boom Lake trail

How to get to the Boom Lake trailhead

Take Highway 93 south from the Trans-Canada Highway at the Castle Junction intersection. Follow it for 7.2 km to reach the Boom Lake Picnic Area on the left (north) side of the highway.

Even our dog had a hard time negotiating the boulders beside Boom Lake
Even our dog had a hard time negotiating the boulders beside Boom Lake

Trail conditions

Check trail reports in Banff National Park before you go. They are regularly updated.

Fall is a pretty time to do the Boom Lake hike
Fall is a pretty time to do the Boom Lake hike

Swimming at Boom Lake

If you’re someone who doesn’t mind glacially cold water – and its a hot day, go big. Jump in, catch your breath, and then get out. Just be mindful of the fact that its a rocky shoreline and hard to get in and out easily.

The water is cold and the lake is hard to access
The water is cold and the lake is hard to access

What to take on the Boom Lake hike

Always carry the 10 hiking essentials

On an easy hike like this I’d still recommend an inflatable seat cushion for a more comfortable stop at the lake and a few protein or energy bars

Where to stay nearby

The closest place to stay is Storm Mountain Lodge. But you’re also close to Castle Junction. There you could stay in the Castle Mountain Chalets or Johnston Canyon Lodge & Bungalows

Baker Creek Mountain Resort is west of Castle Junction in a lovely location beside Baker Creek. 

Baker Creek - one of the Charmin Inns of Alberta
Lots of red chairs and fire pits outside at Baker Creek Mountain Resort