With near 1000 miles of well-maintained trails, turquoise waters, alpine meadows, and plush forests, Banff Nationwide Park is without doubt one of the most lovely locations to hike in Canada.
We have now been to Banff Nationwide Park plenty of instances in each totally different season and contemplate it certainly one of our favourite locations in Canada it doesn’t matter what time of yr. However to actually absorb all that this park has to supply it’s important to get out and hike. From the better trails like Sulpher Mountain to extra strenuous hikes in Banff like Corey Move this information will enable you select that are the very best climbing trails in Banff so as to add to your subsequent go to.
Our Finest Banff Hikes
When placing this Banff climbing information collectively we wished to ensure so as to add hikes for all ranges of bodily health. Many of the ones listed below are doable with a median stage of health however some require extra stamina and expertise. We wished to offer all the small print mandatory so that you can select the hike that’s finest for you. The fantastic thing about climbing in Banff Nationwide Park is that lots of them are accessible inside a brief drive from the city of Banff or Lake Louise Village.
Whichever approach you resolve 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 Finest Banff hikes you gained’t need to miss. To go to Banff Nationwide Park you want a Parks Move and you should buy it right here.
Touring to Alberta? Learn extra: The 52 Finest Issues to do in Alberta, Canada – The Final Information
1. Tunnel Mountain Path
Though Tunnel Mountain has no tunnel, it does have placing views of the Banff space from its summit. The trailhead is situated near Banff metropolis heart and you’ll simply stroll to it. Whether or not you’re strolling to it or taking a automobile, you’ll need to get to St. Julien Highway, which is simply off Grizzly Avenue in Banff downtown. There’s a parking zone out there for these utilizing autos.
The path begins with properly graded switchbacks and it could possibly get slightly steep in locations so climbing 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 is usually an ideal hike for dawn or sundown because it doesn’t take too lengthy and the views are unimaginable.
Elevation Achieve: 266 Meters
Period: 1 + Hours
Size: 4.5 KM
2. Lake Agnes Path and Beehive Circuit (Little and Massive Beehive)
This hike is without doubt one of the prime issues to do in Banff and among the finest Banff hikes as effectively. The hike itself just isn’t too strenuous and is definitely 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 gorgeous 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 permit Mirror Lake keep to the precise for the very best views. I’m not going to lie, there’s one thing fairly particular about discovering your self in an old style teahouse whereas surrounded by the long-lasting 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 common and could be actually busy within the excessive season. It’s because it is without doubt one of the best Banff hikes that may be accomplished in beneath 2 hours. We advocate doing it in October, earlier than the snow to keep away from all of the crowds. Regardless, of once you go to although, it’s positively value it.
Elevation Achieve: 650 Meters
Period: 2-4 Hours
Size: 10.3 KM
3. Sulpher Mountain
Sulphur Mountain is without doubt one of the hottest hikes in Banff Nationwide Park. Not solely as a result of it has spectacular views and is near the city Middle of Banff but in addition as a result of you may take a Gondola up or down should you like. In case you resolve 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 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 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 without doubt one of the hottest issues to do. Which means in the summertime will probably be extremely busy. However we expect the views are value it particularly should you staying in Banff.
Elevation Achieve: 791 Meters
Period: 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’s plenty of journey and enjoyable available on this hike, however ensure you’re sporting the precise footwear and clothes to have the ability to expertise it in consolation.
You must positively climb as much as the ridge above Helen Lake by way of Dolomite Move should 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 superb various to Moraine Lake and Lake Louise if these hikes are too busy.
Elevation Achieve: 755 Meters
Period: 5-6 Hours
Size: 16.7 KM
5. Bourgeau Lake Path
It’s thought of a reasonable 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 may get pleasure from it once you get there. You may additionally be joined by chipmunks, squirrels, and pikas should 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 gorgeous. Get pleasure from 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 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 value it. If you’re 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 might make it a full-day hike so be sure to organize accordingly.
You may 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 parking zone and there are restroom services.
Elevation Achieve: 732 Meters
Period: 4-5 Hours
Size: 14.8 KM
6. Lake Louise Plain of the Six Glaciers Path
This is without doubt one of the most excellent steadily elevated trails within the nationwide park that enables 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. You must observe this path can get a bit muddy as you’re alongside the water plenty of the time so put on acceptable footwear.
You may also convey your canine alongside this path so that you and your four-legged good friend can benefit from the greenery and mountain flowers alongside your stroll. The Plain of the Six Glaciers Teahouse is a beautiful place to cease and take within the nature that surrounds you whereas having fun with some tea and treats.
Word: you can too get to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea Home by climbing from Massive Beehive all the way down to the teahouse. The downhill hike is fairly simple from Massive Beehive.
This can be a 13.8 KM round-trip hike that begins across the Lake Louise shoreline. To get to the path you will have to go to the Chateau Lake Louise parking zone. Do observe that this explicit parking space fills up quick because it leads guests to many trails in addition to the Chateau.
