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The Final Information to the Finest BANFF Hikes [2023]


The whole lot it is advisable to know to find the very best Banff hikes in our final trekking information!

The Banff Nationwide Park may be essentially the most stunning place in all of Canada, and in the event you love getting open air as a lot as I do, then you definately’ll completely must have a learn of this information to the very best hikes in Banff!

I’ve to confess, the primary time I went to Canada I fell immediately in love. It was like nothing I had ever seen earlier than.

Mountains pierced the sky as snow glistened on prime whereas steep slopes of lush forests met with fields of wildflowers as waterfalls with an infinite provide of crystal clear water cascaded previous me.

Mountaineering in Canada is changing into more and more common, much more so in Banff Nationwide Park, as it’s changing into the ‘go to’ place for these looking for a heavy dose of nature.

My complete information to the very best hikes in Banff consists of these epic trails:

  • Comfort Lakes Path
  • Bow Falls Path
  • Brewster Glacier Skywalk
  • Lake Agnes Tea Home Path
  • Karst Spring Mountaineering Path
  • Redearth Creek to Shadow Lake
  • Sunshine Meadows
  • Johnston Canyon
  • Wapta Icefield Hike
  • Parker Ridge Path
  • Tunnel Mountain Path
  • Sulphur Mountain Path
  • Stanley Glacier Path
  • Cascade Amphitheatre
  • Bourgeau Lake and Harvey Move
  • Helen Lake Path
  • Centennial Ridge Path
  • Cory Move and Mount Edith Circuit
  • Mount Assiniboine

Don’t miss our full checklist of the finest issues to do in Banff whilst you’re on the town.

Our information to the very best Banff hikes! Photograph Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Pictures.

The Finest Banff Hikes for Each Traveller

Why is Banff the place to go for climbing and trekking you might be asking?

Banff is actually like a slice of heaven on earth. That could be the easiest way to explain this place as lakes of turquoise water mirror good mountains upon their floor whereas trails endlessly take you from waterfall to waterfall by way of blankets of wildflowers.

When you like a factor referred to as ‘switchbacks’ then Banff is the place for you as they’re certain to check out your climbing talents.

I’ve put collectively a complete checklist of hikes in Banff, and hikes round Banff Nationwide Park, starting from a easy 2-hour stroll to the extra demanding full-day treks which may be discovered inside the park and its surrounds.

Hiking In Banff National Park Larch Valley
Photograph Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Pictures.

Finest Time to Go Mountaineering in Banff

It’s at all times good to go climbing in good situations resembling blue skies and a pleasant cool breeze, however the issue with that is that trails and huts typically change into severely overcrowded.

The excessive season runs from June to August when you’ll be able to count on an entire lot of sunshine and heat climate.

Shoulder season is the very best time to go climbing in Banff Nationwide Park as you will discover temperatures just a few levels beneath what you’d expertise throughout the excessive season.

As an added bonus lodging is barely cheaper and simpler to guide for many locations just like the city of Banff, when you are much less more likely to see hordes of individuals on trails within the nationwide park giving, you a bit extra peace.

For many who love the snow and colder situations, some hikes are open all yr spherical. The off-season begins in November and ends in April.

Mountaineering in Banff Nationwide Park is one thing that may be loved all yr spherical so it’s fully as much as you while you go or the way you need to get pleasure from your time on the paths of Banff.

Larches Lake Hikes Near Banff
Photograph Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka.

The Finest Day Hikes in Banff

There’s no scarcity of day hikes in Banff Nationwide Park, and you might actually spend years making an attempt to discover all of them.

Nevertheless, I’m going to take a guess and say you most likely don’t have years. So in that case let me slim down a few of the finest Banff day hikes for you.

These hikes are the very best methods to see the wonder and views surrounding a few of Banff’s most well-known sights, like Moraine Lake, the Bow Valley Parkway, Lake Agnes, Lake Louise, Helen Lake, Tunnel Mountain, and extra.

READ NEXT: When you’re right here, you’ll want to get pleasure from one of the vital superb highway journeys by driving the Icefields Parkway!

