With near 1000 miles of well-maintained trails, turquoise waters, alpine meadows, and plush forests, Banff National Park is without doubt one of the most stunning locations to hike in Canada.
We have been to Banff National Park a variety of instances in each totally different season and contemplate it one among our favourite locations in Canada it doesn’t matter what time of 12 months. But to essentially take in all that this park has to supply it’s a must to get out and hike. From the simpler trails like Sulpher Mountain to extra strenuous hikes in Banff like Corey Pass this information will aid you select that are the perfect mountaineering trails in Banff so as to add to your subsequent go to.
Our Best Banff Hikes
When placing this Banff mountaineering information collectively we needed to ensure so as to add hikes for all ranges of bodily health. Most of those listed below are doable with a mean stage of health however some require extra stamina and expertise. We needed to supply all the main points essential so that you can select the hike that’s finest for you. The fantastic thing about mountaineering in Banff National Park is that a lot of them are accessible inside a brief drive from the city of Banff or Lake Louise Village.
Whichever approach you determine to go, the towering mountains of the Canadian Rockies in Alberta encompass you, making for picture-perfect surroundings at each flip.
Up subsequent we’re going to let you know concerning the 16 Best Banff hikes you received’t wish to miss. To go to Banff National Park you want a Parks Pass and you should purchase it right here.
Traveling to Alberta? Read extra: The 52 Best Things to do in Alberta, Canada – The Ultimate Guide
1. Tunnel Mountain Trail
Although Tunnel Mountain has no tunnel, it does have hanging views of the Banff space from its summit. The trailhead is situated near Banff metropolis heart and you’ll simply stroll to it. Whether you’re strolling to it or taking a car, you’ll wish to get to St. Julien Road, which is simply off Grizzly Street in Banff downtown. There is a car parking zone out there for these utilizing autos.
The path begins with properly graded switchbacks and it might probably get a bit of steep in locations so mountaineering boots are a good suggestion. Once you get nearer to the highest, you get a gradual climb. You’ll see views of Vermillion Lakes, the city of Banff, the Banff Golf Course, and the imposing Mount Rundle.
Despite the steep sections, the Tunnel Mountain path hike is taken into account straightforward and is feasible to do with the entire household. It can also be an ideal hike for dawn or sundown because it doesn’t take too lengthy and the views are unbelievable.
Elevation Gain: 266 Meters
Duration: 1 + Hours
Length: 4.5 KM
2. Lake Agnes Trail and Beehive Circuit (Little and Big Beehive)
This hike is without doubt one of the high issues to do in Banff and top-of-the-line Banff hikes as properly. The hike itself isn’t too strenuous and is well accessible from the small city of Lake Louise. The Lake Agnes Trail begins out on a paved path that takes you alongside the north shore of Lake Lousise with beautiful views of the Victoria Glacier. You will then climb up into the spruce forest alongside some switchbacks earlier than you attain the glistening Mirror Lake, alpine meadows, the falls, and the favored rock face known as the Big Beehive.
As you allow Mirror Lake keep to the precise for the perfect views. I’m not going to lie, there’s one thing fairly particular about discovering your self in an old school teahouse whereas surrounded by the long-lasting Rocky Mountains, turquoise blue lakes and bears, and deer besides. Lake Agnes Tea House has been serving tea since 1905 and is the proper place to seize a snack earlier than persevering with on to Little Beehive and Big Beehive the place the views are much more spectacular.
The Lake Agnes Tea House itself was constructed by Canadian Pacific Railway in 1901 as a spot the place hikers may cease and relaxation. In 1905 it began serving tea and hasn’t stopped since.
This hike is extraordinarily standard and could be actually busy in the excessive season. This is as a result of it is without doubt one of the best Banff hikes that may be accomplished in underneath 2 hours. We suggest doing it in October, earlier than the snow to keep away from all of the crowds. Regardless, of while you go to although, it’s undoubtedly price it.
Elevation Gain: 650 Meters
Duration: 2-4 Hours
Length: 10.3 KM
3. Sulpher Mountain
Sulphur Mountain is without doubt one of the hottest hikes in Banff National Park. Not solely as a result of it has spectacular views and is near the city Center of Banff but additionally as a result of you may take a Gondola up or down in the event you like. If you determine to hike up (or down) you can be handled to panoramic views of the encircling mountains and valleys.
The hike up is taken into account strenuous because the elevation achieve comes rapidly by means of a sequence of switchbacks which ends on the high of the gondola for Sulphur Mountain. The trailhead is situated on the Upper Hot Springs car parking zone, and when you attain the summit, you’ll be capable of see spectacular views of Banff, the Bow River Valley, and the encircling peaks of the Canadian Rockies.
