With near 1000 miles of well-maintained trails, turquoise waters, alpine meadows, and plush forests, Banff Nationwide Park is likely one of the most lovely locations to hike in Canada.
Now we have been to Banff Nationwide Park a lot 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. However to essentially absorb 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 Cross this information will enable you to select that are one of the best mountaineering trails in Banff so as to add to your subsequent go to.
Our Finest Banff Hikes
When placing this Banff mountaineering information collectively we needed to ensure so as to add hikes for all ranges of bodily health. Many of the ones listed below are doable with a mean degree of health however some require extra stamina and expertise. We needed to supply all the main points mandatory so that you can select the hike that’s finest for you. The fantastic thing about mountaineering in Banff Nationwide Park is that a lot of them are accessible inside a brief drive from the city of Banff or Lake Louise Village.
Whichever method 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 inform you concerning the 16 Finest Banff hikes you received’t wish to miss. To go to Banff Nationwide Park you want a Parks Cross and you can purchase it here.
Touring to Alberta? Learn extra: The 52 Best Things to do in Alberta, Canada – The Ultimate Guide
1. Tunnel Mountain Path
Though 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 may simply stroll to it. Whether or not you’re strolling to it or taking a automobile, you’ll wish to get to St. Julien Highway, which is simply off Grizzly Road in Banff downtown. There’s a car parking zone out there for these utilizing autos.
The path begins with properly graded switchbacks and it may get a little bit steep in locations so mountaineering boots are a good suggestion. When you get nearer to the highest, you get a gentle climb. You’ll see views of Vermillion Lakes, the city of Banff, the Banff Golf Course, and the imposing Mount Rundle.
Regardless of the steep sections, the Tunnel Mountain path hike is taken into account simple and is feasible to do with the entire household. It’s also an ideal hike for dawn or sundown because it doesn’t take too lengthy and the views are unimaginable.
Elevation Acquire: 266 Meters
Length: 1 + Hours
Size: 4.5 KM
2. Lake Agnes Path and Beehive Circuit (Little and Massive Beehive)
This hike is likely one of the prime issues to do in Banff and among the best Banff hikes as effectively. The hike itself shouldn’t be too strenuous and is well accessible from the small city of Lake Louise. The Lake Agnes Path begins out on a paved path that takes you alongside the north shore of Lake Lousise with beautiful views of the Victoria Glacier. You’ll 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 referred to as the Massive Beehive.
As you allow Mirror Lake keep to the proper for one of the best 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 enduring Rocky Mountains, turquoise blue lakes and bears, and deer besides. Lake Agnes Tea Home has been serving tea since 1905 and is the right place to seize a snack earlier than persevering with on to Little Beehive and Massive Beehive the place the views are much more spectacular.
The Lake Agnes Tea Home itself was constructed by Canadian Pacific Railway in 1901 as a spot the place hikers might cease and relaxation. In 1905 it began serving tea and hasn’t stopped since.
This hike is extraordinarily standard and could be actually busy within the excessive season. It is because it is likely one of the best Banff hikes that may be accomplished in below 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 Acquire: 650 Meters
Length: 2-4 Hours
Size: 10.3 KM
3. Sulpher Mountain
Sulphur Mountain is likely one of the hottest hikes in Banff Nationwide Park. Not solely as a result of it has spectacular views and is near the city Heart of Banff but additionally as a result of you’ll be able to take a Gondola up or down in case you like. When you determine to hike up (or down) you’ll be handled to panoramic views of the encircling mountains and valleys.
The hike up is taken into account strenuous because the elevation acquire comes shortly via a sequence of switchbacks which ends on the prime of the gondola for Sulphur Mountain. The trailhead is situated on the Higher Sizzling 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.
As a result of that is so near the city of Banff it is likely one of the hottest issues to do. Meaning in the summertime it will likely be extremely busy. However we expect the views are price it particularly in case you staying in Banff.
Elevation Acquire: 791 Meters
Length: 2-4 Hours
Size: 10.1 KM
4. Helen Lake Path
The Helen Lake Path makes for an idyllic hike the place you’ll be crossing rivers and streams and going via wildflower meadows and fir forests. There may be loads of journey and enjoyable available on this hike, however be sure you’re carrying the proper footwear and clothes to have the ability to expertise it in consolation.
It’s best to undoubtedly climb as much as the ridge above Helen Lake by way of Dolomite Cross in case you can, from there you get beautiful views of the less-known and due to this fact undisturbed and purely blue Lake Katherine cupped within the mountain peaks.
The Helen Lake Path hike is situated off the Icefields Parkway on the Crowfoot Glacier Viewpoint and is a good different to Moraine Lake and Lake Louise if these hikes are too busy.