Comfort Lakes Path

Distance – 5.8 kilometres
Begin / End – Moraine Lake Parking Lot
Time – 2 hours
Issue – Simple

This climbing path from Moraine Lake is straightforward and delightful. A good simpler various is the Moraine Lakeshore Path, which simply curves round Moraine Lake. However for a little bit of elevation acquire and higher views over Moraine Lake and the mountains, the Comfort Lakes Path is a superb possibility.

From Moraine Lake, head to the well-known Moraine Lake Rockpile. From right here it’s a non-strenuous, 2.9 km hike. Winding by way of Outdated Development Forest, wetlands, mountain peaks, and glacial lakes, this path is scenic and appropriate for individuals of all ages and health ranges.

There isn’t any higher strategy to benefit from the iconic surroundings of Moraine Lake.

Bow Falls Path

  • Distance – 3 kilometres
  • Begin / End – Bow River Bridge
  • Time – 1 to 2 hours
  • Issue – Simple

Bow Falls Path is quickly changing into a preferred hike in Banff and that’s as a result of this place is simply unbelievable!

Most of Bow Falls Path is a straightforward stroll together with the calm, emerald Bow River with a backdrop of native pines and rocky peaks.

There are such a lot of photograph alternatives alongside this path; the stroll for some could take longer than the really useful 1 hour in case you are taking photographs alongside this beautiful Banff climbing path.

On the finish of the path, Bow Falls makes itself distinguished however don’t count on something too huge. Bow Falls is just 9 metres excessive however in winter, issues freeze over making it much more spectacular!

Hiking In Banff National Park Bow Falls
Photograph Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Pictures.

Brewster Glacier Skywalk

  • Distance – 500 metres
  • Begin / End – Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre
  • Time – 1 hour
  • Issue – Simple

This can be one of many hikes on this checklist that’ll get your legs shaking (in case you are petrified of heights) however don’t let that put you off, the views which may be seen from alongside the Brewster Glacier Skywalk are significantly unbelievable.

The platform places you proper over the Sunwapta Valley, which supplies life to beautiful lakes, forests of pines and a few of the most majestic mountains you will note in Canada.

In case you are pressed for time whereas in Alberta and need to catch a glimpse of what Alberta is all about, take this stroll.

This is without doubt one of the straightforward hikes in Banff, and is certain to present you a buzz whether or not it’s the sheer top or the view of the mountains you will see!

READ MORE: When you’re completed climbing, take a look at the official NOMADasaurus information on the right way to design the very best Banff itinerary!

Lake Agnes Tea Home Path

Distance – 10.3 kilometres
Begin / End – Lake Louise Parking Lot
Time – 2-4 hours
Issue – Simple/Average

Visiting Lake Louise alongside the Bow Valley Parkway from Banff is without doubt one of the finest issues to do within the space. After having fun with the lake, think about climbing as much as the Lake Agnes Tea Home for much more unbelievable views.

This can be a fairly busy hike, as Lake Louise is without doubt one of the most touristy spots in Banff Nationwide Park. However the views of Lake Agnes are value it.

Simply head up the Little Beehive Path behind Lake Louise for 7.6 km till you discover the tea home and Lake Agnes. The tea home is quickly closed, however the views over Lake Agnes and the forests are spectacular.

Karst Spring Mountaineering Path

  • Distance – 9.5 kilometres
  • Begin / End – Mount Shark trailhead
  • Time – 4 to five hours
  • Issue – Simple

That is simply one other a type of hikes the place mountains and luxurious forests dominate the Canadian panorama. It has typically been described as essentially the most scenic place in North America.

This is without doubt one of the straightforward hikes close to Banff you can attempt, however typically straightforward is an efficient factor.

Karst Spring Path is stuffed with goodies resembling wildflowers (Canada is stuffed with them) to infinite forest trails which result in Karst Spring which originates from Shark Mountain.

This hike is a should throughout the winter months as a result of magnificent ice sculptures that type on the perimeters of the path.

