3hrs, 7km round-trip
Elevation gain: 520m
The trailhead for Padget Lookout is in front of Wapta Lake, on the Trans-Canada Highway in BC. It is located between Lake Louise, AB and Field, BC. This was my first mountain hike in over a year and I must say it gets your heart pumping!
The first 1.4km of the trail goes slightly uphill until you reach a large tree with massive roots, and the sign for the junction to Sherbrooke Lake or Padget Lookout. I did not have the time to do both, but was told that doing both trails in one day should take more or less 4hrs round-trip.
At the junction, head right towards Padget Lookout. From there, the trail will take you uphill from most of the way to the lookout. You will slowly get out of the forest as you head towards the alpine, and start doing a series of switchbacks as you gain elevation. When the vegetation starts to become smaller, make sure you have a good look around you, as the view of the valleys surrounding the trail is stunning.
It took me about 1h45 to ascent to the lookout (keep in mind I am very out of shape at this particular moment, after I spent 6 days in my car driving across Canada!). The lookout will suddenly appear at the end of one of the numerous switchback. Some hikers kept going to Padget Summit on a scrambling path, but I did not attempt this as I was hiking on my own and had enough uphill for that day. The lookout was used for fire lookout in the valley, before it was abandoned in the 70s. It is in great condition and acts as a perfect shelter from the wind for your lunch break if you need it!
Go back down the way you came back – it took me about 1h to head down back to the parking lot.