Because that is so near the city of Banff it is without doubt one of the hottest issues to do. That means in the summer season it will likely be extremely busy. But we expect the views are price it particularly in the event you staying in Banff.
Elevation Gain: 791 Meters
Duration: 2-4 Hours
Length: 10.1 KM
4. Helen Lake Trail
The Helen Lake Trail makes for an idyllic hike the place you’ll be crossing rivers and streams and going by means of wildflower meadows and fir forests. There is a whole lot of journey and enjoyable available on this hike, however be sure you’re carrying the precise footwear and clothes to have the ability to expertise it in consolation.
You ought to undoubtedly climb as much as the ridge above Helen Lake by way of Dolomite Pass in the event you can, from there you get pretty views of the less-known and due to this fact undisturbed and purely blue Lake Katherine cupped in the mountain peaks.
The Helen Lake Trail hike is situated off the Icefields Parkway on the Crowfoot Glacier Viewpoint and is a superb various to Moraine Lake and Lake Louise if these hikes are too busy.
Elevation Gain: 755 Meters
Duration: 5-6 Hours
Length: 16.7 KM
5. Bourgeau Lake Trail
It is taken into account a average path that can take you thru forests of lodgepole pine and spruce all the best way to Bourgeau Lake.
The lake itself sits in a glacially carved amphitheater and it’s a good suggestion to pack alongside a picnic so you may get pleasure from it while you get there. You may also be joined by chipmunks, squirrels, and pikas in the event you’re fortunate.
The starting of the path is fairly regular till you hit Wolverine Creek. The creek is quaint, however the waterfall that pours down from it’s completely beautiful. Enjoy these views as a result of after that you simply’re going to be moving into steep switchbacks, some poles may very well be extremely useful.
After all of the huffing and puffing you’re going to achieve the blue-green brilliance of Bourgeau Lake and have views of Sunshine Meadows and Rock Isle Lake. It’s the proper place to cease, have a snack, and nod to your self that the huffing and puffing have been price it. If you feel adventurous you may as well mix this with a summit bid to Mount Bourgeau which is a 2,931-metre (9,616 ft) tall peak. This would make it a full-day hike so be sure to organize accordingly.
You can get to the path by taking the exit for Sunshine Village Ski Resort off of the Trans Canada Highway. You can park in the car parking zone and there are restroom services.
Elevation Gain: 732 Meters
Duration: 4-5 Hours
Length: 14.8 KM
6. Lake Louise Plain of the Six Glaciers Trail
This is without doubt one of the most good regularly elevated trails in the nationwide park that permits for a leisurely hike. You get pretty views of Lake Louise alongside the best way in addition to Mount Victoria and the Victoria Glacier. You ought to be aware this path can get a bit muddy as you’re alongside the water a whole lot of the time so put on applicable footwear.
You may also convey your canine alongside this path so that you and your four-legged buddy can benefit from the greenery and mountain flowers alongside your stroll. The Plain of the Six Glaciers Teahouse is a stunning place to cease and take in the character that surrounds you whereas having fun with some tea and treats.
Note: you may as well get to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House by mountaineering from Big Beehive right down to the teahouse. The downhill hike is fairly straightforward from Big Beehive.
This is a 13.8 KM round-trip hike that begins across the Lake Louise shoreline. To get to the path you will want to go to the Chateau Lake Louise car parking zone. Do be aware that this specific parking space fills up quick because it leads guests to many trails in addition to the Chateau.
Elevation Gain: 587 Meters
Duration: 4-5 Hours
Length: 13.8 KM spherical journey
7. Cascade Amphitheatre Trail
Cascade Mountain is known as as such because of the waterfall that cascades down one aspect of it. Looking at Cascade Mountain from afar paints an intimidating image and the considered climbing it appears not possible.
It is unquestionably a troublesome and tough climb, and that’s why mountaineering to the Cascade Amphitheatre is an effective various to get near the mountain with out having to summit it.
You’ll be mountaineering by means of the dense forest firstly which isn’t all that fascinating, however when you get nearer to the amphitheater the bushes begin opening up and the sky seems. And you truly do really feel such as you’re in an amphitheater due to the looming mountain peaks surrounding you.
Before you get to the gorgeous meadow of the amphitheater be ready for all kinds of wildlife sightings. There have been reviews of bears and elk and even cougars in the realm.