Best Banff Hikes Fenlands Trail
Photograph Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Pictures.

Redearth Creek to Shadow Lake

  • Distance – 14.5 kilometres
  • Begin / End – Redearth Creek carpark to Shadow Lake Lodge
  • Time – 3.5 to 4.5 hours
  • Issue – Simple

This isn’t one of the vital common hikes in Banff, which implies that you get an even bigger dose of nature all to your self!

The Redearth Creek to Shadow Lake is a formidable 14.5km slog by way of forest trails, the place glimpses of the three,311 metre Mount Ball peak out and in of the tree line as you get nearer and nearer to Shadow Lake.

This hike is superior as a result of you do not want to do all of it in at some point. As a substitute, you’ll be able to keep at a real Canadian log cabin referred to as Shadow Lake Lodge which is a collection of cabins surrounded by beautiful forests.

After dawn, make your means again the way in which you got here. Regardless of the shortage of individuals on this path, it might be thought-about the most effective day hikes in Banff Nationwide Park.

Sunshine Meadows

  • Distance – 8 kilometres return
  • Begin / End – Sunshine Village
  • Time – 2 hours
  • Issue – Simple

The Sunshine Meadows hike lives as much as its title, with fields of alpine wildflowers to Golden Larches reaching from the lakes proper to the alpine line in winter.

Need a straightforward day hike close to Banff? Sunshine Meadows is the one!

Sunshine Meadows is a hike you’ll simply need to take your time with. You can be mesmerised by Mount Assiniboine, which is a spire sort mountain reaching a staggering 3,618 metres.

It’s just about assured that this would be the most scenic hike you’ll do in Banff Nationwide Park.

Johnston Canyon

  • Distance – 5 kilometres return
  • Begin / End – Johnston Canyon parking zone
  • Time – 1.5 to 2 hours
  • Issue – Simple

This quick hike in Banff can be utilized as an info stroll to realize information of the realm. Or it may be used as an entry hike to a few of Banff’s hidden waterfalls which in winter are fairly common with ice climbers.

The Johnston Canyon hike winds its strategy to one of the vital photographed locations on this planet…you understand that huge cave with an enormous chunk of rock surrounded by cascading water?

Effectively in the event you don’t know what I’m speaking about then you will need to see this place for your self, it’s breathtaking!

Johnston Canyon is actually superb and is even higher throughout the off-peak season. When you might solely do one hike close to Banff this might be it!

Johnston Canyon Bow Valley Hikes Around Banff
Photograph Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Pictures.

Wapta Icefield Hike

  • Distance – 13 kilometres
  • Begin / End – Numtijah Lodge to Peyto Lake
  • Time – 3 days
  • Issue – Average

This is without doubt one of the few hikes in Banff that can let you really go and stand on an icefield. The vast majority of this trek consists of snow trails and ice, which makes it all of the extra enjoyable!

What makes this trek much more beautiful is the shock that you simply get in the direction of the midway mark.

As you ascend by way of beautiful forests you ultimately end up in an alpine zone fully surrounded by wonderful mountains.

On the prime of the path is Bow Hut sitting at an altitude of two,350 metres. You’ll be able to keep the night time right here in the event you plan to proceed in the direction of Peyto Hut.

From Bow Hut there are just a few quick facet treks you can take together with Polaris Peak which presents tremendous views of Canada’s best mountains.

When you determine to enterprise on to Peyto Glacier, you’re going to wish expertise with crampons and mountaineering tools.

When you’ve got mountaineering expertise, you’ll be able to proceed onto Peyto Glacier adopted by a difficult traverse leaving you at Peyto Lake.

Parker Ridge Path

  • Distance – 5 kilometres
  • Begin / End – Parker Ridge trailhead
  • Time – 2 hours
  • Issue – Simple to reasonable

The Parker Ridge Path, though not very lengthy and demanding, is a must-do hike in case you are within the northern areas of Banff Nationwide Park.

Why so? The Parker Ridge Path is stuffed with switchbacks (sharp turns within the observe) that are surrounded by patches of wildflowers typically left with outdated patches of ice scattered all through.

