Mosquito Creek Campground
6.4 km
149Elevation Gain (m)
Because of its location, removed from both Banff and Jasper, the Mosquito Creek trail has fewer visitors than its counterparts close to the townsites. Combine this with the fact that when you leave the highway and enter the forest, all evidence of civilization immediately disappears; the short 6.4-km hike is genuinely isolated. The best part of this wonderful hike is the last part as you enter the campground, which is in a beautiful valley following the banks of Mosquito Creek. The valley is wide, with sparse tree growth leaving the surrounding mountains in full sight.

This young mule deer was spotted with its mother along the Mosquito Creek trail. It was just as curious about us as we were about it. It poked its head through the trees and posed for us for 2–3 minutes before its mother called it in.

After you cross the pavement and drop down an embankment the trailhead begins without delay. The single track pathway makes its only significant climb right away, venturing up through a forest of lodgepole pine and Engelmann spruce. Lodgepole pine has an extensive range throughout the Rocky Mountains and is thought to be the most common species of pine in these mountains. The ascent does not last long, and soon enough the trail reaches its zenith, levelling off for a quiet walk surrounded by magnificent conifers.

Not soon after you’ve enjoyed the quiet of the forest, Mosquito Creek begins to speak to you, announcing its presence slightly farther up the trail. The trail breaks through the woods, opening into an expanse featuring the rapidly moving yet shallow Mosquito Creek, making it an archetypical “babbling brook.” Just as impressive is the astounding visual impact of the stunning mountains and ridges all around the valley.

Many feeder streams are crossed while tracking Mosquito Creek, and some of the crossings are made of narrow, although flattened, logs. Extreme caution is advised while walking on these logs in wet conditions. As well, protective rain gear should be worn after a rainfall in a valley such as this, as the moisture from the low, wet foliage will inevitably fall onto pants and boots.

Enjoy the scenery here, because the forest reclaims the trail when it enters Mosquito Creek Campground. The campground offers few luxuries, but even so, a bear pole and outhouse are welcome necessities. There are picnic tables beside the creek, a central cooking and eating area and truly abysmal tent sites.

The only day trip is to venture farther up the trail beyond the campground. Highlights of the trail begin with an alpine stroll above treeline, the small Mosquito Lake, 2.4 km from the campground, North Molar Pass and the upper and lower Fish lakes. There is a campground at Upper Fish Lake. The length of the day trip depends entirely on what you want to see and how high you wish to climb, as the elevation increase from the campground to North Molar Pass is about 600 m over 5.1 km. Lower Fish Lake, the farther of the two, drops 365 m from the summit of North Molar Pass, placing it 9.3 km from Mosquito Creek Campground.


Mosquito Creek received official title on May 7, 1959, even though this name had already been used locally for the better part of a century. The derivation of the name is obvious, but it is unknown exactly when it was chosen or who was the first person to be swarmed by mosquitoes in the valley. One thing is certain: there are mosquitoes here. Even during a hike in moderate rains, the little monsters still managed to plague us.

The name Molar Pass comes from Molar Mountain in the same area and received its official status on January 21, 1985. In 1859 James Hector decided that the mountain was tooth-shaped, thus naming it Molar Mountain. The pass was used infrequently as a connecting route from the Pipestone Pass to the Bow Valley.


At the intersection of the Icefields Parkway and the Trans-Canada Highway, drive north on the parkway for 25 km. Pull into the Mosquito Creek Youth Hostel south of the Mosquito Creek Bridge on the west side of the highway, and park in the designated area for hikers. The trailhead is across the parkway, on the north side of the bridge.

Hike Map
Gerry Shea

Gerry Shea

Gerry Shea lives in Kamloops with his wife and children and he is also the author of The Aspiring Hiker’s Guide 2: Mountain Treks in British Columbia.

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