This is a 13 KM hike with an elevation change of 3000 ft and is taken into account a average hike. You can get to the Cascade Amphitheatre Snowshoe Trail from the Mt. Norquay ski space. From the car parking zone, you’re going to go in direction of the Spirit chairlift which is able to get you onto the path.
Elevation Gain: 914 Meters
Duration: 4-5 Hours
Length: 13 KM
8. Johnston Canyon Hike off Bow Valley Parkway
One of the preferred Banff Hikes, the Johnston Canyon Trail will take you right into a dramatic journey film sort of panorama. Let’s simply begin off with the truth that while you get on the path you’re going to be getting on some sturdy iron walkways that dangle over the canyon (not for the faint of coronary heart).
We have accomplished this hike in each the winter and the summer season and truly cherished it extra in the winter. The causes for this are that there are far fewer folks, the waterfalls are frozen, which makes for a special viewing expertise, and we obtained to see ice climbers on a variety of the falls. If you do the hike in the winter be sure to seize some Ice Cleats from city as the paths have been fairly icy.
If you might be there in the summer season it’s nonetheless very spectacular. Make positive to climb as much as the higher falls for excellent views of the falls pouring down right into a pool surrounded by canyon partitions. Then, if you wish to make extra of a day of it head out to the Ink Pots. You can entry them from the highest of the higher falls the place it’s one other 2 KM out to the Ink Pots.
From the Bow Valley Parkway, you’ll be driving to the Johnston Canyon Lodge and Bungalows. You can park there and entry the trailhead close to the lodge. Alternatively, you may take the Johnston Valley shuttle to get there from the city of Banff.
Elevation Gain: 608 Meters
Duration: 2-5 Hours
Length: 11.7 KM return together with Ink Pots
9. Cory Pass and Edith Pass Trail
If you wish to problem your self however restrict that problem to a day hike, the Cory Pass and Edith Pass Trail is without doubt one of the finest trails in Banff National Park for you. Right off the highest, you’re going to expertise some main inclines and also you’re going to must undergo a river, nevertheless, when you hit the summit the grading turns into extra even and the hike turns into simpler.
There have been bear sightings in the realm so convey alongside your bear spray. In truth, you have to be bringing your bear spray alongside no matter what a part of the Canadian Rockies you’re mountaineering.
Overall it’s a troublesome hike, however actually provides you a beautiful style of the true rugged nature of the park. The Cory Pass trailhead is on the Fireside Picnic Area which is situated off 1A Bow Valley Parkway. It is a 13 KM hike and one of many highest elevation trails in the park with a achieve of 1168 meters.
Elevation Gain: 1168 Meters
Duration: 5-7 Hours
Length: 13 KM
10. Saddleback Pass Trail
For a enjoyable hike that’s not going to depart you breathless and scrambling over rocks, you’ll wish to try the Saddleback Pass Trail.
Unlike a whole lot of different experiences in Banff National Park, this hike goes to cover a whole lot of the views as you hike by means of dense forests. But that’s okay, you’ll breathe in the scrumptious contemporary air and get an opportunity to see cute wildlife like ptarmigans and marmots alongside the best way.
The climax of all of it is while you get to the precise saddle and end up flanked by Saddle Mountain and Mount Fairview. You have the choice of taking the straightforward approach up or a steeper approach up after which coming again down the alternative solution to make for a little bit of a loop. There are indicators alongside the best way so you may determine which approach you’re going to go.
You ought to be aware that it may be snowy alongside the path properly into April and May so getting over the rocks could be slippery, particularly while you’re making an attempt to get to the highest.
This is a 7.4 KM hike and can have you making an elevation achieve of 603 meters. It is taken into account a straightforward hike. You’ll get views of Mount Temple in addition to Lake Louise.
To get to the Saddleback Pass Hike you’ll wish to get off the TransCanada Highway on the exit for Lake Louise village after which drive on to Chateau Lake Louise and park in their extraordinarily busy car parking zone. You can entry the path from right here, simply be sure to be careful for the indicators to get on the precise path as there are numerous hikes you may entry from right here.
Elevation Gain: 603 Meters
Duration: 3-4 Hours
Length: 7.4 KM
11. Larch Valley Trail / Sentinel Pass
Although all of Banff National Park looks like a distant and rugged a part of Alberta, in the event you actually wish to get a style of a backcountry path then the Larch Valley Trail is it.
This path is without doubt one of the finest Banff hikes for magnificent views of the Canadian Rockies from Banff National Park. At first, you can be going by means of dense larch forest however as you get greater up you’ll get views of Moraine Lake after which additional up a view of these Rocky Mountains.