Banff hikes don’t get significantly better than the Parker Ridge Path.

As soon as you allow the forest, you enter the upper alpine zone and head in the direction of a ridgeline in a reasonably harsh surroundings.

The upper you climb, the chillier it could possibly get so at all times be ready for mountain climates as they will change shortly.

On the finish of the path, you get spectacular views of Saskatchewan Glacier, which is an enormous 9 kilometres in size that feeds into the North Saskatchewan River.

And in case you are fortunate sufficient, the point of view means that you can see Castleguard Mountain and an array of smaller peaks which is kind of a good looking spot to seize beautiful sundown and dawn photographs.

Positively convey your digital camera on this beautiful Banff hike.

Tunnel Mountain Path

  • Distance – 4.8 kilometres
  • Begin / End – St. Julien Street on the Banff Centre
  • Time – 1 to 2 hours
  • Issue – Average

Tunnel Mountain Path is a comparatively straightforward hike that can be the most effective climbing trails in Banff Nationwide Park. With just a few steep climbs and switchbacks, this small hike takes you to an epic view over the city of Banff whereas producing beautiful views of Mount Bourgeau.

In case you are pondering of getting a bit nearer or need to summit Mount Bourgeau, go for the hike that takes you to Harvey Move which is listed a bit additional down within the article.

Best Banff Hikes Cascade Mountain
Photograph Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka

Sulphur Mountain Path

  • Distance – 11 kilometres return
  • Begin / End – Banff Higher Hotsprings Parking Lot
  • Time – 4 hours
  • Issue – Average

Need some beautiful views of Bow Valley? This fantastic thing about a path takes you proper to essentially the most scenic spot. However first, you must tackle switchback after switchback because it weaves its means up the mountainside, by way of the forest, and throughout alpine sections to an altitude of two,451 metres.

Sulphur Mountain path is without doubt one of the finest hikes in Banff Nationwide Park that offers you beautiful views all yr spherical of The Bow Valley.

As soon as you might be on the prime, you’ll want to go to the Cosmic Ray Station which is a World Heritage Web site. Subsequent, full a brief stroll alongside a boardwalk that explains the significance of the mountain and the person behind the Cosmic Ray Station.

With regards to Banff walks which might be first rate and delightful, this one is a should.

Stanley Glacier Path

  • Distance – 10.5 kilometres
  • Begin / End – Stanley Glacier carpark
  • Time – 3 hours
  • Issue – Average

I couldn’t assist however embody this one when speaking about the place to hike in Banff!

This can be a beautiful 3-hour hike by way of pristine forests resulting in Excessive Mountain trails. The Stanley Glacier Path has since recovered from horrible wildfires which occurred each in 1993 and 2003.

One of many components resulting in wildfires in Canada is local weather change. The hotter and dryer our Nationwide Parks get, the upper the prospect of wildfires. There is a chance on this path to see how these forests get well from such pure disasters.

Mountaineering to Stanley Peak is difficult. The path is about 10.5 kilometres return, and you must endure fairly just a few switchbacks and free rocky trails which makes it all of the extra enjoyable. However in the event you’re up for the problem, this hike is effectively value testing.

Cascade Amphitheatre

  • Distance – 15.5 kilometres return
  • Begin / End – Mount Norquay ski space
  • Time – 4 to six hours
  • Issue – Average

In case you are eager to get some stable kilometres underneath your ft, hit the path to the Cascade Amphitheatre. You will see that your self on the coronary heart of towering limestone cliffs, surrounded by meadows of wildflowers.

There are just a few choices for extending the hike, and in case you are the actually adventurous sort then undoubtedly have a crack at Cascade Mountain. This peak is 2,998 metres in top, making this explicit path the most effective day hikes in Banff.

When you plan to go to the summit, ensure to be effectively ready as a few of the ridges may be fairly slim with just a few sketchy drop-offs. In any other case decide to take a seat again and watch the sundown round you.