Elevation Acquire: 755 Meters
Length: 5-6 Hours
Size: 16.7 KM
5. Bourgeau Lake Path
It’s thought of a average path that may take you thru forests of lodgepole pine and spruce all the way in which 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’ll be able to get pleasure from it while you get there. You may additionally be joined by chipmunks, squirrels, and pikas in case you’re fortunate.
The start 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. Take pleasure in these views as a result of after that you just’re going to be entering into steep switchbacks, some poles might be extremely useful.
After all of the huffing and puffing you’re going to succeed in the blue-green brilliance of Bourgeau Lake and have views of Sunshine Meadows and Rock Isle Lake. It’s the right place to cease, have a snack, and nod to your self that the huffing and puffing have been price it. In case you are feeling adventurous you can too mix this with a summit bid to Mount Bourgeau which is a 2,931-metre (9,616 ft) tall peak. This is able to make it a full-day hike so be certain to organize accordingly.
You will get to the path by taking the exit for Sunshine Village Ski Resort off of the Trans Canada Freeway. You’ll be able to park within the car parking zone and there are restroom services.
Elevation Acquire: 732 Meters
Length: 4-5 Hours
Size: 14.8 KM
6. Lake Louise Plain of the Six Glaciers Path
This is likely one of the most excellent step by step elevated trails within the nationwide park that permits for a leisurely hike. You get beautiful views of Lake Louise alongside the way in which in addition to Mount Victoria and the Victoria Glacier. It’s best to word this path can get a bit muddy as you’re alongside the water loads of the time so put on applicable footwear.
You too can deliver 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 within the nature that surrounds you whereas having fun with some tea and treats.
Notice: you can too get to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea Home by mountaineering from Massive Beehive right down to the teahouse. The downhill hike is fairly simple from Massive Beehive.
It is a 13.8 KM round-trip hike that begins across the Lake Louise shoreline. To get to the path you’ll need to go to the Chateau Lake Louise car parking zone. Do word that this explicit parking space fills up quick because it leads guests to many trails in addition to the Chateau.
Elevation Acquire: 587 Meters
Length: 4-5 Hours
Size: 13.8 KM spherical journey
7. Cascade Amphitheatre Path
Cascade Mountain is called as such because of the waterfall that cascades down one facet of it. Cascade Mountain from afar paints an intimidating image and the considered climbing it appears not possible.
It’s undoubtedly a tough and tough climb, and that’s why mountaineering to the Cascade Amphitheatre is an effective different to get near the mountain with out having to summit it.
You’ll be mountaineering via the dense forest in the beginning which isn’t all that fascinating, however when you get nearer to the amphitheater the bushes begin opening up and the sky seems. And also you truly do really feel such as you’re in an amphitheater due to the looming mountain peaks surrounding you.
Earlier than you get to the gorgeous meadow of the amphitheater be ready for all kinds of wildlife sightings. There have been experiences of bears and elk and even cougars within the space.
It is a 13 KM hike with an elevation change of 3000 ft and is taken into account a average hike. You will get to the Cascade Amphitheatre Snowshoe Path from the Mt. Norquay ski space. From the car parking zone, you’re going to move in the direction of the Spirit chairlift which can get you onto the path.
Elevation Acquire: 914 Meters
Length: 4-5 Hours
Size: 13 KM
8. Johnston Canyon Hike off Bow Valley Parkway
Probably the most standard Banff Hikes, the Johnston Canyon Path will take you right into a dramatic journey film type 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 grasp over the canyon (not for the faint of coronary heart).
Now we have executed this hike in each the winter and the summer season and truly beloved it extra within the winter. The explanations for this are that there are far fewer individuals, the waterfalls are frozen, which makes for a special viewing expertise, and we acquired to see ice climbers on a lot of the falls. When you do the hike within the winter be certain to seize some Ice Cleats from city as the paths have been fairly icy.
In case you are there in the summertime it’s nonetheless very spectacular. Be sure 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’ll be able to 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’ll be able to park there and entry the trailhead close to the lodge. Alternatively, you’ll be able to take the Johnston Valley shuttle to get there from the city of Banff.
Elevation Acquire: 608 Meters
Length: 2-5 Hours
Size: 11.7 KM return together with Ink Pots
9. Cory Cross and Edith Cross Path
If you wish to problem your self however restrict that problem to a day hike, the Cory Cross and Edith Cross Path is likely one of the finest trails in Banff Nationwide Park for you. Proper off the highest, you’re going to expertise some main inclines and also you’re going to should 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 within the space so deliver 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.
General it’s a tough hike, however actually provides you an exquisite style of the true rugged nature of the park. The Cory Cross trailhead is on the Hearth Picnic Space which is situated off 1A Bow Valley Parkway. It’s a 13 KM hike and one of many highest elevation trails within the park with a acquire of 1168 meters.
