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Larch Valley

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

Why a Wonder: Larch Valley is a fabulous sight where the Alpine Larch needles turn a bright golden yellow in Autumn. This landscape in the Canadian Rockies is rugged and majestic – a perfect backdrop for these novel conifers (Larix lyalli) that are not evergreen. After they turn color, the trees drop their soft needles, just as hardwoods drop their leaves at this time of year. Being in the bright yellow grove of Larch Valley is the very definition of being in a wonderland.

Where: Larch Valley is located high above Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, which is near the hamlet of Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada - about 45 minutes from Banff. You may need to arrive at Moraine Lake before sunrise to get a parking spot, or consider taking a shuttle. Walk a short distance up the path from the lodge to find the 2.67 mile (one-way) trail to Larch Valley that gains 1755 feet in that short distance.

When: An early morning hike in mid-to-late September is best for enjoying the seasonal color display. When the Larch trees turn, you can see patches of yellow on the mountainsides from the valleys below. The area is very popular at this time of year, so expect to share this trail with lots of other hikers. There may also be hiking restrictions, like having a minimum group of four, if grizzly bears are active in the area.

Photography: Plan on hauling wide-angle and telephoto lenses up the trail so as to not miss any of the great, colorful compositions that should reward your efforts. The weather is variable - so be prepared.

The landscape is unique, so have several freshly-charged batteries to keep your camera (s) charged to capture this beautiful valley that is surrounded by towering, majestic mountains.

Learn More: Click here to learn more. Copyright Notice: © Jerry Whaley

Do you have your own photos of this Photo Wonder? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

This post sponsored by Breakthrough Filters.

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