Bourgeau Lake and Harvey Move

  • Distance – 14.5 kilometres return
  • Begin / End – 13 kilometres west of the Mount Norquay Interchange on Trans-Canada Freeway
  • Time – 5 to six hours
  • Issue – Average

This hike is one other alternative to view the majestic Mount Assiniboine from an entire special approach. Harvey Move is a end result of forested tracks, lush meadows of wildflowers, crystal blue lakes resembling Bourgeau Lake and a good few steep sections which finally take you to Harvey Move.

Regardless of taking 5 to six hours to finish the return journey, why not set out within the early morning for the most effective sunrises from Harvey Move?

In case you are searching for a little bit of inspiration and need to know what Banff Nationwide Park climbing seems like, there’s a photographer named Paul Zizka whose photographs are assured to have you ever reserving a one-way ticket to Banff.

Hikes In Banff And Lake Louise
Photograph Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Pictures.

Helen Lake Path

Distance – 16.7 kilometres return
Begin / End – Helen Lake Parking Lot
Time – 4 to six hours
Issue – Average

Some of the stunning lakes on the enduring Icefields Parkway drive from Banff, Helen Lake is house to an superior climbing path.

The Helen Lake path is reasonable in issue, and really effectively maintained. There are beautiful alpine views and plenty of wildflowers alongside the way in which.

Helen Lake is ideal for vacationers who need to escape the vacationer crowds of Lake Louise or Moraine Lake. This vivid blue alpine lake is simply as attractive as Lake Louise but it surely’s a lot quieter and extra peaceable.

For an additional problem, proceed climbing previous Helen Lake and as much as Dolomite Move or Cirque Peak. These are greater in altitude and may take a look at your limits a bit extra than simply climbing to Helen Lake and again.

The Finest Tough Mountaineering in Banff Nationwide Park

A number of the beneath hikes are harder and take for much longer.

Relying on the season you determine to aim these treks, there’s at all times an choice to camp or keep in huts if obtainable.

I’ve listed the beneath hikes as ‘multi-day’ regardless that they’re underneath 12 hours (aside from Mount Assiniboine).

Centennial Ridge Path

  • Distance 16 kilometres
  • Begin / End – Ribbon Creek Trailhead
  • Time – 10 hours
  • Issue – Exhausting

Mountaineering this path means you’ll be surrounded by a cathedral of snow-covered mountains, and it’s actually the most effective Banff hikes.

The Centennial Ridge Path is one among Canada’s highest ridge treks, taking you over 16 kilometres of meadows filled with wildflowers and as much as alpine environments.

Mountaineering the Centennial Ridge Path goes to go away you wanting extra path time underneath your ft. Centennial Ridge Path is without doubt one of the most interesting treks you are able to do in Alberta and possibly the very best Banff day hike.

That is fairly a difficult hike particularly in your knees with a number of free rock and switchbacks to sort out, so be careful for these! Apart from that, this hike is actually fascinating from begin to end and is a must-do hike in Banff!

Cory Move and Mount Edith Circuit

  • Distance – 13 kilometres return
  • Begin / End – The Fireplace Picnic Space
  • Time – 5 to six hours
  • Issue – Exhausting

Attending to Cory Move is usually a bit tough so come ready and be sure to are as much as the problem with practically 1,000 metres of elevation acquire over the course of 5 hours.

Cory Move can flip right into a scramble in some elements adopted by lengthy lengths of rocky, free tracks. So long as you might be cautious, it’s an excellent enjoyable problem.

From Cory Move, you’ll be able to select to return the identical means you got here or descend all the way down to the Mount Edith Circuit Observe to finish your hike in Banff Nationwide Park from a unique level to the place you began.

Cory Pass Hiking In Banff National Park
Photograph Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Pictures.

Mount Assiniboine

  • Distance – 30 kilometres return
  • Begin / End – Mt Shark or Sunshine Meadows
  • Time – 12 to fifteen hours from Hind Hut
  • Issue – Knowledgeable

Earlier than beginning this part, please remember the fact that climbing Mount Assiniboine is a few severe stuff and will NOT be taken frivolously, earlier expertise within the mountains is a should.