Elevation Achieve: 587 Meters
Period: 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 aspect of it. Taking a look at Cascade Mountain from afar paints an intimidating image and the considered climbing it appears unattainable.
It’s positively a troublesome and tough climb, and that’s why climbing to the Cascade Amphitheatre is an effective various to get near the mountain with out having to summit it.
You’ll be climbing via the dense forest at the start which isn’t all that attention-grabbing, however when you get nearer to the amphitheater the bushes begin opening up and the sky seems. And also you really do really feel such as you’re in an amphitheater due to the looming mountain peaks surrounding you.
Earlier than you get to the attractive meadow of the amphitheater be ready for all kinds of wildlife sightings. There have been reviews of bears and elk and even cougars within the space.
This can be a 13 KM hike with an elevation change of 3000 ft and is taken into account a reasonable hike. You may get to the Cascade Amphitheatre Snowshoe Path from the Mt. Norquay ski space. From the parking zone, you’re going to go in direction of the Spirit chairlift which is able to get you onto the path.
Elevation Achieve: 914 Meters
Period: 4-5 Hours
Size: 13 KM
8. Johnston Canyon Hike off Bow Valley Parkway
Probably the most common 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 once 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).
We have now accomplished this hike in each the winter and the summer season and really beloved it extra within the winter. The explanations for this are that there are far fewer folks, the waterfalls are frozen, which makes for a distinct viewing expertise, and we bought to see ice climbers on plenty of the falls. In case you do the hike within the winter be sure to seize some Ice Cleats from city as the paths have been fairly icy.
If you’re there in the summertime it’s nonetheless very spectacular. Be certain to climb as much as the higher falls for nice 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 may take the Johnston Valley shuttle to get there from the city of Banff.
Elevation Achieve: 608 Meters
Period: 2-5 Hours
Size: 11.7 KM return together with Ink Pots
9. Cory Move and Edith Move Path
If you wish to problem your self however restrict that problem to a day hike, the Cory Move and Edith Move Path is without doubt 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, nonetheless, 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 convey alongside your bear spray. In truth, you ought to be bringing your bear spray alongside no matter what a part of the Canadian Rockies you’re climbing.
Total it’s a troublesome hike, however actually provides you a beautiful style of the true rugged nature of the park. The Cory Move 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 achieve of 1168 meters.
Elevation Achieve: 1168 Meters
Period: 5-7 Hours
Size: 13 KM
10. Saddleback Move Path
For a enjoyable hike that’s not going to go away you breathless and scrambling over rocks, you’ll need to try the Saddleback Move Path.
In contrast to plenty of different experiences in Banff Nationwide Park, this hike goes to cover plenty of the views as you hike via dense forests. However that’s okay, you’ll breathe within the scrumptious recent 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 once you get to the precise saddle and end up flanked by Saddle Mountain and Mount Fairview. You may have the choice of taking the straightforward approach up or a steeper approach up after which coming again down the other approach to make for a little bit of a loop. There are indicators alongside the way in which so you may resolve which approach you’re going to go.
You must observe that it may be snowy alongside the path effectively into April and Might so getting over the rocks could be slippery, particularly once you’re attempting to get to the highest.
This can be a 7.4 KM hike and may have you making an elevation achieve 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 Move Hike you’ll need 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 parking zone. You’ll be able to 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 Achieve: 603 Meters
Period: 3-4 Hours
Size: 7.4 KM
11. Larch Valley Path / Sentinel Move
Though all of Banff Nationwide Park looks like a distant and rugged a part of Alberta, should you actually need to get a style of a backcountry path then the Larch Valley Path is it.
This path is without doubt one of the finest Banff hikes for magnificent views of the Canadian Rockies from Banff Nationwide Park. At first, you can be going via 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 Move the place you get views of Paradise Valley. Mountaineering into Paradise Valley is a visit by itself; the path ascends 3750 ft. So proceed in your approach with the Larch Valley Path and save that for an additional day.
Probably the most gorgeous views you’ll see is should you go on this path within the fall as larch bushes do look so much like pine bushes, however they really change shade within the fall. So that you’ll see Christmas bushes which might be doused in yellow in September, October, and November.
Though it may be tempting to go off-trail in some components, stick with the designated trails as it’s harmful for you and for the wildlife should you don’t. That is an 11 KM hike with an elevation achieve of 792 meters. It’s thought of a troublesome hike so that you’ll want your climbing footwear and poles.
You may get to the path from the Moraine Lake parking zone however as of Summer time 2023, you may solely entry Moraine Lake by way of the shuttle service from the Lake Louise Space, Roam Transit, or different industrial transportation. This can price $8, seniors $4, and children aged six and beneath are free. Parking on the Lake Louise Lodge is really useful or there are additionally shuttles out there from the Lake Louise space.
No personal autos are allowed on the highway to Moraine Lake or the Parking Lot until you have got a disabled tag.