Elevation Acquire: 1168 Meters
Length: 5-7 Hours
Size: 13 KM
10. Saddleback Cross Path
For a enjoyable hike that’s not going to depart you breathless and scrambling over rocks, you’ll wish to take a look at the Saddleback Cross Path.
In contrast to loads of different experiences in Banff Nationwide Park, this hike goes to cover loads of the views as you hike via dense forests. However that’s okay, you’ll breathe within the scrumptious contemporary air and get an opportunity to see cute wildlife like ptarmigans and marmots alongside the way in which.
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’ve got the choice of taking the simple method up or a steeper method up after which coming again down the alternative method to make for a little bit of a loop. There are indicators alongside the way in which so you’ll be able to determine which method you’re going to go.
It’s best to word that it may be snowy alongside the path effectively into April and Might so getting over the rocks could be slippery, particularly while you’re attempting to get to the highest.
It is a 7.4 KM hike and could have you making an elevation acquire of 603 meters. It’s thought of a straightforward hike. You’ll get views of Mount Temple in addition to Lake Louise.
To get to the Saddleback Cross Hike you’ll wish to get off the TransCanada Freeway on the exit for Lake Louise village after which drive on to Chateau Lake Louise and park of their extraordinarily busy car parking zone. You’ll be able to entry the path from right here, simply be certain to be careful for the indicators to get on the proper path as there are lots of hikes you’ll be able to entry from right here.
Elevation Acquire: 603 Meters
Length: 3-4 Hours
Size: 7.4 KM
11. Larch Valley Path / Sentinel Cross
Though all of Banff Nationwide Park looks like a distant and rugged a part of Alberta, in case you actually wish to get a style of a backcountry path then the Larch Valley Path is it.
This path is likely one of the finest Banff hikes for magnificent views of the Canadian Rockies from Banff Nationwide Park. At first, you’ll be going via dense larch forest however as you get increased up you’ll get views of Moraine Lake after which additional up a view of these Rocky Mountains.
The path brings you to Sentinel Cross the place you get views of Paradise Valley. Climbing into Paradise Valley is a visit by itself; the path ascends 3750 ft. So proceed in your method with the Larch Valley Path and save that for one more day.
Probably the most beautiful views you’ll see is in case you go on this path within the fall as larch bushes do look quite a bit like pine bushes, however they really change shade within the fall. So that you’ll see Christmas bushes which are doused in yellow in September, October, and November.
Though it may be tempting to go off-trail in some elements, follow the designated trails as it’s harmful for you and for the wildlife in case you don’t. That is an 11 KM hike with an elevation acquire of 792 meters. It’s thought of a tough hike so that you’ll want your mountaineering footwear and poles.
You will get to the path from the Moraine Lake car parking zone however as of Summer season 2023, you’ll be able to solely entry Moraine Lake by way of the shuttle service from the Lake Louise Space, Roam Transit, or different business transportation. This can price $8, seniors $4, and children aged six and below are free. Parking on the Lake Louise Lodge is advisable 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 until you might have a disabled tag.
Elevation Acquire: 792 Meters
Length: 3-6 Hours
Size: 11 KM
12. Moraine Lake Shoreline Hike
You’ll truly be mountaineering on the Rockpile and Lakeshore Path while you do the Moraine Lake Shoreline Hike. This hike is for everybody within the household and could be executed in below two hours.
You’ll be doing a 3 KM trek that’s flat across the lake. There may be the famed Rock Pile in fact that you could select to hike over, however for a flatter family-friendly hike, you’ll be able to simply go round it.
Alongside the way in which, 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. That is the well-known “Twenty Greenback View” as this viewpoint was featured on the previous Canadian twenty-dollar invoice. The most effective views on this planet in our opinion 🙂 You’ll find yourself near a flowing and peaceable stream that’s the excellent place for a storybook picnic.
You’ll be able to even lease a canoe ($130 CAD/canoe/hour) and benefit from the surroundings from the center of the lake. In winter (word that the street to Moraine lake is closed to 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 may be nothing like paddling whereas having fun with the great thing about the encircling mountain peaks.
Please be aware of the entry limitations and guidelines above as they’ve modified as of Summer season 2023.
Elevation Acquire: 136 Meters
Length: 1 Hour
Size: 3 KM
13. Bow Glacier Falls
It is a comparatively simple hike for all ages. The Bow Glacier falls hike begins at Num-Ti-Jah lodge and runs alongside the gorgeous Bow Lake, via a gorge, and eventually onto a scenic waterfall cascading down a rugged cliff.
Many of the path alongside the beautiful Bow lake is flat with a little bit uphill climb in the direction of the tip. The hike is effectively 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 ideal reward for considerably little effort.