The path brings you to Sentinel Pass the place you get views of Paradise Valley. Hiking into Paradise Valley is a visit by itself; the path ascends 3750 ft. So proceed in your approach with the Larch Valley Trail and save that for one more day.
One of essentially the most beautiful views you’ll see is in the event you go on this path in the autumn as larch bushes do look rather a lot like pine bushes, however they really change shade in the autumn. So you’ll see Christmas bushes which are doused in yellow in September, October, and November.
Although it may be tempting to go off-trail in some components, follow the designated trails as it’s harmful for you and for the wildlife in the event you don’t. This is an 11 KM hike with an elevation achieve of 792 meters. It is taken into account a troublesome hike so that you’ll want your mountaineering footwear and poles.
You can get to the path from the Moraine Lake car parking zone however as of Summer 2023, you may solely entry Moraine Lake by way of the shuttle service from the Lake Louise Area, Roam Transit, or different business transportation. This will value $8, seniors $4, and youngsters aged six and underneath are free. Parking on the Lake Louise Lodge is beneficial or there are additionally shuttles out there from the Lake Louise space.
No non-public autos are allowed on the street to Moraine Lake or the Parking Lot except you have got a disabled tag.
Elevation Gain: 792 Meters
Duration: 3-6 Hours
Length: 11 KM
12. Moraine Lake Shoreline Hike
You’ll truly be mountaineering on the Rockpile and Lakeshore Trail while you do the Moraine Lake Shoreline Hike. This hike is for everybody in the household and could be accomplished in underneath two hours.
You’ll be doing a 3 KM trek that’s flat across the lake. There is the famed Rock Pile after all you could select to hike over, however for a flatter family-friendly hike, you may simply go round it.
Along the best way, you’ll see views of Fay Glacier and the Ten Peaks. The Ten Peaks Valley provides you a shot of ten towering mountain peaks side-by-side, together with Mount Tuzo, Mount Bowlen, and Wenkchemna Peak. This is the well-known “Twenty Dollar View” as this viewpoint was featured on the outdated Canadian twenty-dollar invoice. One of the perfect views in the world in our opinion 🙂 You’ll find yourself near a flowing and peaceable stream that’s the good place for a storybook picnic.
You may even hire a canoe ($130 CAD/canoe/hour) and benefit from the surroundings from the center of the lake. In winter (be aware that the street to Moraine lake is closed to site visitors throughout the winter)and even throughout the spring and fall the water ranges do get excessive so the pathway can get overfilled with water so make sure you’re carrying waterproof footwear.
There is nothing like paddling whereas having fun with the great thing about the encircling mountain peaks.
Please pay attention to the entry limitations and guidelines above as they’ve modified as of Summer 2023.
Elevation Gain: 136 Meters
Duration: 1 Hour
Length: 3 KM
13. Bow Glacier Falls
This is a comparatively straightforward hike for all ages. The Bow Glacier falls hike begins at Num-Ti-Jah lodge and runs alongside the gorgeous Bow Lake, by means of a gorge, and at last onto a scenic waterfall cascading down a rugged cliff.
Most of the path alongside the beautiful Bow lake is flat with a bit of uphill climb in direction of the top. The hike is properly price it only for the spectacular views of the gorgeous blue waters. The waterfall on the finish of the hike can also be fairly spectacular and an incredible reward for considerably little effort.
The hike solely takes a few hours which makes it an incredible cease alongside the Icefields Parkway. We be sure to cease right here each time we go to.
Elevation Gain: 270 Meters
Duration: 2-3 Hours
Length: 8.7 KM
14. Sunshine Meadows
Sunshine Meadows is without doubt one of the hottest Banff mountaineering trails with picturesque views of the Canadian Rockies, pristine views of the alpine lakes, blooming wildflowers, and alpine meadows.
It’s simply probably the most stunning mountaineering trails in the world and looks like you might be strolling in a storybook or film.
The trailhead begins at Sunshine village resort on a rugged street that takes you thru an instantaneous elevation achieve that gives an incredible view of the encircling areas. You will observe the shoreline of Grizzly and Larix lakes, cross a larch forest, and cease at Simpson Viewpoint for an unbelievable view over Kootenay National Park. To get to the trailhead you may take a 20-minute gondola experience from Sunshine Village that gives scenic mountain views earlier than you begin your hike or take a shuttle bus.
Elevation Gain: 320 Meters
Duration: 2-4 Hours
Length: 8 KM
15. Healy Pass
Healy Pass is one other hike that begins from Sunshine Village and autumn is the perfect time to go to the Healy cross as you get to expertise the larch bushes in full bloom with stunning golden-yellow colours.