Elevation Achieve: 792 Meters
Period: 3-6 Hours
Size: 11 KM
12. Moraine Lake Shoreline Hike
You’ll really be climbing on the Rockpile and Lakeshore Path once you do the Moraine Lake Shoreline Hike. This hike is for everybody within the household and could be accomplished in beneath two hours.
You’ll be doing a 3 KM trek that’s flat across the lake. There’s the famed Rock Pile in fact that you may select to hike over, however for a flatter family-friendly hike, you may 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. Among the best views on the earth 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 (observe that the highway 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 sporting water resistant footwear.
There’s nothing like paddling whereas having fun with the fantastic thing about the encircling mountain peaks.
Please pay attention to the entry limitations and guidelines above as they’ve modified as of Summer time 2023.
Elevation Achieve: 136 Meters
Period: 1 Hour
Size: 3 KM
13. Bow Glacier Falls
This can be a comparatively simple hike for all ages. The Bow Glacier falls hike begins at Num-Ti-Jah lodge and runs alongside the attractive Bow Lake, via a gorge, and eventually onto a scenic waterfall cascading down a rugged cliff.
Many of the path alongside the gorgeous Bow lake is flat with slightly uphill climb in direction of the top. The hike is effectively value it only for the spectacular views of the attractive blue waters. The waterfall on the finish of the hike can also be fairly spectacular and an important reward for considerably little effort.
The hike solely takes a few hours which makes it an important cease alongside the Icefields Parkway. We be sure to cease right here each time we go to.
Elevation Achieve: 270 Meters
Period: 2-3 Hours
Size: 8.7 KM
14. Sunshine Meadows
Sunshine Meadows is without doubt one of the hottest Banff climbing 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 vital lovely climbing trails on the earth and appears like you’re strolling in a storybook or film.
The trailhead begins at Sunshine village resort on a rugged highway that takes you thru an instantaneous elevation achieve that gives an important view of the encircling areas. You’ll comply with 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 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 Achieve: 320 Meters
Period: 2-4 Hours
Size: 8 KM
15. Healy Move
Healy Move is one other hike that begins from Sunshine Village and autumn is the very 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 just isn’t 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 primary 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 dust highway after which onto a dense forest filled with fir, spruce, and larch bushes with occasional views of the mountain. That is additionally one of many solely Banff hikes on this record that offer you a very good view of Mount Assiniboine, the best peak within the park.
Elevation Achieve: 900 Meters
Period: 6-8 Hours
Size: 20.9 KM
16. Sawback Backpacking Path
If you wish to backpack and spend just a few nights beneath the celebs, the Sawback Path is ideal. It’s a 71.3 KM path and comes with an elevation achieve of 2122 meters. You will have to e-book your journey on the Parks Canada web site to order your tenting spots.
This path may have you taking part in in all types 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 maintain your bear spray useful.
You may get to the path by way of certainly one of two trailheads. One of many trailheads you may entry by getting off the TransCanada Freeway on the Lake Louise Village exit and driving in direction of Lake Louise Ski Resort. You’ll want to show proper onto Fish Creek Highway going in 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 Achieve: 2122 Meters
Period: 3-6 Days
Size: 71.3 KM
Try extra superb issues to do in Canada
What’s the finest hike in Banff?
That could be a very troublesome query to reply as Canada’s oldest nationwide park has superb hikes throughout. Among the best 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 is best to head out on the Lake Agnes Path and go to the Lake Agnes Tea Home.
What number of climbing trails are in Banff Nationwide Park?
There are lots of of trails within the park however the established ones whole 160.
Is it secure to hike alone in Banff?
It’s at all times higher to hike in teams, particularly in case of animal encounters. You must also at all times let somebody know the place you’re going earlier than you head out on the paths. In case 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 nearly 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.
Suggestions for Banff Nationwide Park Mountaineering
Be ready for the climate: Banff can have sudden modifications in climate, so it’s necessary to return ready with acceptable clothes and equipment. Plan forward: Earlier than you go, analysis the path you propose to hike and ensure you have a map or GPS machine, in addition to sufficient water and meals. Keep on the designated path: To guard the pure surroundings and keep away from getting misplaced, it’s necessary to remain on the designated path and keep away from shortcuts. Be bear conscious: Maintain a secure distance from bears and different wildlife, and carry bear spray if it’s out there. Respect the park’s guidelines and laws: Comply with all posted guidelines and laws, together with these relating to tenting and fires. Depart 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 precise info: All the time test the park web site or customer heart for probably the most up-to-date info on path circumstances and closures, in addition to info on permits, campsite reservations, and bear exercise.
There isn’t a doubt that Banff Nationwide Park has a number of the finest climbing on the earth. If you’re on the lookout for pure magnificence, backcountry, or only a place to flee all of it then we all know that no less than certainly one of these Banff Hikes will attraction to you.
After numerous journeys to this a part of Canada, we will simply say that it doesn’t matter what your climbing expertise you will see a house you’ll bear in mind in Banff Nationwide Park.