Climbing Mount Assiniboine may be carried out by way of the Affiliation of Canadian Mountain Guides who’re certified mountain guides.

The climb begins at Hind Hut close to the North Ridge of the mountain, which requires a collection of inauspicious ridge climbs though not technical.

The principle elements of this climb are trekking by way of steep gullies, and mountain climbing some sections adopted by the summit ridge taking you to an altitude of three,618 metres.

It’s a troublesome one, however undoubtedly the most effective hikes close to Banff when you’ve got the expertise to aim it!

Day Hikes In Banff National Park Mistaya Canyon
Photograph Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Jake Dyson.

Banff Mountaineering Suggestions

Mountaineering within the mountains might be one among my favourite issues to do. I at all times go ready even when I plan to go on a small 5 to 10 kilometre hike.

Mountains are infamous for altering climate. At one second there may be clear skies with attractive temperatures and the subsequent second it might be snowing or you might change into inundated with thick fog and mist.

Listed below are just a few ideas to make sure your expertise within the mountains is a protected one!

  • Spend money on an Eperb which is a small gadget that in an emergency you’ll be able to activate to let emergency companies know your location.
  • Write a notice or textual content somebody on whereabouts you’re going with a date, time and site.
  • At all times carry a ample provide of water and snacks.
  • Pack an emergency blanket. You realize these issues that seem like tin foil? They’re good at protecting you heat at night time when issues get chilly.
Best Day Hikes In Banff Sentinel Pass
Photograph Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Jake Dyson.

Packing Listing for Banff Hikes

From quick 1 hour hikes to multi-day hikes, it’s at all times essential to take a seat down, write an inventory and focus on what you will want in your journey effectively upfront.

The beneath checklist relies on climbing within the colder months. Keep in mind, when climbing in mountainous and alpine areas, climate can change nearly immediately. It’s higher to be marginally overprepared than to be underprepared.

  • Tent – typically huts may be full so a gentle and compact tent is good
  • Sleeping bag and silk liner
  • Waterproof climbing boots
  • Mountaineering pants and shorts
  • Breathable shirts
  • Down jacket for chilly nights
  • Wind breaker jacket
  • Emergency blanket – tremendous compact sheet that appears like tin foil
  • Rain jacket
  • Thermals each prime and backside layers
  • Plenty of socks – you’ll be able to by no means have sufficient when climbing
  • Underwear
  • A hat for solar safety (UV is stronger the upper you might be up)
  • Buff for cover from the wind and solar
  • Mountaineering poles come in useful when hauling bigger hundreds to assist distribute weight
  • Digital camera gear – pack further batteries and reminiscence playing cards
  • Transportable energy packs together with transportable photo voltaic panel, GoalZero merchandise are the very best
  • Emergency beacon – you by no means know when one among these will come in useful
  • Transportable gasoline burner with compact pots and pans
  • Cutlery
  • Espresso cup
  • Sufficient meals for the hike (I wish to throw in just a few further meals in case the hike is prolonged)
  • Water – 2-3 litres should be on you always
Skoki Lake Best Banff Hikes
Photograph Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Pictures.

Going Past The Banff Mountaineering Trails

Banff is a mecca for severe mountaineers, alpinists and rock climbers and there’s nearly actually just a few of you studying this put up searching for the subsequent excessive journey.

All yr spherical, Banff Nationwide Park boosts superb trails to run, mountains to climb even waterfalls to climb once they freeze over.

In case you are contemplating doing something that’s past the path itself, at all times test with native guides earlier than heading out on an journey.

I’ve listed 3 hyperlinks that are derived from Parks Canada to which relate to warnings and path situations inside Banff Nationwide Park.

That’s it for my checklist of the very best Banff hikes! When you discovered this text helpful, or have another prime hikes in Banff you need to add, go away a remark beneath and let me know!

Sentinel Pass Best Day Hikes In Banff
Photograph Credit score: Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Noel Hendrickson.
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