The hike solely takes a few hours which makes it an ideal cease alongside the Icefields Parkway. We be certain to cease right here each time we go to.
Elevation Acquire: 270 Meters
Length: 2-3 Hours
Size: 8.7 KM
14. Sunshine Meadows
Sunshine Meadows is likely 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 one of the lovely mountaineering trails on this planet and looks like you’re strolling in a storybook or film.
The trailhead begins at Sunshine village resort on a rugged street that takes you thru a direct elevation acquire that gives an ideal view of the encircling areas. You’ll observe the shoreline of Grizzly and Larix lakes, cross a larch forest, and cease at Simpson Viewpoint for an unimaginable view over Kootenay Nationwide Park. To get to the trailhead you’ll be able to 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 Acquire: 320 Meters
Length: 2-4 Hours
Size: 8 KM
15. Healy Cross
Healy Cross is one other hike that begins from Sunshine Village and autumn is one of the best time to go to the Healy move as you get to expertise the larch bushes in full bloom with lovely golden-yellow colours.
The move shouldn’t be thought of a straightforward hike because it’s lengthy and difficult with a gentle manageable incline. Nevertheless, you’re rewarded with spectacular views of the close by mountains, lush larch forests, and, blooming wildflowers. The principle downfall of this hike is that you’re within the forest for mainly the primary 8 km so there’s not an excessive amount of to see. However when you emerge you’re handled to breathtaking views of Egypt Lake and the encircling peaks.
As we mentioned above, the hike begins on a mud street after which onto a dense forest stuffed with fir, spruce, and larch bushes with occasional views of the mountain. That is additionally one of many solely Banff hikes on this listing that provide you with view of Mount Assiniboine, the best peak within the park.
Elevation Acquire: 900 Meters
Length: 6-8 Hours
Size: 20.9 KM
16. Sawback Backpacking Path
If you wish to backpack and spend a couple of nights below the celebrities, the Sawback Path is ideal. It’s a 71.3 KM path and comes with an elevation acquire of 2122 meters. You will have to e-book your journey on the Parks Canada website to order your tenting spots.
This path could have you enjoying in every kind of nature from cruising via alpine meadows to scrambling over boulders and negotiating tight switchbacks. You’ll even be crossing main wildlife corridors so be ready for that and hold your bear spray useful.
You will get to the path by way of one among two trailheads. One of many trailheads you’ll be able to entry by getting off the TransCanada Freeway on the Lake Louise Village exit and driving in the direction of Lake Louise Ski Resort. You’ll want to show proper onto Fish Creek Highway going in the direction of Skoki Lodge and the trailhead is situated on the Fish Creek Parking Lot.
The opposite trailhead is situated on the Mt. Norquay Parking Lot on Mt. Norquay Highway which is a brief drive from the city of Banff. Since it is a point-to-point path, you’ll must park at one finish and take a shuttle to get to the opposite finish.
Elevation Acquire: 2122 Meters
Length: 3-6 Days
Size: 71.3 KM
Take a look at extra superb issues to do in Canada
What’s the finest hike in Banff?
That could be a very tough query to reply as Canada’s oldest nationwide park has superb hikes throughout. The most effective might 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, you need to head out on the Lake Agnes Path and go to the Lake Agnes Tea Home.
What number of mountaineering trails are in Banff Nationwide Park?
There are tons of of trails within the park however the established ones complete 160.
Is it protected to hike alone in Banff?
It’s 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. When you occur to reach in Banff alone, you’ll be able to 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 wherever 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 Path can take you 3-5 days relying in your tempo. In fact, there are completely happy mediums between the shortest and longest trails as there are many day hikes out there that vary from 10 to fifteen KM.
Ideas for Banff Nationwide Park Climbing
- Be ready for the climate: Banff can have sudden adjustments in climate, so it’s vital to come back ready with applicable clothes and kit.
- Plan forward: Earlier than 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.
- Keep on the designated path: To guard 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: Maintain a protected distance from bears and different wildlife, and carry bear spray if it’s out there.
- Respect the park’s guidelines and rules: Comply with all posted guidelines and rules, together with these relating to tenting and fires.
- Go away no hint: Pack out all trash and go away the park as you discovered it, so future generations can get pleasure from it as effectively.
- Get the proper info: At all times examine the park web site or customer heart for probably the most up-to-date info on path situations and closures, in addition to info on permits, campsite reservations, and bear exercise.
There isn’t any doubt that Banff Nationwide Park has a few of the finest mountaineering on this planet. In case you are searching for pure magnificence, backcountry, or only a place to flee all of it then we all know that a minimum of one among these Banff Hikes will attraction 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 will discover a house you’ll bear in mind in Banff Nationwide Park.