The cross isn’t thought-about a straightforward hike because it’s lengthy and difficult with a gradual manageable incline. However, you’re rewarded with spectacular views of the close by mountains, lush larch forests, and, blooming wildflowers. The fundamental downfall of this hike is that you’re in the forest for mainly the primary 8 km so there may be not an excessive amount of to see. But when you emerge you might be handled to breathtaking views of Egypt Lake and the encircling peaks.
As we stated above, the hike begins on a dust street after which onto a dense forest filled with fir, spruce, and larch bushes with occasional views of the mountain. This can also be one of many solely Banff hikes on this record that offer you an excellent view of Mount Assiniboine, the very best peak in the park.
Elevation Gain: 900 Meters
Duration: 6-8 Hours
Length: 20.9 KM
16. Sawback Backpacking Trail
If you wish to backpack and spend a couple of nights underneath the celebrities, the Sawback Trail is ideal. It is a 71.3 KM path and comes with an elevation achieve of 2122 meters. You might want to ebook your journey on the Parks Canada web site to order your tenting spots.
This path can have you taking part in in every kind of nature from cruising by means of alpine meadows to scrambling over boulders and negotiating tight switchbacks. You’ll even be crossing main wildlife corridors so be ready for that and preserve your bear spray helpful.
You can get to the path by way of one among two trailheads. One of the trailheads you may entry by getting off the TransCanada Highway on the Lake Louise Village exit and driving in direction of Lake Louise Ski Resort. You’ll want to show proper onto Fish Creek Road going in direction of Skoki Lodge and the trailhead is situated on the Fish Creek Parking Lot.
The different trailhead is situated on the Mt. Norquay Parking Lot on Mt. Norquay Road which is a brief drive from the city of Banff. Since this can be a point-to-point path, you’ll have to park at one finish and take a shuttle to get to the opposite finish.
Elevation Gain: 2122 Meters
Duration: 3-6 Days
Length: 71.3 KM
Check out extra wonderful issues to do in Canada
What is the perfect hike in Banff?
That is a really troublesome query to reply as Canada’s oldest nationwide park has wonderful hikes throughout. One of the perfect may very well be the Tunnel Mountain hike because it provides you an expansive view of the entire park. For one thing that’s historic, rugged, and heart-warming, it’s best to head out on the Lake Agnes Trail and go to the Lake Agnes Tea House.
How many mountaineering trails are in Banff National Park?
There are lots of of trails in the park however the established ones complete 160.
Is it secure to hike alone in Banff?
It is at all times higher to hike in teams, particularly in case of animal encounters. You also needs to at all times let somebody know the place you’re going earlier than you head out on the paths. If you occur to reach in Banff alone, you may at all times rent a information to take you on the paths.
How lengthy are the hikes in Banff?
The hikes in Banff can vary anyplace from 2 KM to virtually 100 KM. The shortest of hikes will take you lower than an hour however the lengthy hikes just like the 72 KM Sawback Backpacking Trail can take you 3-5 days relying in your tempo. Of course, there are glad mediums between the shortest and longest trails as there are many day hikes out there that vary from 10 to fifteen KM.
Tips for Banff National Park Hiking
Be ready for the climate: Banff can have sudden adjustments in climate, so it’s vital to return ready with applicable clothes and equipment. Plan forward: Before you go, analysis the path you intend to hike and be sure you have a map or GPS machine, in addition to sufficient water and meals. Stay on the designated path: To defend the pure atmosphere and keep away from getting misplaced, it’s vital to remain on the designated path and keep away from shortcuts. Be bear conscious: Keep a secure distance from bears and different wildlife, and carry bear spray if it’s out there. Respect the park’s guidelines and laws: Follow all posted guidelines and laws, together with these concerning tenting and fires. Leave no hint: Pack out all trash and depart the park as you discovered it, so future generations can get pleasure from it as properly. Get the precise info: Always verify the park web site or customer heart for essentially the most up-to-date info on path situations and closures, in addition to info on permits, campsite reservations, and bear exercise.
There is little question that Banff National Park has a few of the finest mountaineering in the world. If you might be on the lookout for pure magnificence, backcountry, or only a place to flee all of it then we all know that at the least one among these Banff Hikes will enchantment to you.
After numerous journeys to this a part of Canada, we are able to simply say that it doesn’t matter what your mountaineering expertise you can find a house you’ll keep in mind in Banff National Park.